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Gurr: Peoples versus States

Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I say who wrote them.

Gurr. 2000. Peoples versus States: Minorities at Risk in the New Century. Washington DC: United States Institute of Peace Press.

See Figure 3.1 for a very nice summary. Roughly, this is the causal chain, with 4 main X's and one Y (ethnic action) that can take two forms (peaceful protest or violent rebellion) depending on three additional X's:

  1. Salience of ethnocultural identity + (2) Incentives for ethnic action --> The group's capacity for collective action.
  2. Group capacity + (4) domestic opportunities for action --> ethnopolitical action (either peaceful protest or violence).

Domestic factors determine whether action will be protest or rebellion: (a) democratic vs authoritarian norms and institutions; (b) state ability to put down a rebellion (strong state --> peace, weak --> rebel); (c) elite traditions of either accomodation or repression of segmental interests (like class, religion, and ethnicity).

International factors can also support ethnic action: (a) global doctrines of nationalism and minority rights; (b) regional/global networks of ethnic/religious kindred; (c) diffusion of conflict from similar groups elsewhere; (d) external political or material support.

Figure 3.1 gives bullet point descriptions of the causes of each of the four main X's.

Research by the same authors

Research on similar subjects


Gurr, Ted Robert (author)Comparative PoliticsEthnic ConflictRebellionParticipation

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