Ethnic and Nationalist Violence

Work on ethnic and nationalist violence has emerged from two largely non-intersecting literatures: studies of ethnic conflict and studies of political violence. Only recently have the former begun to attend to the dynamics of violence and the latter to the dynamics of ethnicization. Since the emergent literature on ethnic violence is not structured by clearly defined theoretical oppositions, we organize our review by broad similarities of methodological approach: (a) Inductive work at various levels of aggregation seeks to identify the patterns, mechanisms, and recurrent processes implicated in ethnic violence. (b) Theory-driven work employs models of rational actions drawn from international relations theory, game theory, and general rational action theory. (c) Culturalist work highlights the discursive, symbolic and ritualistic aspects of ethnic violence. We conclude with a plea for the disaggregated analysis of the heterogenous phenomena we too caually lump together as "ethnic violence."