Sons of the Soil, Migrants, and Civil War
Summary In nearly a third of ethnic civil wars since 1945, the conflict develops between members of a regional ethnic group that considers itself to be the indigenous "sons of the soil" and recent migrants from other parts of the country. The migrants are typically members of the dominant ethnic group who migrate in search of land or government jobs, often supported by the state with economic incentives and development schemes. This paper elaborates on the concept of a sons-of-the-soil conflict; presents descriptive statistics and empirical patterns; identifies a typical escalation sequence; illustrates the several steps with an account of the Tamil-Sinhalese conflict along with other cases; discusses the obstacles to negotiated settlements; and concludes with a suggestion on the role of grievances in explaining civil war onsets.
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