Ethnic conflict has been the driving force of wars all over the world, yet it remains an enigma. What is it about ethnicity that breaks countries apart and drives people to acts of savage violence against their lifelong neighbors?Stuart Kaufman rejects the notion of "natural", permanent ethnic hatreds as the answer. Dissatisfied as well with a purely rationalist explanation, he finds the roots of ethnic violence in myths and symbols, the stories ethnic groups tell about who they are. Ethnic wars, Kaufman argues, result from the politics of these myths and symbols -- appeals to flags and faded glories that aim to stir emotions rather than to address interests. Popular hostility based on these [Read more...]
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