Ethnic conflict and political violence : a theoretical and comparative analysis
The subject of this thesis is the relationship between ethnic conflict and political violence. The thesis examines the types of political violence that are most prevalent in liberal-democratic states, using case studies from the conflicts in Northern Ireland since 1968, the Basque country since 1952 and the United States in the post-1945 period. It is argued that it is in what will be described as secessionist conflicts that political violence is likely to be at its worst. It will be argued that a number of factors are present, where campaigns of terrorism have been most intense and have seen the highest level of fatalities. In the cases, where terrorist groups have become enduring in their communities, it is likely that they will provide a range of goods and services to their communities. It will also be argued that participation in the labour market is also an important determinant as to whether or not a community will be prepared to give support to terrorist groups. It will be argued that many ethnic conflicts have been made more intractable because policy-makers have diagnosed the problem in an unsatisfactory fashion. Evidence will be cited to argue that ethnic-specific policies have focused on the symptoms of problems while failing to deal with their root causes. Instead of ethnic-specific policies, it will be argued that labour-market policies are the key to reducing ethnic conflicts. Therefore the strategy of conflict resolution in this thesis is based on a mixture of both micro and macro level policies. At one level, policies will be needed to disrupt the groups involved in carrying out acts of violence, while at the same time policies are also designed by government to make the political and economic environment less hospitable for groups, espousing strategies based on the use of sub-state violence.