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Institutional Conflict Settlement in Divided Societies: The Role of Subgroup Identities in Self-Government Arrangements

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  • Alexander De Juan

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    (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies)

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    Abstract

    Institutions can contribute to regulating interethnic conflict; however, in many cases they fail to bring about lasting peace. The paper argues that their negligence of intraethnic factors accounts for some of this failure. Ethnic groups are often treated as unitary actors even though most consist of various linguistic, tribal or religious subgroups. This internal heterogeneity is often obscured by overarching collective ethnic identities that are fostered by interethnic conflict. However, when such interethnic conflict is settled, these subgroup differences may come back to the fore. This “resurgence” can lead to subgroup conflict about the political and economic resources provided through intergroup institutional settlements. Such conflict can in turn undermine the peace-making effect of intergroup arrangements. Different subgroup identity constellations make such destructive effects more or less likely. The paper focuses on self-government provisions in the aftermath of violent interethnic conflict and argues that lasting intergroup arrangements are especially challenging when they involve “contested” ethnic groups.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies in its series GIGA Working Paper Series with number 195.

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    Length: 30 pages
    Date of creation: May 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:gig:wpaper:195

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    Keywords: identity; ethnic conflict; institutions; self-government; subgroups; intraethnic;

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    1. Michelle R. Garfinkel, 2004. "On the Stability of Group Formation: Managing the Conflict Within," Conflict Management and Peace Science, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 21(1), pages 43-68, February.
    2. Fearon, James D, 2003. " Ethnic and Cultural Diversity by Country," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 195-222, June.
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