On the Salience of Identity in Civilizational and Sectarian Conflict
This paper models two forms of low intensity conflict based on identity: civilizational conflict between Muslim migrants and the 'West’ in European countries, and sectarian violence between religious groups in certain developing countries. Both historical grievances and current material inequalities can motivate individuals to join or refrain from violence in aid of a group cause. With civilizational conflict, hatred of the West arises because of economic disadvantage among Muslims, historical grievances and contemporary foreign policy deemed to be against Muslims. Fear of Muslim minorities among the European population may result from strident propaganda. Without tackling inequalities of opportunity, policies of assimilating migrants are doomed to failure. Sectarian conflict in developing countries like India is driven both by prospect of loot and hatred of the other. Localized conditions are salient in this regard. Poverty and inequality reduction and positive local social capital are key to addressing this type of conflict. Historical factors that shape the myths placing certain minorities adversely within society also need addressing.
Volume (Year): 16 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (January)
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