Diversity, Violence, and Recognition: How recognizing ethnic identity promotes peace

ISBN : 9780197509456

Elisabeth King; Cyrus Samii
240 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Jul 2020
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  • Offers the first global mapping of the formal recognition of ethnic identities in conflict-affected contexts
  • introduces a novel theory to explain the adoption of recognition and its effects on peace and uses mixed methods to test it
  • Establishes a high-level empirical and theoretical foundation for research on ethnic recognition strategies

When considering strategies to address violent conflict, scholars and policymakers debate the wisdom of recognizing versus avoiding reference to ethnic identities in government institutions. In Diversity, Violence, and Recognition, Elisabeth King and Cyrus Samii examine the reasons that governments choose to recognize ethnic identities and the consequences of such choices for peace. The authors introduce a theory on the merits and risks of recognizing ethnic groups in state institutions, pointing to the crucial role of ethnic demographics. Through a global quantitative analysis and in-depth case studies of Burundi, Rwanda, and Ethiopia, they find promise in recognition. Countries that adopt recognition go on to experience less violence, more economic vitality, and more democratic politics, but these effects depend on which ethnic group is in power. King and Samii's findings are important for scholars studying peace, democracy, and development, and practically relevant to policymakers attempting to make these concepts a reality.


List of illustrations
List of Abbreviations

Part 1
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: A Theory of Recognition

Part 2
Chapter 3: Trends in Ethnic Recognition
Chapter 4: Under what conditions is recognition adopted?
Chapter 5: What are the effects of ethnic recognition on peace?

Part 3
Chapter 6: Recognition under Plurality Rule and the Paradox of Recognition in Burundi
Chapter 7: Non-Recognition under Minority Rule and the Paradox of Non-Recognition in Rwanda
Chapter 8: Ethnic Recognition under Minority Rule in Ethiopia

Part 4
Chapter 9: Conclusion
Appendix: Statistical Tables


About the author: 

Elisabeth King, Associate Professor of Politics, NYU, and Cyrus Samii, Associate Professor of Politics, NYU
Elisabeth King is Associate Professor of International Education and Politics at New York University and Founding Director of NYU's minor in Peace and Conflict Studies. Her research interests include peace, development, and education in ethnically diverse and conflict-affected contexts. King uses research methods ranging from in-depth qualitative interviews and focus groups, to randomized field experiments and surveys, and works with policy-makers to link her scholarship with on-the-ground practice and programming. She is the author of From Classrooms to Conflict in Rwanda, named an Outstanding Academic Title by the American Libraries Association. Other work appears in journals such as Journal of Peace Research, World Development, and African Studies Review. King's research has been funded by grants from such organizations as the United States Institute of Peace, the Spencer Foundation, and the Folke Bernadotte Academy. She has consulted for organizations including Innovations for Poverty Action, Millennium Challenge Corporation, MasterCard Foundation, and UNICEF. King received her PhD in political science from the University of Toronto and was a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University. 
Cyrus Samii is Associate Professor in the Wilf Family Department of Politics of New York University and Executive Director of the Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP) network. He writes and teaches on quantitative social science methodology and conducts applied research on governance in contexts where formal institutions are weak, the political economy of development, and social, economic, and psychological causes of violent conflict. He has designed and carried out field studies in sites across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. This research has been conducted in collaboration with partners from various international agencies, including the World Bank, United Nations, US Agency for International Development, UK Department for International Development, and Danish International Aid Agency, as well as non-governmental and civil society organizations in the respective countries. His work has appeared in leading peer-reviewed journals such as the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Annals of Applied Statistics, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Peace Research, Journal ofPolitics, Political Analysis, and Survey Methodology. He received his PhD in political science from Columbia University.

"This is an incredibly important book. Scholars will find a novel theory of the reasons for ethnic recognition, as well as a convincing and sophisticated argument drawing on a wealth of original material. As for policy-makers, they will find guidance on how to make the 'right' choice when faced with the dilemma of ethnic recognition. Therefore, King & Samii's advice may impact millions of lives for the better." -Séverine Autesserre, author of Trouble with the Congo, Peaceland, and The Frontlines of Peace 
"One of the most fateful decisions facing peace-makers and state-builders in ethnically divided societies is whether to formally recognize the rights and powers of cultural groups, or whether individual rights approaches offer a better way to simultaneously prevent ethnic discrimination and demobilize invidious ethnic rivalries. Grounded in deep theoretical and empirical work, King and Samii convincingly explain the conditions under which ethnic group recognition or non-recognition is likely to produce the better outcome." -Jack Snyder, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Relations, Columbia University

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