Ethnic diversity, issues, and international crisis dynamics, 1918-2002

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Ethnic conflict is prominent and recurrent in contemporary world politics, expressed in both internal and international disputes. The main goal of this study is to link ethnic conflict at the state level and its spillover to international conflict and crisis. More specifically, it examines the relationship between particular ethnic dimensions and international crises. The examination focuses on ethnic diversity among adversaries and ethnic issues within interstate confrontations, and their effects on crisis dynamics. The analysis links two major datasets: the Minorities at Risk (MAR) Project, which characterizes worldwide ethno-political actors of several types, and the International Crisis Behavior (ICB) Project, which analyzes international conflicts and crises across the world. Analyses of 133 ethnic-related international crises in the period 1918-2002, in which 67 ethno-political actors were involved, reveal the multidimensional impact that ethnicity has upon international conflict. Ethnic conflict increases the complexity and danger inherent in international crisis. The presence of ethnic diversity extends crisis duration, increases the level of its violence, and impedes accommodative crisis outcome. Moreover, the changing world order is characterized by a shift in the issue agenda. Ethnic issues related to identity and to political and economic status, which mainly concern non-state political actors, create both intrastate and interstate confrontations and shape the behavior of major actors on the world stage. Different ethnic issues in crises have diverse influences on crisis process and outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-600
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2006


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