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Paul Brass War of Visions: Conflict of Identities in the Sudan. Francis M. Deng Legends of People/Myths of State: Violence, Intolerance, and Political Culture in Sri Lanka and Australia. Bruce Kapferer Explaning Northern Ireland: Broken Images. John McGarry Brendan O'Leary The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide. Gerard Prunier Balkan Tragedy: Chaos and Dissolution after the Cold War. Susan L. Woodward " data-type="pdf-document" id="pdf-document">
Violence and the Social Construction of Ethnic Identity Theft of an Idol. by Paul Brass;

Violence and the Social Construction of Ethnic Identity Theft of an Idol. by Paul Brass; War of Visions: Conflict of Identities in the Sudan. by Francis M. Deng; Legends of People/Myths of State: Violence, Intolerance, and Political Culture in Sri Lanka and Australia. by Bruce Kapferer; Explaning Northern Ireland: Broken Images. by John McGarry; Brendan O'Leary; The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide. by Gerard Prunier; Balkan Tragedy: Chaos and Dissolution after t Review by: James D. Fearon and David D. Latin International Organization, Vol. 54, No. 4 (Autumn, 2000), pp. 845-877 Published by: The MIT Press

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Violenceand theSocial Construction ofEthnicIdentity

JamesD. FearonandDavidD. Laitin

PaulBrass.1997.Theftofan Idol.Princeton,N.J.:PrincetonUniversityPress.

FrancisM. Deng. 1995.WarofVisions:ConflictofIdentitiesintheSudan. Washington,D.C.: BrookingsInstitution.

BruceKapferer.1988.LegendsofPeople/MythsofState:Violence,Intolerance,

andPoliticalCultureinSriLankaandAustralia.Washington,D.C.: Smithsonian InstitutionPress.

JohnMcGarryandBrendanO'Leary.1995.ExplainingNorthernIreland:Broken

Images.Oxford:Blackwell.

GerardPrunier.1995.TheRwandaCrisis:Historyofa Genocide.NewYork:

ColumbiaUniversityPress.

SusanL. Woodward.1995.BalkanTragedy:ChaosandDissolutionAfterthe ColdWar.Washington,D.C.: BrookingsInstitution.

Is therecase studyevidenceof a relationshipbetweenthesocial constructionof ethnicidentitiesandtheprobabilityofethnicwar?Themereobservationthatethnic identitiesaresociallyconstructeddoesnotbyitselfexplainethnicviolenceandmay notevenbe particularlyrelevant.Ourpurposehereis tosee ifwe canrejectthenull hypothesisthatthesocial constructionof ethnicityhas littleor no bearingon the likelihoodofethnicviolence.Ourprocedureis toexaminecloselythenarrativesof expertobserversof somehighlyviolentepisodesof ethnicrelations.Althougha differentsetofcase studiesmightyielddifferentoverallconclusions,thenarratives we examinedcontainusefulcluesaboutthemechanismsthatlinkidentityconstruc- tionandethnicviolence.'

We areindebtedtoPaul Brass,KanchanChandra,FrancisDeng,LynnEden,Page Fortna,GaryHer-

rigel,PeterKatzenstein,Ren6Lemarchand,JohnMcGarry,WilliamSewell,JackSnyder,RonaldSuny,

andSusanWoodwardforcommentsonearlierdraftsofthisarticle.

1. Onmechanismsandsocialexplanation,see Hedstr6mandSwedberg1998.

InternationalOrganization54,4,Autumn2000,pp.845-877

846 InternationalOrganization

Wefirstdevelopthetheoreticalimplicationsoftheobservationthatethnicidenti-

tiesaresociallyconstructedforexplainingethnicviolence.Afteranalyzingwhatthe statement"ethnicidentitiesaresociallyconstructed"mightmean,we developtwo

waystoconstruetheclaimthatprocessesofconstructingidentitieshelpto explain ethnicviolence.Ifindividualsareviewedas theagentswhoconstructethnicidenti-

ties,thenconstructivistexplanationsforethnicviolencetendtomergewithrational-

ist,strategicanalyses,particularlythosethatemphasizeelitemanipulationofmass publicsbutalso thosethatsee violencestemmingfromethnicinteractions"on the ground."In contrast,if "discursiveformations"orculturalsystemsareseenas the

agentsthatconstructethnicidentities,thenconstructivistexplanationsforethnicvio-

lencetendtomergewithculturalistaccountsthatstresstheinternallogicofcultur-

ally specificwaysof thinking,tailking,and acting.In thisapproach,someor all discoursesofethnicitycreatea dispositiontoviolence. Inthesecondsectionweturntothebooksunderreview,usingthemas a "sample" toassesswhichmechanismsfromthetheorysectionseemtomatterempiricallyand as a sourcefornewideasaboutlinksbetweenidentityconstructionandethnicvio- lence.Wefindconsiderableevidencelinkingstrategicaspectsoftheconstructionof ethnicidentitiestoviolence,andmorelimitedevidenceimplicatingspecificcultural ordiscursivesystems.Ifthereis a dominantormostcommonnarrativeinthetexts underreview,itis thatlarge-scaleethnicviolenceis provokedbyelitesseekingto gain,maintain,or increasetheirholdon politicalpower.An interestingfeatureof severalofthesecase studiesis thatinternalconflictsbetweenextremistsandmoder- atesbelongingtoa singleethnicgroupspurleadersordissidentstoprovokeviolence withmembersof an out-group.Violencehas theeffect,intendedby theelites,of

constructinggroupidentitiesinmoreantagonisticandrigidways.Thesenewlycon-

structed(orreconstructed)ethnicidentitiesserveto increasesupportfortheelites whoprovokedtheviolencewhilefavoringthecontinuationorescalationofviolence. A majorpuzzleinthisstoryis whyethnicpublicsfollowleadersdownpathsthat seemto serveelitepowerinterestsmostofall. Noneoftheauthorssystematically addressesthisquestion,buttheircase studiesprovidea numberofinterestingsugges- tions.Twooftheauthors,BruceKapfererandGerardPrunier,answerthequestionby arguingthatethnicpublicsareconditionedorconstitutedbyethnicdiscoursesthat predisposethemto violenceagainstethnicothers.Atleastin Kapferer'sbook,we notethatthisdiscursiveconstructivistapproachall tooeasilyfallsintoa primordial- istmodeof interpretationthatconstructivistseschew;it tendsto treatethnicdis- coursesas unchangingessencesthatstronglydetermineindividuals'actions.2Sev- eralotherpossibleanswerstothe"whydo publicsfollow?"questionreceivesome

supportinthecase studies,themostintriguingofwhichis thepossibilitythat"fol- lowers"oftenarenotso muchfollowingas pursuingtheirownlocal or personal agendasnotdirectlyrelatedtoethnicantipathy.

2. A majorproblembesettingculturalistaccounts,as BrubakerandCooperargue,is thattoavoidthe

trapof " 'essentialism'bystipulatingthatidentitiesareconstructed,fluid,andmultiple,"culturalistsare

hardpressedto"understandthesometimescoerciveforce"ofidentity.BrubakerandCooper2000,1.We

addressthisironyinthesecondsection.

ViolenceandEthnicIdentityConstruction847

In thesecondsectionwe also presentevidencethatordinaryfolk(notjustelites)

strategicallyconstructethnicboundaries.Hereethnicviolencearisesoutofthepolic-

ingeffortsofthosewhoareunhappywithassimilationorbymarginalmembersofa groupwhowanttogainstatuswiththosewhosemembershipis notindoubt.Francis

M. Deng'sdiscussionofborderareasinSudanesecivilwarcontainssomeinteresting examplesofviolenceemergingfromthesemechanisms.

Inthethirdsectionweconcludethattheconstructivistapproachhasbeensuccess-

fulindiscreditingprimordialistexplanations.Itspresentmission,we suggest,ought tobe morerigoroustestingofthethreeconstructivistapproachesshownas plausible

in thebooksunderreview-thosebased on discursivelogics,thosebased on the strategicactionsofelites,andthosebasedonthestrategicactionsofthemasses. Weshouldstressattheoutsetwhatisprobablyalreadyapparent.Thisarticleis not

a conventionalbookreview.In thefirstplace,we makelittleeffortto assess the

considerablecontributionsofeachauthortotheliteratureonthepoliticsofthecoun-

tryin question.Second,althoughwe offeropinionson each author'smainargu- ments,we are generallymoreconcernedto minethesecase studiesforevidence relevantto ourinquiry.We do notpretendthatthesebooksconstitutea random sample;differentbooksmighthavesuggestedsomewhatdifferentmechanismsand differentassessmentsofrelativeimportance.3Ourgoal was to findrecentstudies writtenbyscholarswhoweresensitivetothepoliticsandcultureoftheircasesboth "on theground"(amongthemasspublic)and "at thetop"(amongtheelites).The booksunderreviewareallexemplaryinrelatingtheglobalfactsoflarge-scaleethnic violencetobothlocal mechanismsandmorestructuralcauses.We makeno claim thatthesearethebestinthisregard.However,we weresufficientlyimpressedfrom firstreadingstorereadthemforourmainpurpose:an inquiryintotherelationship betweenethnicidentityconstructionandethnicviolence.

WhatIs EthnicIdentityand How Is It Constructed?

Theassertionthat"ethnicityis sociallyconstructed"is commonplaceamongsocial scientists,anditis widelysupposedthatanyonewhofailstograspthisfactwillnot be abletoexplainorunderstandethnicviolence.Nonetheless,noliteraturearticulat- ingtheoreticalorempiricalconnectionsbetweenthesocialconstructionofethnicity andviolenceyetexists.No positivetheorylinksprocessesofsocialconstructionas independentvariablestotheoccurrenceofethnicviolenceas a dependentvariable. Instead,as inthebooksunderreview,wefindconstructivist"moves"mixedsporadi- callywithmodesofanalysisthatdonotseemparticularlyconstructivist,andas faras weknow,perhapsexcludingPaulBrass,noonehasoffereda developedstatementof

3. Initially,we searchedforself-consciouslyconstructivistanalysesofethnicviolencebutfoundal- mostnothingworthreviewing(apartfromBrass'sexcellentbook,whichappearedafterwe startedthis project).Next,we searchedforcarefulempiricalcase studiesoflarge-scaleethnicviolencebyauthors froma varietyofdisciplines.

848 InternationalOrganization

a constructivisttheoryofethnicviolence.Ourpurposein thissectionis to suggest

possibilitiesinthisdirection;thatis,wesketchsomeargumentsapplyingconstructiv-

istformulationsandconceptstothespecificproblemofethnicviolence. We beginbyaskingwhatitmeansto saythatidentitiesaresociallyconstructed. Thisrequiresa statementofthemeaningofbothsubjectandpredicate.Wetakeitthat an "identity"hererefersto a socialcategory-Serb,man,homosexual,American, Catholic,worker,andso on-and inparticulartoa socialcategorythatanindividual membereithertakesa specialprideinorviewsas a more-or-lessunchangeableand sociallyconsequentialattribute.4Socialcategoriesaresetsofpeoplegivena label(or labels)anddistinguishedbytwomainfeatures:(1) rulesofmembershipthatdecide whois andis nota memberofthecategory;and(2) content,thatis,setsofcharacter- istics(suchas beliefs,desires,moralcommitments,andphysicalattributes)thought tobe typicalofmembersofthecategory,orbehaviorsexpectedorobligedofmem- bersincertainsituations(roles).We wouldalso includeincontentthesocialvalua- tionofmembersofthiscategoryrelativetoothers(contestationoverwhichis often called"identitypolitics"). The category"professor,"forexample,has rulesof membershipdefinedby a credentialingprocessandtherequirementofbeingemployedas a professor,anda contentthatincludesa hostofnormsforproperbehavior.Ethnicidentitiesareunder- stoodtobe definedmainlybydescentrulesofgroupmembershipandcontenttypi- callycomposedofculturalattributes,suchas religion,language,customs,andshared historicalmyths. Whatdoesitmean,then,tosaythatidentitiesaresociallyconstructed?Fora first cut,we understandtheclaimto be thatsocial categories,theirmembershiprules, content,andvaluationaretheproductsofhumanactionand speech,andthatas a resulttheycan anddo changeovertime.Withthesomewhatmurkytermidentities translatedas themoreconcretetermsocial categories,thishardlyseemsan excep- tionalclaim.Itevenvergesontautology.How couldsocialcategoriesbe something

otherthansociallyconstructed?5

The answer,implicitin muchconstructivistwork,is thatpeopleoftenbelieve,

mistakenly,thatcertainsocialcategoriesarenatural,inevitable,andunchangingfacts aboutthesocial world.Theybelievethatparticularsocial categoriesare fixedby

humannatureratherthanbysocialconventionandpractice.Beliefsinthenatural-

nessof a socialcategorymightbe rootedin beliefsaboutallegedimplicationsof

biology(forexample,gender,sexuality,andethnicityinsomeformulations)orabout theologyand morality.Such beliefsregardinga social categorymightbe termed

everydayprimordialism.6Muchconstructivistlaborhasbeendevotedtoundermin-

ingeverydayprimordialistassumptionsbyshowinghowthecontentandevenmem-

4. Thisbriefsummarystatementdoesnotdo fulljusticetothecomplexityoftheconceptof"identity"

as itis presentlyused;see Fearon1999,foranextendedanalysis,fromwhichthissummaryformulation

derives.

5. Onthispoint,see alsoHacking1999.

6. ApologiestoElster,whocoinedtheterm"everydayKantianism."Elster1989.

ViolenceandEthnicIdentityConstruction849

bershiprulesof taken-for-grantedcategorieslike man/womanor heterosexual/

homosexualhavechangedovertime.7

How does thisconstructivistobservationbearon theexplanationof ethnicvio- lence?Whendiscussingethnicviolence,theconstructivists'maintargetis primordi-

alism.8Primordialistsaresaidtobelievethatconflictbetweentwoethnicgroups,A

andB, is inevitablebecauseofunchanging,essentialcharacteristicsofthemembers ofthesecategories.In particular,primordialistssuggestthatethnicviolenceresults fromantipathiesandantagonismsthatareenduringpropertiesofethnicgroups.The

constructivistpositionrejectsthenotionofunchanging,essentialcharacteristicsand thusrejectsthisclaim.Theimplicationis thatevenifmembersofA andB arehostile toeachothernow,thisneednotbe (andprobablyhasnotbeen)aneternalcondition. Byitselfthisis anunexceptionalclaimagainsta weak"theory"rarelyadvancedin pureformin treatiseson ethnicviolence.It is sometimesfoundin themouthsof politiciansseekingtojustifycoursesofaction("ancienthatreds"arguments)orby journalistsreportingeverydayprimordialistbeliefsas historicalfacts.Moreimpor- tant,primordialistassumptionsofthissortdo sometimescreepintomoreabstract socialsciencemodelsseekingtomakegeneralclaimsaboutethnicviolence.Alvin Rabushkaand KennethShepsle'stheoryof ethnicoutbidding,drawingon classic worksinanthropologyincludingthoseofM. G. SmithandJ.S. Furnivall,assumed

that"plural"politieswouldalwayscontain"well-definedethnicgroupswithgener-

allyincompatiblevalues."9Analysesof consociationborderon primordialismas

theyassumeunchangingandunchangeableethnicidentities.'0Buttherejectionof

thesenotionsis basicallya negativepointratherthana positiveargumentaboutwhy ethnicviolenceoccurs. A moreprovocativeandinterestingantiprimordialistclaimis thatthemembersof anytwoethnicgroupsA andB neednotthinkofthemselvesasA's andB's atall.For instance,a constructivistmightarguethatthepeoplesknownas CroatsandSerbs might,witha differentnineteenth-centurypoliticalhistory,be knownas theSouth Slavs,orsimplyas theSerbs."1Theclaimis thatnotonlydoesthecontentofsocial

categorieschangeovertimebutso dotheboundariesbetweenthem.

7. Everydayprimordialismis thusinpartaninstanceoftheis/oughtfallacy.Itis nottrue,constructiv-

istsassert,thatbecausesomesystemofsocialcategoriesexists,thesystemis "natural"andoughttoexist.

CompareHardin1995,60-65.

8. Intheacademicliteraturesonnationalismandethnicpolitics,"primordialism"isitselfsomethingof

a constructofconstructivists.Forexample,thestandardcitefortheprimordialistfallacyis Geertz1973, 255-310,wherethefallacyis nowherecommitted.Geertzholdsthatpeoples'beliefsintheirprimordial

attachments,ratherthantheinherentimmutabilityofthoseattachments,driveethnicconflictinnoncivic societies.He postulatesthatprimordialidentitiescanexhibitthemselvesina varietyoffashions(suchas ethnically,religiously,linguistically),noneofthembeinga naturalcategory.InotherofhisessaysonBali, however,he appearsto be a primordialist.He writesas iftherewerean immutableBalinesewayof thinkingabouttheworld.Heresocialidentitiesarepresentedas "givens"ratherthan,as antiprimordialists wouldhaveit,as "takens."On thispoint,seeLaitin1986,chap.1.

9. RabushkaandShepsle1972,20. Fortheirsources,seeFumivall1948;andSmith1965.

10. See,forexample,Lijphart1977.

11. Banac's evidencesuggeststhatas lateas thefirstdecadeofthetwentiethcenturytherewas no

agreementamongelitesintheBalkansthatCroatsandSerbsconstitutedtwodistinctnationalities.Banac 1984.Fora treatmentofthisargumentinregardtoSomaliclanidentities,seeLaitin1983.

850 InternationalOrganization

Ifthisconstructivistobservationis correct-andforvirtuallyall ethnicgroupsit surelyis,ifonegoesbackfarenough12-thenonemightarguethata goodexplana- tionforethnicviolencebetweenA's andB's requiresanaccountofwhymembersof thesegroupsdividethemselvesinthisway.A popularawarenessofethniccategories is surelya necessaryconditionfor"ethnicviolence."Butis thisa necessarycondi- tionthatneedsto be elaboratedin orderto offera good explanation?Perhaps,or perhapsnot.In explainingWorldWarI, we do nottypicallydemandan accountof whyFranceandGermanywereseparatecountriesin 1914.13Does a goodexplana-

tionforviolencebetweenSerbsandCroatsin1991needanaccountofthenineteenth-

centuryoriginsofthepresentSerb/Croatdistinction,orwhyTito'sregimefailedto

replaceseparateSerb,Croat,Macedonian,Albanian,andMuslimcategorieswiththe

overarching"Yugoslav"identity?Whiletheseareimportantissuesforcertainques-

tionsonemightask-for example,whya societyhasa certaincleavagestructure- theyarenotnecessarilyrelevantin an explanationforSerb/CroatorMuslim/Serb/

CroatorAlbanian/Serbviolencepost-1991.

It is certainlyinterestingto knowwherea setof ethnicdistinctionscamefrom historicallyandwhytheyhavepersisted,andthisinformationmightormightnotbe deemedimportantin an explanationofethnicviolence.However,iftheprocessby whicheitherthecontentorboundaryofanethnicidentityis constructeditselfyields violence,thenwewouldsurelysaythatthesocialconstructionofethnicityisrelevant totheexplanation. Thispointreturnsus to thequestionofwhattheproposition"identitiesare so- ciallyconstructed"means.Theglossgivenearlierwasreallytoonarrow-theclaim can suggestmorethanjustthattheintensionandextensionof,say,"Serb" varies overtimeas a resultofspeechandaction.It can also invokea specificprocessby whichidentitiesareproducedandreproducedin actionandspeech.Unfortunately, generalstatementsabouthowthisprocessworksarehardto findin constructivist writing. Wesuggestthreewaystocharacterizewhatconstructinganidentityentails.These approachesdifferinwhethertheyseebroadstructuralforces,discursiveformations, orindividualsas theagentsthatacttoproduceorreproducea systemofsocialcatego- ries.Weproceedtosketchoutwhateachapproachmightimplyfora constructivist theoryofethnicviolence.Keepinmindthat"constructinganidentity"mayreferto eitherthecontentofa socialcategory,suchas makingSerbsbelievethatSerbscan- notlivewithCroats,andviceversa,ortheboundaryrules,suchas makingMontene-

grinsbelievetheyareYugoslavs,orpeasantsinGasconybelievetheyareFrench.

12. ButArmstrongshowsthatatleastsomeboundaries-suchas thosebetweenRomanceandGerman-

speakingpeoples-have notchangedatall overthecourseofa millennium.Armstrong1982.To be sure, changehas occurredin thesocial contentof whatcharacteristicsmembersof each categoryoughtto

exemplify.

13. Noris an explanationforinterstatewaringeneralthoughttorequirean accountofwhythereis a

states'system,thoughthequestionis certainlyinterestingand fundamentalforinternationalrelations

theory.See,forexample,Ruggie1983;andSpruyt1994.

ViolenceandEthnicIdentityConstruction851

SocialandEconomicProcessesas AgentsofConstruction

TheliteratureonnationalismassociatedwithKarlDeutsch,ErnestGellner,Benedict Anderson,and othersrepresentsperhapsthebestdeveloped"case study"of the socialconstructionofanidentity-namely,nationalidentity.Theseauthorsrejectthe primordialistviewofnationsas historicallyimmanent,arguinginsteadthattheidea ofnationalitybecamecompellingtopeopleonlyinthemodernperiodas a resultof economicandattendantsocialchanges.Fortheseauthors,nationalidentitiesarethe local politicaland psychologicalconsequencesof macrohistoricalforces.For in- stance,Gellnerarguesthatbymakingupwardmobilitypossiblefortheliterateand

school-educated,economicmodernizationpoliticizedfacetsofculturethatwerepo-

liticallyirrelevantinthepremodernperiod.Nationalidentitiesariseas peoplerealize

thathowtheycommunicate(andespeciallytheirfirstlanguage)determinestheirlife chances.Andersonaddstheideathattheboundariesofnationalidentitieshavebeen shapedas an almostaccidentalby-productof "printcapitalism,"thecreationof vernacularreadingcommunitiesbybooksellersseekingmarketsbeyonda defunct

Latinandthelimitedspreadoflocaldialects.14

Itisdifficulttoseehowsucha broadhistoricalprocessas economicmodernization

couldexplainviolencebetweenparticularethnicgroups,exceptpossiblyas partofa "necessarycondition"argumentconcerningtheformationoftheethnicidentitiesin

thefirstplace.Notallcontiguousgroupsfight-farfromit-whereaseconomicmod-

ernizationandthecreationofethno-nationalcommunitiesthroughmodemmassme-

diaareprocessesthathaveaffectedallgroups.

Social ConstructionbyDiscourse

Analternativeinterpretationoftheprocessinvokedbysocialconstructionlocatesthe

actionatthelevelofsupra-individualthingslikediscursiveformationsorsymbolic

orculturalsystemsthathavetheirownlogicoragency.15Intheseanalyses,individu-

als arepawnsorproductsof discoursesthatexistandmoveindependentlyofthe

actionsof anyparticularindividual.For example,one mightarguethata general modern,Westemdiscourseofethnicity/nationalismis a crucialunderlyingfactorin

explainingethnicviolence.Kapferermakessuggestionsalongtheselines,connect-

ingethnicviolencetomodemcolonialism. 16Butas withthecase ofeconomicmod- emization,colonialismanditsattendantdiscoursesareubiquitousinAfricaandAsia, butviolenceis not.At best,themodemdiscourseof ethnicitymightbe seenas a necessaryconditionforpoliticizedethnicityandthusethnicwar. As anotherexample,takethepropositionthatthesocial constructionof group identitiesnecessarilyinvolvesdifferentiatingone'sselforone'sgroupfromanOther, andthatthereforeidentityconstructionnecessarilyentailsthepotentialfora violent, antagonisticrelationshipwiththeOther.Althoughthispropositionseemstoundercut

14. See Deutsch1953;Gellner1983;andAnderson1983.

15. On "discursiveformations"as a sourceofexplanation,seeFoucault1972,chap.2.

852 InternationalOrganization

thecentralconstructivistclaimthatidentitiescanbe constructedinnonantagonistic ways,itis stilla constructivist-typeargumentduetoitsclaimthatnotgenesbutthe

internallogicofdiscoursesdrivesidentityconstruction.17

Theproposition(onlyimpliedinthisgenre)is thatonecananalyzeanddiscernthe logicofthediscourseorsymbolicsystemthatconstructsindividualsandgroups,and makepredictionsfromthisas to thelikelihoodof a rangeofpractices,including violence.Geertz,forexample,examinedthediscursiveformationsurroundingthe Balinesecockfight.Whilehewarnedagainstusingitforpredictivepurposes,hedid suggestthattheBalineseso fearedtheir(presumed)capacitytoactwiththeferocity oftheir"cocks"thattheyorganizethemselvessociallyso thatemotionaldisplaysare consideredinappropriate.Geertzsuggeststhathis analysisofthesymbolsusedin cock fighting(wherewe see theferociouscocksas metaphorsofthebeneath-the- surfaceemotionsthatbedeviltheirowners)givesus anunderstandingofthemassa- cresthattookplaceinBali in 1965,makingitseem"less likea contradictiontothe laws ofnature"thatan extraordinarilyreservedandpeacefulsocietycouldbe ca- pableofa suddenoutburstofunimaginableferocity.18 Sometimesdiscursivelogicsarethoughtofas cultural"scripts"inwhichpeople unreflectivelyplaytheir"roles."In hisreconstructionof a 1990pogromin post-

SovietKirgiziainwhich120Uzbeks,fiftyKirgiz,andoneRussianwerekilledina

week,ValeryTishkovwritesthatthe"youngKirgizon horsebackweretryingto demonstratetheirstrengthandsuperioritybyliftingup an opponentbyhislegsand smashinghimdownontheground-exactlyinthewaythelegendaryKirgizheroes supposedlyoverpoweredtheirenemies.'We havereadaboutita lot,butthisis the firsttimewe've hadthechancetotryitoutforourselves!',theysaid."19 Thissymbolicapproachto identitysuggeststhatthedevelopmentofdiscursive formationscan setonegroupinoppositiontoanotherorpredisposethemtosee the otheras a threatornaturalsubjectforviolence,independentofanymorematerial basisforhostility.Whilethisapproachis elegantandnotnecessarilysubjecttopri- mordialistessentialism,we wouldstillliketoknowhowthesediscoursesaresus- tainedandwhy,on thebrinkofviolence,theyarenotabandonedorreinterpreted. Indeed,theonlyextendedattemptto applysuchan argumentin thebooksunder review-Kapferer'sargumentconcerningthediscursiveformationofSinhalesemyths ofVijaya,whichwetreatinthethirdsection-comesoutsoundingbothtous andto someofhiscriticslikea primordialistexplanationandnota constructivistone. Thisironyis worthexploring.Inpractice,theconstruction-by-discourseviewhas

closeaffinitieswithanolderstyleofculturalistanalysisinthatitsmacksofessential-

ism.Olderculturalistapproachesportrayedculturesas highlybounded,internally coherent,andstaticentitiesthatstronglydeterminethebehaviorofthemembersof

thegroupstheyconstitute.20Thenewerconstructivistculturalismrejectstheideathat

17. Ferejohnrefersto"subtlerideationallogics"thatmayexistinthesphereofmeanings,seeingthem

as distinctfromtherationalchoicecalculationsin thesphereof actionin explainingsocialeventsand

practices.Ferejohn1991,285.

18. Geertz1973,452.

19. Tishkov1997,154.

ViolenceandEthnicIdentityConstruction853

culturesandthediscoursethatshapeordefinethemarebounded,coherent,orstatic. Forexample,constructivistwritingonethnicrelationshas stressedhowthepresent

conceptionof,say,casteinIndiaderivesprimarilyfromBritishcolonialtheories.21

Butitretainstheidea thatdiscourses/culturesdefineidentitiesandshapeordeter- mineactions. How is it possiblefordiscoursesto shapeactionif discoursesthemselvesare complex,multifaceted,andsubjecttoall mannerofinterpretations?To givea con- creteexample,considertheCataloniandiscoursearoundtheconceptofseny,which impliesa pragmaticfeet-on-the-groundapproachtolifethathelpsCatalanstodiffer- entiatethemselvesfromtheimaginedinefficiencyofSpaniards.Canwe saythatthis discourseshapesCatalanbehavior?To do so we wouldneedtoaskwhytheequally availableCatalandiscourseon raxha,whichsuggeststhespontaneousand more ribaldaspectofCatalanculture,playsfarless a roleincontemporaryCatalanself- revelations.Catalandiscoursesareso multifacetedthatpartsofthosediscoursescan be appropriatedtonaturalizea wholerangeofculturalpractices.Thisproblemwill beraisedagainwhenwe askwhetherthereis evidenceofspecificculturaldiscourses producingviolenceinthecase studiesunderreview.

Individualsas AgentsofConstruction

A thirdpossibilityis thatethnicidentities-thecontentandboundaryrulesofethnic categories-mightbe constructedbytheactionsofindividualsseekingvariousends. Consider,forexample,thepropositionthatethnicviolenceoccurswhenpolitical elitesconstructantagonisticethnicidentitiesin orderto strengthentheirholdon power.In thisapproach,theinsightsofa "constructivist"approachmergewith,or becomehardtodistinguishfrom,a rationalistorstrategicchoiceapproach.

Strategicactionbyelites. Whatthepre-constructivistliteratureonethnicconflict termed"elitetheoriesofethnicviolence"providespromisinggroundsfora construc- tivisttheoryofethnicviolenceinthissense.Indeed,itis strikingandnocoincidence thatvirtuallyeveryself-identifiedconstructivistwhohaswrittenonethnicviolence, andmostclearlyBrassamongtheauthorsofreviewedtexts,hastendedtoblameelite machinationsandpoliticking.22In thesearguments,ethnicviolenceis explainedas botha meansanda by-productofpoliticalelites'effortstoholdor acquirepower. Elitesfomentethnicviolencetobuildpoliticalsupport;thisprocesshastheeffectof constructingmoreantagonisticidentities,whichfavorsmoreviolence.Argumentsof thissorthavebeenaroundinpoliticalscienceandsociologyfora longtime,though

withouttheconstructivistlanguage.23

Thepuzzleforsuchtheoreticalargumentsis toexplainhowelitescan convince theirfollowersto adoptfalsebeliefsandtakeactionsthatthefollowerswouldnot wanttotakeiftheyunderstoodwhattheleaderswereupto.Iftheelitesarejustdoing

21.

See Pandey1990.

22.

See alsoTambiah1996and1986.Kapfererarguessimilarly(see footnote58). Kapferer1988.

23.

See Simmel1955; andCoser 1956.See also thediversionarywarliterature,forexample,Levy

1989.

854 InternationalOrganization

whattheirfollowerswantthemtodo,thenitseemsinappropriatetoblametheelites. Inotherwords,ifviolenceandhardenedethnicboundariesserveelitebutnotpopular interests,thenwhatexplainspopularethnicantipathies?Supposethattheleaderof onegroupprovokesa violentincidentwithmembersofanothergroup.Whyorunder whatconditionsshouldthisincident"construct"thegroupin a moreantagonistic manner,increasingsupportfortheleaderanddisposingthegrouptowardyetmore violence? Thesearethequestionsthata coherentconstructivisttheoryofethnicviolence(in thissenseof "identitiesare sociallyconstructed")needsto answer,and theyare

difficultquestions.24Brass,forexample,presentsan elitetheoryofethnicviolence thatdrawsheavilyonconstructivistwriting.He arguesthatIndianelitesengagedin

contestsforpowersometimesfinditintheirinteresttopubliclyframeviolentinci-

dentsas "communal,"an interpretationthatis thenacceptedby publicsfavoring moreviolence.Butwhydo publicsso readilycreditelites'framings?AttimesBrass seemsawarethatitis oddthathe shouldfindthepoliticians'machinationstranspar- entwhiletheIndianpublicis duped.For instance,afterdescribinga particularly absurdallegationreportedinthepartisanpressinIndia,heexplainsthat"itis likely that[Muslims]wouldhavebeenso enraged[bythisallegation]thattheywouldnot have seenthroughtheevidentruseinvolvedin thiskindof reporting,whichhas Goebbelsianqualities."25Susan L. Woodward,equallyshockedat mass acquies- cenceto themachinationsof nationalelites,claimstheyengagedsuccessfullyin

"psychologicalwarfare."26

One classofanswerstothispuzzleproposesthatinnateorlearnedpsychological

biasleadsmembersofethnicgroupstodiscountorignoretheirownleader'sinvolve-

mentinproducingethnicconflict,so thattheOthertakesalltheblame.Forinstance, followingTajfel's"social identitytheory,"ifpeoplehavean innatedesireforself- esteem,thentheymaybe irrationallyreluctanttobelievethatmembersoftheirown group,andespeciallytheirleadership,couldbe responsibleforreprehensibleacts.27 Anothersetofpossibleanswersproposesthatasymmetricinformationallowsleaders tomanipulatetheir(more-or-lessrational)followers'beliefs.Forinstance,RuiJ.P. de Figueiredo,Jr.,andBarryR. Weingastobservethatevenifpeopledo notknow whichsidetoblameforthefailureofconstitutionalnegotiations,an ethnicriot,or incidentofethnicviolence,theydo knowthatoneorbothsidesaretoblame.Thus,

observinganysucheventshouldleadthemrationallytoincreasetheirbeliefthatthe othergrouporitsleadersmaybe dangerousoratfault,evenifithappensinthiscase thattheirownleadershipprovokedtheconflict.Ifan ethnicpublicis veryscaredof whatmighthappeniftheothergroupharborsaggressiveintentions,thismaybe enoughforthemtoincreasetheirsupportoftheincumbentas a defensivemove.28

24. Noraretheywell answeredin theinternationalrelationsliteratureon diversionarywar,butsee

DownsandRocke1994;HessandOrphanides1995;andSmith1996.

25. Brass1997,142.

26. Woodward1995,228.

27. Tajfel1978.TheastonishingdenialsencounteredfromBosnianSerbsconfrontedwithevidenceof

theSrebrenicamassacresmaybe a goodexampleofthismechanismatwork.

28. De FigueiredoandWeingast1999.Bythisargument,suspicionsthattheirownleadershipis trying

tomanipulatethemshouldalso gaincurrencyonseeinganeventlikethis.

ViolenceandEthnicIdentityConstruction855

Morebroadly,politicalleadersusuallyhavebetterinformationaboutwhethercon-

flictwithanothergroupis thebestcourseofactionat a particulartime.Followers thusfacea classicalagencyproblem,oneconsequenceofwhichmaybe thatleaders can(temporarily?)increasesupportbyexploitingthetrusttheyhavedevelopedwith followers. A thirdpossibilityis thatleadersarenotso muchdeceivingfollowersas taking advantageofconstitutionalandotherinstitutionalrulesandnormsthatallowthemto centralizeorarrogatepoweriftheycanclaimthatthegroupfacesa securitythreat.In otherwords,ethnicviolencemaybeprovokedsimplytolegitimizea coupd'etat.By fomentingviolencewithanout-grouptheleadersofthein-groupmaybe ableto"tie thehands"oftheirco-ethnics.In-groupleadersincreasetheirco-ethnics'demandfor protectionfromtheout-groupandatthesametimemakesurethereis noalternative setofleaderstoprotectthem.To someextenttheHutuleadershipinRwandaandthe

SerbianleadershipinYugoslaviaemployedsuchtactics.29

Afourthanswermightbedevelopedas a moreconstructivistvariantonthepsycho- logicalbiasapproachnotedearlier:peoplemaybe so totallyblindedbya discourse ofethnicityandethnicrelationsthatitdetermineshowtheydrawinferencesfrom dataonethnicrelations.TheaccountsbyBrass,Prunier,andKapfererallsuggestthis possibilityattimes. Finally,observersmaybe concludingtoo quicklythatpopularinvolvementin "ethnicviolence"andsupportforextremistleadersis motivatedina straightforward fashionbyunderlyingethnicanimositiesandfears.In someofhisessays(particu- larlyinthechapterentitled"TheftofanIdol"), Brasshintsata possibleresponseor resolutionofthepuzzlealongtheselines.He suggeststhattheordinaryfolkinvolved in "communalviolence"arein factpursuingtheirowndiverseagendasthatmay havelittletodo withcommunalantipathiesperse. Whenpoliticiansinterpretlocal disputesinanethnicframe,theyaremerelygivingpeoplethelicensetopursuetheir ownagendasunderthebannerof "communalconflict."Thisvaluablesuggestionis takenuplater;evidenceforitappearsinseveralofthecase studies.Themechanism also appearsinimportantrecentstudieson civilwar.Forexample,StathisKalyvas arguesthatmuchviolenceincivilwarsisproducedbylocalswhoenlistsupportfrom

thegovernmentorrebelstopursuelocalgrudgesandfeuds.30

Strategicaction"on theground." The individualswhoconstructethnicidenti- tiesneednotbepoliticalorotherelites.Apersistentintuitioninconstructivistwriting is thatsocialidentitiesareproducedandreproducedthroughtheeverydayactionsof ordinaryfolk,thatis, "on theground."Individualsthinkofthemselvesintermsofa particularsetofsocialcategories,whichlead themto actin waysthatcollectively

29. In "securitydilemma"explanationsforethnicviolence,PosenandHardinarguethatwhena cen-

tralauthoritycollapsesethnicviolencemayoccuras individualscoalescealongethniclinestoseekself-

protection.Posen1993andHardin1995.Theseargumentstreatthecollapseofgovernmentas exogenous andthuscannotaddressthequestionofwhyfollowersfollowleaderswhodeliberatelybringon "anar-

chy."Theargumentinourtexthasleaderscreating"anarchy"becausetheyknowthatfollowerswillbe unabletocoordinateon differentleadersandthuswillhavetosupporttheonesresponsiblefortheprob- lems.

856 InternationalOrganization

confirm,reinforce,andpropagatetheseidentities.31Membersofmarginalizedcatego-

ries,orindividualdissidents,mayquietlysubvertorloudlycontestcommonassump-

tionsaboutparticularcategories.Theiractionsmaythenresultintheconstructionof newor alteredidentities,whichthemselveschangeculturalboundaries.Effortsto changeboundariesmayleadtoviolentstrategiesbythosewhohaveaninterestinthe previouslyacceptedboundaries.Whilerecentaccountsofpopularinvolvementin ethnicviolencehavefocusedonsecurityfearsofindividuals-themotivationtokill one'sneighborsbeforebeingkilledbythem32-herewe willelaborateona comple- mentaryconstructivistaccount. As a firstcut,it is usefulto pointoutthatethnicgroupshavemorepermeable boundariesthanstates.33Withconsiderablesuccess,statesin themoderneracon- structandpolicedefiniteterritorialborders.34In contrast,thelinesbetweenethnic andnationalgroupsareless definiteandmuchhardertopolice,sincetheycan be alteredor infringeduponby assimilationandothereverydayactsthatbluror call boundariesintoquestion.In a seminalessay,FrederikBartharguedthatethnicityis definednotbytheculturalcharacteristicsofgroupmembersbutbythedifferences thoughttodistinguishthemfromothers.35Ina moreculturalistapproach,WilliamH.

Sewell,Jr.,emphasizestheimpossibilityof approachingculturaluniformity,even undertotalitarianconditions.CulturalpracticeforSewellis less thatofcelebrating uniformityamongmembersofa groupthanoforganizingdifferencesbetweengroups. Sewell'sargumentimpliesthatwhenboundariesareunderthreat-forexample,when

a subgrouporganizesto assertitsdifferencefromthelargergroupin whichithad

beena part-thosewhoidentifiedwiththeinclusivegrouparelikelytoopposesepa- ration,eventotheextentofthreateningviolentrepercussions.Battlesoverwhether groupson theboundariesarethesameas thosein thecore,or culturallydifferent fromthem,areforSewella normalaspectofculturalpractice.36

Such battleshave thepotentialforviolence.In Basque country,highlevelsof

assimilationbya regionalminorityintothecultureofthecentralstate(therebyex-

pandingtheboundaryofthesocialcategory"Spaniard"toincludeBasques)threat-

enedtheinterestsofthoseseekingpoliticalseparation.Assimilationstrategiesonthe

groundled Basque separatiststoprovokethecenter'spoliceintopunitiveactions. Theseparatistshopedtocausenot-yet-assimilatedBasquestorevisedownwardtheir hopesforbeingacceptedbymembersofthedominantsocietyandtherebystrengthen theargumentforsecession.Basque separatistspursuedthisviolent"action-reaction

31. A self-reinforcingsystemofsocialcategoriescanbe seenas aninstanceofa culturalequilibrium,a

patternofactionsandbeliefssuchthattheactionsmakesense(areoptimal)giventhebeliefs,andatthe

sametimethebeliefsarenotdisconfirmedbythepatternofactions.Forinstance,ifA's

be cheatedininterethnicdealings,itwillmakesensetoavoidinteractionsandtotrytocheatinthosethat

occur,thusreproducingthebeliefsthatmaketheactionsoptimal.Forexamplesofculturalequilibria,see

Laitin1998;Mackie1996;andFearonandLaitin1996.

andB's expectto

32. Forexample,seePosen1993.

33. Internationalrelationstheorists,suchas Posen,finditusefultoignorethisdistinction.Posen1993.

See alsoHardin,whoportraysethnicgroupsas well-delineated"teams."Hardin1995.

34. See Lustick1993;andSahlins1989.

35. Barth1969,17.

36. Sewell1999.

ViolenceandEthnicIdentityConstruction857

cycle,"as theydescribedthestrategy,fora generation.37In suchcases,ethnicvio- lenceis a consequenceoftheambiguityanduncertaintyoftheboundariesdelimiting ethniccategories.It emergesfromreactionsbyelitestoeffortsbyordinarypeople

thatthreatentoredefinesocialboundaries.38

The permeabilityof boundariescan lead to violencenotonlyas a reactionto potential"defection"butalso as a strategyby marginalmembersto gaingreater acceptanceinsomevaluedcategory.Hereviolenceis usedagainstpresumedoutsid- ersbyindividualsofmarginalstatusinthegroup.Explanationsforviolenceinthese cases typicallyproceedas follows:marginalmembersof groupA internalizethe beliefthatA's aresuperiortoB's. TheymaythenattackmembersofB in orderto provetothemselvesortootherssecurelyinA thattheyareindeedmembers.39This mechanismmightbe describedas a strategyforgainingacceptanceina valuedcat- egoryby out-HerodingHerod(withtheAustrianhalf-JewHitleras thenotorious example).

Evidence on IdentityConstructionand Ethnic Violence

Is ethnicviolencea resultofprocessesofethnicidentityconstruction?Thesecase studiesoflarge-scaleethnicviolenceandBrass'svolumeonepisodesofviolenceat thelocallevelprovideevidencetosupportfourresponsestothisquestion.First,the

bookscontainampleevidencerejectingtheprimordialistthesesthatethnicidentities are sociallyor geneticallyfixedand unchanging,and thatethnicviolenceresults

fromreceived,immutableculturaldifferences.Second,theevidencefortheproposi-

tionthatdiscoursesofethnicityconstructidentitiesinwaysthatdisposeindividuals toviolentconflictis atbestambiguoushere,althoughthetextsunderreviewprovide somegroundsforsucha reading.Third,thecases containconsiderableevidence suggestingthatpoliticalelitesuseviolencetoconstructantagonisticethnicidentities, whichin turnfavormoreviolence,withinterestingsuggestionsaboutwhymasses wouldfollow.Fourth,thereis evidencethattheconstructionofeverydayprimordial- ismfromon-the-groundinteractionscanleadtointra-andintergroupviolence.

AgainstPrimordialism

Thereis noevidenceinthesebooksofeithergeneticallyfixedorunchangingcultural values,as primordialistswouldexpect.To varyingdegrees,all theauthorsarecon-

37. Laitin1995.

38. Forsimilarexamples,see Ganguly1997,75. GangulysuggeststhatSikhrevivalisminIndiagrew

outofconservativeSikhs'fearsthat"young,wealthy,urbanizedSikhshadsoughtto shearoffthetrap-

pingsoftheirfaith,"reinvigoratingconcernthat"theycouldwellbecomeabsorbedwithintheHindu

fold."He makesa parallelargumentregardingeconomicmodernizationandthespreadofMuslimfunda- mentalisminKashniir.

39. Chauncey,forexample,explainsviolentattacksagainsthomosexualsinthefirsthalfofthiscentury

injust theseterms:Newlyconfinedto indoor,officejobs and underthethumbof giantcorporations, middle-classmen'ssenseof masculinitywas in question(boundaryuncertainty).Theyresponded,ac- cordingtoChauncey,byshiftingtheconceptualschemefroma divisionbasedonmasculineversusfemi- ninebehaviortoone basedon preferencein sex partners(homosexual/heterosexual)andcondoningat-

tacksonthoseontheothersideofthenewboundary.Chauncey1994,116.

858 InternationalOrganization

structivists.Pruniermakesthemostinsistentcase fora constructivistposition.He showsthatthelabels "Tutsi"and "Hutu"in Rwandahadprimarilya class rather thananethnicmeaninginprecolonialtimes,andnotesresearchsuggestinga porous boundaryseparatingthem.Furthermore,he showsthattheseethniclabelsareinthe presentpoliticalsense(thatis,thenotionofa foreignconqueringmasterraceoveran oppressedpeasantsociety)a historicalfictioninventedbyracialistEuropeansand takenoverbylocalpoliticalentrepreneursseekingjobs andpower,andespeciallyby Tutsipoliticianswhousedthecolonialideologyas a meansofmaterialandpsycho- logical aggrandizement.The rigiddichotomybetweenHutuand Tutsiwas con- structedbycolonialauthoritiesincollaborationwithRwandanelitesandhardenedas a resultofpoliticalconflict. Similarly,Woodwardinsiststhatthehighlypoliticizedcontentsbehind"Muslim," "Serb,"and "Croat"in theBalkansin the1990sarea resultoftheeconomiccol- lapseandthebreakdownoftheYugoslavstateratherthantheotherwayaround.John

McGarryandBrendanO'LearygivenostocktoargumentsaboutviolenceinNorth-

ernIrelandthatarebuiltuponinheritedculturaldifference.Theypointoutthatthe

socialcontentofthecategories"Protestant"and"Catholic"inNorthernIrelandhas

changedso vastlyoverthecenturiesthatit wouldbe hardto finda setof long-

standingculturaldifferencesthatseparatethetwopopulations.40Whilethecontentof

nationalidentitiesis influx,McGarryandO'Learyshowthattheboundaries(thatis, thecriteriadefiningmembership)ofthegroupsarelong-standingandunquestioned. Dengequivocatessomeonthisissue.He insiststhatcertaincategoriesareobjective andnatural.Despitethesocialconstructionofa northernSudanese"Arab"identity, thesepeoplearereallyAfricanswhoassimilatedintoArabculture.Theirconstructed Arabidentityservestoblocka north-southnationalintegrationin Sudanthatcould resolvethebloodyconflict.DespitehisinsistenceonobjectivecriteriaforArabness

andAfricanness,Denggivesconsiderableattentiontoboundaryareaswherenorth-

ernandsouthernidentitiesarein competition,showinghowboththemeaningand boundariesofidentitiesaresubjecttochange.Kapferer,forall hispostmodernpre- tensions,andto thechagrinof manyofhis critics,findshimselfreifyinga trans- historicalSinhaleseidentity.YetKapferer'sbooksuggeststhatunderconditionsof postcolonialism,compoundedby economicdifficulties,ethnicidentitiestakeon a strongerandmoreexclusiviststrain.Therefore,whereastheethniclabelsarelargely givenby descent(partof thecommonunderstandingof themeaningof "ethnic group"),theircontentandgriponindividuals'imaginationsarea functionofsocial andhistoricalconditions. Furthermore,totheextentthata strongprimordialistpositionturnsontheincom- patibilityofculturesas thesourceforviolence,thereis noevidenceforsucha posi- tionin thebooksunderreview.Fourof thestudies(thoseby Brass,Woodward, Prunier,andKapferer)do notevenaddresstheissueoftheviolentpotentialofcul- turaldifference.Deng is explicitin rejectingtheclaimthatobjectivemeasuresof culturaldistancematter.He openshisdiscussionwiththeclaimthat"thesourceof conflictlaysnotso muchinthemerefactofdifferencesas inthedegreetowhichthe

40. McGarryandO'Leary1995,250.

ViolenceandEthnicIdentityConstruction859

interactingidentitiesandtheiroverridinggoalsaremutuallyaccommodatingorin-

compatible.Inthecontextofthenation-state,conflictofidentitiesoccurswhengroups rebelagainstwhattheysee as intolerableoppressionbythedominantgroup."41

Muchofhisbookshowsthatobjectively(anddespitenorthernimaginings)thecul-

turesofnorthandsoutharecloserthanelitecharacterizationsofthosecultures.Tobe

sure,Deng,in suggestingan amelioratingpolicy,writes:"If Northernersvaluethe unityof theirnationabove theirself-delusionthattheyareArabs,"peace in the contextofa unitedSudancouldbe attained.TheculturalbeliefthattheyareArabs, andtherebymastersofAfricans,Deng maintains,sustainsthecivilwar.Here,cul- turalbeliefsareconstructedinantagonisticwaysthoughtheyneednotbe,givingno

supporttotheviewthatobjectiveculturaldifferencesimplyviolence.42

McGarryandO'Learyattacktheculturaldistanceargumentheadon.Theycon-

siderthepossibilitythatthe"warringgods"ofCatholicsandProtestantsplaya role in leadingtheiradherentsintocommunalwarfare.Indeed,as theauthorspointout, NorthernIrelandis more"religious"intermsofchurchattendancethanmostother Europeansocieties,andthereis a highcorrelationbetweenreligiousaffiliationand voting.Manyoftheextremists(forinstance,IanPaisley)arereligiouszealots.From thesepointsnumerousobserversinterprettheNorthernIrelandconflictas a war

betweenincompatiblereligions.

McGarryandO'Leary,however,demolishtheclaimthatreligiousdifferencescause

thecommunalviolence.Theyshowthat

1. violencedidnotrecedeas thesocietyslowlybutmonotonicallybecamemore secular;

2. cross-sectionally,therewasmoreviolenceincitieswherereligiosityis lower thaninvillageswhereitis higher;

3. since1969therehadbeena fairamountofinterchurchcooperationas vio- lenceexpanded;

4. all ofthemajorpartiesorparamilitariesnamedthemselvesintermsofsecular

criteria(nationalism,unionism),notreligiouscriteria,and,infact,"thepoliti-

cal languageofbothprotagonistsappealstothediscoursesofnationalism,the principlesofself-determinationanddemocraticmajoritarianism,ideaswhich are,inprinciple,andinpractice,detachedfromreligiousworld-views";

5. violencewasnot(atleast,atthetimethebookwaswritten)directedagainst religiousicons.LoyalistshadnottouchedCatholicchurches,andnoCatholic priestshadbeenkilledbya loyalistgunman,eventhoughpriestswalkthe streetsandprovideeasytargets;

6. respondentsinNorthernIrelandattributedthecausesoftheconflicttopoliti-

callconstitutionalsourcesfarmorethantheydidtoreligiousdifferences.

"Evenloyalistparamilitaries,"McGarryandO'Learyreport,"saytheyare

happytoaccommodateCatholicsifandwhentheyaccepttheUnion";

41. Deng 1995,1.

42. Ibid.,22.

860 InternationalOrganization

7. endogamyis moretheresultofneighborhoodsegregationthanthepoliciesof religiousorganizations.

Whileprimordialistsmightwanttoclaimthatreligionis notexhaustiveofcultural differenceinthecase ofNorthernIreland,McGarryandO'Learycertainlyshowthat theculturaldifferencethatdefinesthecontentoftheethnicdividecannotbe directly

linkedtothecommunalviolence.43

The absenceof anymentionof culturaldistancein fourof thestudies,a sharp refutationofthethesisinthefifth,anda fullexegesisonwhyculturaldistanceis not

drivingviolenceinthesixthleadustorejectthisvariableas a powerfulfactorexplain-

ingviolentethnicconflict.Infact,thelessonofthesebooks,consistentwithconstruc-

tivisttheory,is thatwe cannotassumethatanyofthecountriesexaminedcontained,

priortotheviolentconflict,"deeplyriven"groupswithfundamentally"incompat-

iblevalues."Thesestudiescontainlittletosupporttheviewthattheculturalcontent

ofethnicdifferencesbyitselffostersethnicviolence.

Discourseand Violence

Discourseapproaches,a favoredmethodologicaltoolofconstructivists,arepoten- tiallyin tensionwitha principalclaimofconstructivisttheory,thatpeoplearenot bornimprisonedbytheircultures.In fact,onlyKapfereramongtheauthorswhose workis underreviewsustainsan argumentin favorof a culturaldiscourseas a powerfulandunchangingsocialforce."The furyofthe[anti-Tamil]riotswas de- monic"he tellshisreader,leadingKapferertoexaminetheriotsfromthepointof viewofSinhalasorcerydemons.AmongtheSinhala,mythsofVijaya(thefounding andunrulyprinceoftheSinhalapeople,theoffspringofa lionandan Indianprin- cess,yethebecamea righteousking)andofDutugemunu(whoreestablishedSinhala mastery,overpoweringtheTamilking,Elara)are,Kapfererexplains,treatedas his- toricalfact,reproducedinschooltexts,andrecuras imagesincontemporaryethnic warfare.44In publicpamphletsincitingor analyzingtheviolence,the"events"of thesemythologicalfigures'careersareenumeratedas partoftheexplanation.Even leadingscholars,livingabroad,areadmonishedlocallyforlackofcorrespondence betweentheirclaimsandSinhalamyths.Governmentofficialsinfusetheirrhetoric

withtheselegends,and"theiraudienceisculturallypreparedforthesereferences."45

Governmentministerswaxabouttheselegendsintheperiodofheightenedreligious activityontheannualcalendar,knownas Asala.Theworstriotsof1977,1981,and

1983coincidedwiththisperiod.

Popularexorcismritesare partof thismythicaluniverse.In theexorcism,the "patient"regainshealthina cosmicregenerationthatparallelsthe"processofhier- archicalregeneration"foundinthemythsofthestate.In "theSuniyama,theperson is reborn,reconstituted,fromthewombofthestate[quiteliterally,as thepersonis putintoanactualmodelofa statestructure],a staterebuiltas anorderedhierarchy."

43. McGarryandO'Leary1995,189-213.

44. Kapferer1988,34-35.

45. Ibid.,38-39.

ViolenceandEthnicIdentityConstruction861

KapfererpointstoparallelshereinthelegendsofVijayaandDutugemunu."Their violence,as theviolentmetaphorsand actsof theSuniyamarite,is an ordering violenceengagedtotheformationorreformationofthewholenessandhealthofthe state Violenceis appropriateintheexpungingofevil,anevilwhichbydefinition

defiestheunifiedorderoftheBuddhiststate."46

Kapfererinsiststhatpoliticiansare notmanipulatingthemasses,butsharean ontologicalgroundwiththem.Thus,PresidentJayawardeneonbecomingpresident (as opposedtoa primeminister,as in theolderconstitution)exclaimed:"We have hadan unbrokenlineofmonarchsfromVijayatoElizabethII forover2,500years andnowmyself,the306thheadofstatefromVijayainunbrokenline."47In that samespeech,he referredto the"wickedandcorrupt"king,a Hindu,whosereign endedinrebellionbySinhaleselords.Thisspeechandmanyothersrelyon images

frommythstoportrayTamilsas foreign,as evil,andas naturalsubjectsforviolence. Further,inpublicpronouncementsofthecommanderoftheSriLankanarmyand inadmonitionsofa leadingpriest(thathe "woulddealwithall enemyforcesinthe countrywiththeblessingsof theTripleGem and all theprotectivedeitiesof Sri Lanka") themythsofstatearenaturalizedintoadvocacyforpresentpolicy.Inpopu- larcartoonsJayawardenewas depictedas requiringexorcismso thathe might"re- storetheencompassingequanimityofan orderedhierarchy."Thissharingofmyths betweenelitesandmassespresentsthe"dreadfulandviolentpossibility"thatleaders andmasseswillfollowthe"innerlogic" oftheir"prereflective"ontology.Given thisontology,Sinhalesewilltakeanyoppositionto thestateas threateningthem personally."Hereis a reason,extraordinaryas itmayseem,forthesudden,almost inexplicable,transformationofa normallypeacefulpeopleintoviolentandmurder-

ouslyrampagingmobs

Tamils,theagentsofevil,settobreaktheoverarchingunityoftheSinhalesestate,

arerootedout

Tamildemoninhierarchy."48

Whatdo we makeofthisargument?StanleyTambiah,amonga numberofschol- arswhosmelledprimordialisminit,tookexception.Kapferer,heargues,is ahistori-

cal as he "makesa leap froma cosmologyinferredfroma sixth-centurymytho-

historicaltext

Does a possiblehomologybetweenthetwocosmologiesmeana continuityinhistori- cal consciousnessfromthesixthto thetwentiethcentury?"Littleeffortis made,

Tambiahemphasizes,toanalyzethechangingMahavamsacorpus,whichwasrewrit-

tenseveraltimesoverthecenturies,toseeifthiscontinuityis beingtransmittedover

time.As we suggestedearlier,argumentsthatrelyupondiscursiveformationsthat havetheirownlogicand agencytendto portrayculturein a waythatborderson primordialism,inthatpeoplearecontinuallymadeandremadebydiscoursesthatare

essentialpropertiesofethnicgroups.49

The rioting

maybe likenedto a giganticexorcism.

By so doing[theSinhalese]resubordinateandreincorporatethe

to anothercosmologyhe infersfrompresent-daydemonrituals.

46. Ibid.,78-79.

47. Ibid.,85-87.

48. Ibid.,100-101.

49. Tambiah1992,171.

862 InternationalOrganization

Does KapfererneedtotreatSinhalesediscourseonethnicidentityas anunchang- ingmonoliththatautomaticallydeterminespopularperceptionsandresponseswhen

dangeris alleged?Couldhe insteadarguethatforwhateverreasons,in theearly 1980sthissimplywasa powerfuldiscoursethatshapedSinhaleseself-understanding andconditionedtheactionsofbothleadersandfollowersin thedirectionof vio- lence?He hadtheopportunitytoproffersuchan argument,sincehalfthebookcon-

cernsstateideologyinAustraliawherethemythsofstatedonotimpelwhiteAustra-

liansto massacretheaboriginalpopulation.Butthebookmerelyjuxtaposesthese casesratherthancomparingthemtoaccountforthedifferentoutcomes.As a result, Kapfererdoes notinvestigatehowviolentdiscoursesare sustainedor identifythe conditionsunderwhichstatediscoursesturnpopulationsviolentlyagainsttheethnic other. Prunierdoes seeksuchan explanation.Forthemostparthe avoidstheimplicit primordialismofKapferer,attendingmorecarefullytothecreationofthediscourse in thecolonialperiodanditsevolutionwithchangingcircumstances.Prunierputs greatstresson thediscourseofTutsiracialsuperioritythatdevelopedinRwanda's colonialyears.ThisportrayedtheTutsias a distinctraceofaristocraticconquerors whohadcomeoriginallyfromfaraway(perhapsevenTibet!)andwerenaturalrulers overthegood-naturedbutinferiorHutus.Ina subtleanalysis,heshowshowtheHutu "democraticrevolution"of 1959 did notfundamentallyrejectthisideology,but

"merelyinverteditssign.Tutsiwerestill'foreigninvaders'whohadcomefromafar, butnowthismeantthattheycouldnotreallybe consideredas citizens."The Hutu were"theonlylegitimateinhabitantsofthecountry,"and "a Hutu-controlledgov- ernmentwas now notonlyautomaticallylegitimatebutalso ontologicallydemo-

cratic."50PruniermeansthattheauthoritarianstateinRwandarationalizeditselfas

"democratic"on theargumentthatdemocracyequals ruleby Hutus(thedemo- graphicmajority),whichequalsexclusionofTutsisfrompoliticalpower.Thusnot onlydid thecolonialdiscoursecreate"an aggressivelyresentfulinferioritycom- plex" amongtheHutubutin this"inverted"formitssystemof thoughtpainted Tutsisas evilforeignerswhomightat anytimeseekto reimposetheirtyrannical, "feudalist"rule.51This,Pruniersuggests,was an invaluableresourcefortheHutu elitescontrollingthestate.Facedwithan invasionledbythearmyrepresentingthe RwandanPatrioticFront,thepredominantlyTutsipartymobilizedin exile,Hutu elitescoulduse widespreadacceptanceof the"democraticideology"to publicly rationalizewhatwasinfacta couptoavoidsharingpower(mainlywithHutusfrom

anotherregion).52Inaddition,hearguesthattheideologyanditseffectsarethemost

importantfactorsexplainingHutupeasants'participationinthegenocide.Although Pruniercitesmanyfactors-desireforlandandcattle,a stronghierarchicalcom-

mandstructureinwhichnonparticipationcouldmeandeath,andsimplepeasantigno-

50. Prunier1995,80.

51. Ibid.,9.

52. In contrasttoKapferer,Prunierconsistentlyexplainstheactionofpoliticalelitesintermsofma-

terialandpower-seekingmotivations,notideology-forexample,Prunier,141.Theonlyexceptionwould

be "extremistideologues,"whoPrunieroccasionallysuggestsarejustwrappedup intheRwandanhis- toricalmythology.

ViolenceandEthnicIdentityConstruction863

ranceandcredulityofgovernmentpronouncements-intheendhe saysthat"greed was notthemainmotivation.It was beliefandobedience-beliefin a deeplyim-

bibedideology."53

WhereasinKapferer'sviewdiscourse"prereflectively"scriptstheactionsofboth elitesandfollowers,inPrunier'sviewa discourseis invokedas a resourceforpower- andwealth-seekingpoliticianstojustifycoursesofactionina wayplausibletofol- lowers,anda sourceoflong-standing,generalpsychologicaldispositions(suchas

resentment,arrogance,andsuspicion)withregardtoethnicothers.Withnotheoreti-

cal axetogrind,Prunier'snarrativeseamlesslyweavestogetherrationalistindividual- basedanalysisanda morediscursiveconstructivistapproachthatstressesthisideo-

logicalconstruct.The resultis compelling,althoughwe remainpuzzledby two

problemsregardinghowthediscursivesystemfiguresintheexplanation.Thesegen-

eralpuzzlesapplyequallywelltoKapferer'sbook.

First,discursiveor culturalsystemsat bestcreatea dispositionforlarge-scale violence,sincetheyarerelativelyenduringstructureswhileviolenceis episodic.

Thus,testingthehypothesisthatsomeculturaldiscoursesfavorethnicviolencere-

quiresthatwe cancodediscoursesas moreorlessinherentlyviolence-proneacross

cases. KapfererandPruniermustbelievethisis possible.TheyarguethattheSinha- lese andRwandandiscursivesystemscontainintrinsicfeaturesthatdisposethose

boundupinthemtoviolenceinparticularcircumstances.Buttherearebothempiri-

cal andtheoreticalquestionsaboutwhethersucha cross-sectionalprojectcouldsuc- ceed.Empirically,we noticethatinnoneoftheotherfourbooksunderreviewdoes theauthorputanystressona specificculturaldiscoursecreatinga dispositiontoward ethnicviolence.Atbest,Deng,McGarryandLeary,Woodward,andBrassreference theeffectsoftheverygeneralmoderndiscourseonethnicityandnationalism.As we havenoted,thisdiscourseis toowidespreadtoexplainvariationinlevelsofviolence acrosscases.Granted,thissampleis smallandperhapsdifferentauthorswouldplace

greateremphasison discursivesystemsin thesecases. Buttheevidencewe have does notaugurwell fora projectthatwouldsystematicallycode forpresenceor absenceofa violence-pronediscourseinbothhighandlowviolencecases.54 Second,andmorefundamentally,itis hardtoseehowa structureas complicated, rich,andmultivalentas Sinhalesemythologyor evenRwandanpoliticalideology canbe reliablydeemedtobe inherentlypronetoviolence.Thisobservationposesa theoreticalproblemforthecross-sectionalempiricalprojectjustnoted,butit also raisesa difficultquestionaboutthemechanismbywhichdiscursivesystemsbring aboutactions.Ifdiscoursesaretypicallycomplexenoughtojustifymanycoursesof action,thenhowcantheydeterminetheactionsofthosewhoareheldintheirgrip?If theRwandanpoliticalmythologycouldbe usedtojustifya rangeofactionsfrom genocidetothepeacefulpoliticalexclusionbuteconomicinclusionofTutsisinthe

1970sand1980stolimitedpoliticalincorporation(theHutumoderates'viewinthe

53. Prunier1995,248.

54. NotethatPrunier'ssingle-casedesigncannotestablishthatthediscoursehefocusesonmattersin

generalforproducingethnicviolencebecausehe does notsamplelow violencecases to ask ifsimilar discoursesaretypicallyabsent.KapfererdoeswithAustralia,butas mentioned,he doesnottakeadvan-

tageofhisdesigntotesthisdiscourseapproach.

864 InternationalOrganization

early1990s),thenshouldwe notbe askingaboutthemotivationsandincentivesof

thosemostresponsiblefortheframing?Ifthismythologymerelymademassvio-

lencea thinkable"possibility"on thepartofHutus,can we identifydiscoursesof ethnicityinothercasesthatunambiguouslycontainnosuchpossibilities? In contrastto KapfererandPrunier,Brassidentifiesa diversesetofcompeting discourses.Butthereis littleanalysisoftheculturalcontentofthesediscourses.Nor doeshesee themas independentforcesdeterminingtheactionsthatproducecollec- tiveviolenceinIndia.Instead,forBrass,a discourseis a setofargumentsemployed bysomeactorsinjustifyingtheiractionsora policythatis pursuedforotherreasons. Lurkingbehindsuchdiscoursesas "criminallaw andorder,""casteandcommu- nity,""faithandsentiment,""profit,"and"Hindu-Muslimcommunalism"is a nexus

ofpowerandinterestthatfoolsbothvillagersandoutsideanalysts.Consistentwith

thisFoucauldiantheme,BrassinsiststhatthediscourseofHindu-Muslimcommunal-

ism (to choosebutone) "operate[s]pervasivelyin northIndiaas a coverforthe

politicalambitionsofelitesandas a smokescreentodrawattentionawayfromthe

consequencesforitspeopleofthepoliciesofthemodernIndianstateanditslead-

ers."55He laterasksus to "consider . thediscourseoffaithandsentimentandthe interestsservedbythosewhoproclaimitsreality."It benefits,Brassargues,local politicianswhowantto supplantthedominantstatediscourseof secularism.The

villagersbuyintoitforshort-termadvantage,butultimatelytheyloseout,as theyget

beatenbythepoliceandexploitedbythelocalpoliticians.56Thoseinauthorityben-

efitfromthediscoursestheyperpetuate(implicatingas wellscholarswhoreifythem) in thatthefavoreddiscourses"substitute . popularvalues,whicharesaid tobe deplorablebutentrenchedinthelivesofthepeople,forindividualresponsibilityand culpabilityinactsofwrongdoing.Itdivertsblamefromthepoliticiansforinstigating violencebetweencommunitiesorbetweenthepoliceandvillagers."57Used inthis

way,discoursesaremorestrategiesthansupra-individualforceswiththeirowninter-

nallogicsthatdetermineactionsandevents.

Elites,Violence,andSocial Construction

In threeofthesixbooksunderreview,theauthorsexplaintheonsetoflarge-scale ethnicviolenceas a directresultof eliteeffortsto retainor grabpoliticalpower (Prunier,Deng,Woodward).58In a fourth,Brassputstheopportunismofelitepoliti- ciansat thecenterofhisexplanationforthemaintenanceofcommunal"riotsys- tems"in India.Whatoccasionssucheliteactions,andwhatif anythingdoes the socialconstructionofethnicityhavetodo withthem? Inthethreeclearestcases,theleader'smotivationto"playtheethniccard"emerges outofpoliticalfightingwithintheleader'sethnicgroupbetweenethnicextremists

55. Brass1997,96.

56. Ibid.,267.

57. Ibid.,93.

58. Kapferermakesthisargumentinless specificterms,suggestingthatwealthySinhaleseeliteshave

fomentedconflictandviolencewiththeTamilsas a diversionarytacticto dampenclass conflictwith

poorerSinhalese.Kapferer1988,102.

ViolenceandEthnicIdentityConstruction865

andmoderates.Extremistgroupsorleadersmayuseviolenceas a strategytoforceor inducemoderatesto increasetheirsupportforextremism(as in Yugoslaviaand Rwanda).Or threatsto a moderateleader'spowerbase withinhisowngroupmay leadhimtoprovokeviolenceinordertogainthesupportofextremistsorthebroader public(as inSudan,Yugoslaviatoanextent,andsomeofBrass'scasesinIndia). The constructionofethnicitycan be involvedin theseprocessesin at leasttwo ways.Mostsimply,theprovocationofviolencebyelitescan constructgroupsin a moreantagonisticmanner-thatis, alterthesocialcontentassociatedwithbeinga memberofeachcategory-andinturnsetinmotiona spiralofvengeance.Second, extremistswhoprovokeviolenceorpushmoremoderateleaderstodo so oftenwish

to"purify"theirculture,tosharplydelineateidentityboundariesthateverydayinter-

actionandmoderates'politicalagendasthreatentoblur.Thisperspectivealignswith theconstructivistfocuson theplasticityof groupboundaries,whichas we have arguedsuggestspathstoviolencethroughintragroupstrugglestodefineandpolice boundaries. InRwanda,Prunierinsiststhatinterethnicmurderpriortothegenocidewasonlya

toolfortherulingfactionoftheHutuelitetoavoidinternationalpressuresfordemoc-

ratizationandtojustifyintheeyesofthepeasantswhyextremistsratherthanmoder-

atesshouldspeakforHutuinterests.59Muchofthepoliticshe analyzesinvolvethe jockeyingforpoweramongregionallybasedHutuelitesthatis expressedas a con- flictbetweenextremistsandmoderateson theTutsiquestion.Extremiststrytocast theTutsisas purelyevilandtheHutumoderatesas theirstooges.In 1992,twoyears beforethegenocide,moderateHutusgainedsomecontroloverthetensesituation andnegotiateda cease-firewiththeRwandanPatrioticFront(RPF,a guerrillamove- mentthatdespiteseekinga multiethnicconstituency,representedTutsiinterests)at Arusha.60But Hutuextremistsled by thepresident'swife,AgatheHabyarimana, begantakingto thestreetsagainsttheensuingpeace process.She and herthree brothershelpedformthe"ZeroNetwork"deathsquads,theinstitutionalprecursors ofthegenocide.Aftera formalpower-sharingdealwas signedinJanuary1993,and thedaytheInternationalCommissionon HumanRightsmissionleft,theextremist Hutussenttheirsquadsto thenorthwestregionwheretheywerestrong,andthree hundredTutsiswerekilledinsixdaysofviolence.Thein-exileTutsi-ledarmythen brokethecease-fireand marchedacrosstheUgandanbordertowardtheRwanda capital,withmanyof thesoldiersdefyingtheirown moderateleadership.These wildcatsengagedincounterviolence,scaringmanyHutuswhoescapedtoZaire. The effectsof theseeventson theHutumoderatesand Hutupeasants'beliefs closelyparalleldeFigueiredoandWeingast'sexplanationfor"whypublicsfollow." As Prunierwrites,"theexactcircumstancesoftheRPF attackwerenotclear"and "doubtabouttheRPF's motiveshada tremendouseffecton theHutuopposition,"

effectivelysplittingit.61Unabletoassignblameforthefailureofthecease-firewith

59. Prunier1995,141.Relatedly,a motivationforthegenocideitselfwastoimplicateHutupeasantsin

crimesthatwouldeffectivelymakethem"extremists,"to "reinforcegroupsolidaritythroughshared

guilt."Ibid.,143.

60. OntheRPF,seePrunier1998.

61. Prunier1995,180.

866 InternationalOrganization

certainty,HutumoderatesincreasedtheirestimatethattheRPF couldnotbe trusted inpoliticalnegotiations,exactlywhattheextremistshadsoughtintheirviolentattacks. The storygetsmuchgorier.Anticipatingtheintra-Hutucoup thatwouldresult,

PresidentHabyarimanakeptpostponingthetransitiontotheArusha-approvedgov-

ernmentinearly1994,despitegreatinternationalpressure.MeanwhileHutuextrem-

istswerewarningoftheconsequencesofgivinguppowerandstressedtheneedfor "vigilance"(a euphemismformurder)ontheirradiostation.Ata meetingon6 April inDares Salaam,Tanzania,HabyarimanawaspressedbyhiseastAfricancolleagues toimplementtheaccords.On hisreturn,withPresidentNtaryamiraofBurundi,the planewas shotdownas it approachedKigali,Rwanda'scapital.Who diditis not known,buttheauthorreasonablysuspectsthatHutuextremistshad plannedthe

genocideiftheArushaaccordswereactuallyimplemented.Gettingridofthepresi-

dentwasa waytorationalizetheirpowergrabandputintoactiontheirfinalsolution.62

Duringthegenocideitself,in additionto theTutsideaths,some 10,000-30,000 Hutus(manyof themintellectualswithmoderateleanings)werekilledby other Hutus.63The warbetweenextremistandmoderateHutuscontinuedin therefugee campsof Zaireevenafterthegenocide."The formerleaders[ofthegenocide]," Prunierrecounts,"keptalmosttotalcontrolof theirsubjects.Whoeverdisagreed withthemwasquicklymurdered,a quickwaytostopreturnstoRwanda."Itis thus hardto imaginea coherentaccountof thegenocideandthefragilityof all peace accordsthatdoesnotanalyzehowthedividebetweenmoderateandextremistethnic leadersdrovebothintoviolentactionsagainsttheethnicother. In Sri Lanka,whenPresidentJayawardenebegannegotiatingwiththeTamils, Colombostreettalkwas rifewithrumorsthathe was reallya Muslim,or evena Tamil.AccordingtoKapferer,thisis becauseintheeyesoftheextremistshisregime was notkillingenoughTamils.64In orderto establishhis bonafidesamongSin- haleseundersuchcircumstances,heallowedhisownministerstoorganizepogroms againstinnocentTamils.FearofSinhaleseextremistsratherthanTamilsmotivated Jayawardene. InSudan,intra-northernerconflictexplainswhyPresidentNimeiri,afterhesettled

thewaragainstthesouthernrebels,unilaterallyabrogatedthe1972AddisAbaba

Agreement,whichhad seta frameworkforelevenyearsofpeace. In 1983he im- posedshari'a on thecountrybypresidentialdecree;he also dividedthesouthinto threeregionsto weakenit.This led to a resumptionof hostilities.Nimeiri,Deng argues,haddecimatedtheCommunistpartyafteritsabortivecoupin 1971.Ironi- cally,thismeantthatradicalMuslimsweretheonlyattractiveanti-governmentforce foryoungnorthernuniversitystudents.TheseradicalMuslimsformedtheMuslim

62. GourevitchconfirmsPrunier'ssuspicions.Gourevitch1995.However,theTorontoNationalPost

reportedonanallegedUN documentinwhichTutsiinformantsrevealedthatRPFleaderPaulKagamehad orderedtheattack.StevenEdwards,"Explosive"Leak on RwandaGenocide,TorontoNationalPost,1

March2000.TheallegationintheUN documentis highlyimplausible.Hutuparamilitaryunitsmobilized andattackedimmediatelyintheaftermathoftheassassination,whichcouldhaveoccurredonlyiftheir extremistleadersknewofitbeforehand.Whateverthetruth,therecanbe no doubtthatHutuextremists tookquickadvantageoftheassassinationtodiscreditHutumoderatesandtojustifythemassmurders.

63. Prunier1995,265.

64. Kapferer1988,100.

ViolenceandEthnicIdentityConstruction867

Brotherhoodandbecametheprincipalthreatto Nimeiri'srule.Deng's interviews amongnorthernersshowthatNimeiri'smoderatepolicyinregardtothesouthwas consonantwithpublicopinion.65Yethe abandonedthemoderateposition.To some extent,as Nimeirifeltsecurethathecouldbreakanysouthernresistance,hewasable todisregardtheAddisAbabaAgreementandcentralizehisrule.Butmoreimportant, as theMuslimBrotherhoodgainedstrengthinthenorth,especiallywithanextremely lucrativepositionin theFaisal IslamicBank givenby theSaudis to theMuslim Brotherhood,Nimeiriwascompelledtonegotiateonhisrightflank,andtoshowhis Islamiccolors.He begantodressinArabgarb,andpressedfortheshari'a.Those whoprotested(suchas thelong-timeleaderof themoderateMuslimRepublican Brothers)wereexecuted.FearofhisownradicalsratherthandesiretoIslamizethe southdroveNimeiritointimidatethesouth,drivingSudanintoitssecondcivilwar. In Yugoslavia,thepoliticaldynamicsbetweenmoderatesandextremistsare an importantpartofWoodward'sstory.In 1987,shereports,Serbia'sthennewpresident

SlobodanMilosevic,inbreakingwithhisformerpatronIvanStambolic,madeprotec-

tionof Serbsin Kosovo a keyissue.Like MilanKucan,theSlovenepartyleader,

Milosevicwaspreemptingtheanticommunistnationalists,whowerealreadyorganiz-

ingamongSerbsinotherrepublics.As withtheSloveneandCroatleadersfortheir nations,MilosevicclaimedhistoricinjusticeforSerbs,emphasizingthepartitionof Serbiain thefederationandeconomicpoliciesthatfavoredSloveniaandCroatia. OncethewarwithCroatiabegan,hehelpedcirculatea rhetoricofSerbianvictimiza- tion,an old themeof Serbiannationalists.Whilethisthemeis quiteimplausible, inasmuchas thecapitalofYugoslaviawasinSerbia,itwasconsistentwitha popular culturaldiscourseaboutvictimizationbytheOttomanstateandbytheTitoistsystem. TheconflictbetweenSerbianmoderatesandextremistswasmoreghastlyinCroatia's

krajina.Withconditionsworsening,voicesforconciliationdisappeared,inpartbe-

causeMilanBabic'sradicals"revivedtheirpowerthroughselectedassassinationsof

moderateleaders."66

Overall,WoodwardseesmuchoftheBalkanviolenceas inducedbyextremiststo

justifytheirextremismbothathomeandabroad.Forexample,theCroatiangovern-

mentprovokedthe"siege" ofDubrovnik;andtheCroatianandBosniangovern- mentsset up theirmortarbatteriesin hospitals,inducingfirefromtheYugoslav People'sArmy.Bothexamplesillustratethatinordertogaininternationalsympathy as wellas fomentoutrageamongtheirownmoderates,ethnicleaderswillprovoke

interethnicviolence.67

McGarryandO'LearytendtoemphasizetheempathythatmoderateCatholicsin

NorthernIrelandfeelforthemilitants,sharingtheiraspirations.68Theauthorsdown-

playthedividebetweenradicalsandmoderates,atleastinthisbook.YetinNorthern

65. Deng 1995,chap.11.

66. Woodward1995,221.

67. However,Woodwarddoesnotseealltheactioninextremistspushingmoderateleadersintoatroci-

ties.She analyzesas welltheroleoftheleaderswhoencouragedtheemergenceofultranationalists,in ordertoportraythemselvestotherestoftheworldas "moderates"holdingbacktheultras.Ibid.,355.But hereas welltheintranationaljockeyingforpositionbetweenintranationalradicalsandmoderatesplayeda roleindrivinginter-nationalityviolence.

68. McGarryandO'Leary1995,chap.7.

868 InternationalOrganization

Irelandfrom1983to 1994,inelectionsinwhichtheradicalSinnFeinpartydecided to participate,itsvotehoveredaround17 percentoftheelectorate,withthemore moderatenationalisticSocial DemocraticandLabourparty(SDLP) gettingaround 23 percent.69Furthermore,therewasa significantamountofintragroupkilling.70For example,22 percentoftheLoyalistkillingswereagainstProtestants,eitherinfeuds orbecausetheywereinformers.AmongtheRepublicanforces,in theperiodfrom 1969to 1993,sixty-fivedeathswereattributedtoCatholicactivistskillingCatholic informers.71A studyoftheviolentconflictinNorthernIrelandbyCarolineKennedy- PipeisrifewithincidentsinwhichradicalCatholicsintheprovisionalIRAprovoked Britishforceswiththegoal ofgarneringsupportfrommoderateanduncommitted Catholicsandofextremistintimidationofmoderatesin orderto underminepeace efforts.72A studyby BegoanaAretxagaof the"dirtyprotest,"in whichCatholic prisonersspreadontheirbodiestheirownfecesandmenstrualblood,suggestsstrongly a dynamicofradicalsseekingtodemonstratetheiroppressionandresolvetoCatho-

licmoderates.73Andinotherwritings,McGarryandO'Learypointouthowintrabloc

cleavagesworktoconstrainmoderates.74

Whydo publicsfollow? Thereis considerableevidenceinthesecase studiesthat intra-elitefightsoccasionelite-ledprovocationofethnicviolenceas a strategyfor grabbingorkeepingpowerorto defendthreatenedboundaries.Nonetheless,these accountsthatfocuson elitesto somedegreebeg thequestionofwhythemasses follow.Whydo theypayextravagantcoststofulfillelitepowerinterests? As we discussedearlier,one possibleconstructivistansweris thatsomeethnic groupssustain(andaredefinedby)discoursesthatprepareanddisposethemto act violentlytowardethnicothers,whileotherdiscoursesdo not.In ourdiscussionof Kapfererand Prunierwe outlinedthedifficultiesof testingsucha hypothesis.A secondclassofanswersnotedearlierputsthefocuson asymmetriesofinformation betweenleadersandfollowers,orpsychologicalbiasesonthepartoffollowers.The

casesjustreviewedcontainsomesupportforsucharguments,especiallythemanipu-

lationofreasonablefears,as we saw in theRwandancase.A finalpossibility,also

sketchedin thetheoreticalsection,drawson Brass's suggestionthatperhapsthe "followers"arenotreallyfollowingatall,oratleastnotin thewaytypicallypre- sumed.Wetakeupthecaseevidenceforthissuggestionnext.

Do theyfollow?The constructionofethnicviolence. Brassfocusesnotso much ontheimpactofidentityconstructiononethnicviolenceas onthepoliticalconstruc- tionof"ethnicviolence."He arguesthatwhethera disputeis infactethnicviolence dependson themotivesoftheparticipants,whicharetypicallycomplexandoften

69. Ibid.,402.

70. Kennedy-Pipe1997,108.

71. Ibid.,160;seealsodatafromSutton1994.

72. Kennedy-Pipe1997,53,63.

73. Aretxaga1995.

74. See,forexample,O'LearyandMcGarry 1993,304.

ViolenceandEthnicIdentityConstruction869

obscureorunknowable.75His carefulinvestigationsintothecircumstancesofvari- ous local disputes(a rape,a theftofa religiousicon,a case ofpolicebrutality,all alleged)revealmorequestionsthananswersas toexactlywhathappenedandwhy. Muchclearer,he argues,is thatsuchambiguousdisputessometimesfitthepolitical needsoflocal ornationalpoliticians,whoarethenresponsibleforpubliclycoding themas "communalviolence."Brasssuggeststhatthiscodingitselfhasincendiary implicationsandservestoperpetuateorfostercases oflargerscalecommunalvio- lence,suchas riots. In theend,Brass'sargumentis an elitetheoryofethnicviolencewitha twist.He suggestsatoncethat(1) muchofwhatis referredtoas "communalviolence"is at bestambiguouslyso-that is, "communalviolence"sometimesbutnotalwayscon- sistsofdisputesonthegroundthathavenothingtodo withcommunalmotivations; and(2) theviolenceisperpetuatedbytheactionsofopportunisticpoliticians.Follow- ingBrass,a constructivistmightarguethatwhatis significantis notthatethnic identitiesareconstructed,butthatviolenceis sociallyconstructedas "ethnic"(or "communal,"inIndianterms).Onemightask,forexample,iftherehasbeena great upsurgeinethnicwarsincetheendoftheColdWar,orwhethermoreinsurgencies arenowlabeled"ethnic"due to opportunisticredescriptionsandsalesmanshipby rebelleadersseekingsupportfromgreatpowerpatronsnewlydisposedtosee ethnic ratherthanLeft-Rightconflict. Brass'sthesisthatthemotivationsofthoseimplicatedin"ethnicviolence"maybe morecomplexthansimplehatredforanout-groupreceivessubstantialsupportinthe extendedcase studiesunderreview.Severaloftheseaccountsconveythesensethat on theground,whatis describedas ethnicviolencelooksverymuchlikegangvio- lencewithnonecessaryethnicdimension.Indeed,basedonthesestudies,onemight conjecturethata necessaryconditionforsustained"ethnicviolence"is theavailabil-

ityofthugs(inmostcasesyoungmenwhoareill-educated,unemployedorunderem-

ployed,andfromsmalltowns)whocanbe mobilizedbynationalistideologues,who themselves,universityeducated,wouldshyawayfromkillingtheirneighborswith machetes.Thesecase studiesdo notexaminein minutedetailtherecruitmentpat- ternsofnationalistorganizations,andthereis noliteraturecomparingsimilarethnic

situationswithdifferentialavailabilityofyoungwarriors.76Yetthethemeofyoung

menwhocanbe seducedbythe"high"thataccompaniescrimeandgivenhonorfor

engaginginmurderperformedforloftygoalsis relatedinsottovoceinallthebooks

underreview.77

75. Ifthestandardisordinarylanguageusage,thenwethinkBrassismistakentosuggestthatanevent

is "ethnicviolence"ifandonlyiftheparticipantsaremotivatedbya desiretohurtethnicothers.Instead, weordinarilyconsidercallingviolence"ethnic"ifeither(1) wethinktheparticipantsaremotivatedbya

generalizedanimositytotheethnicother;(2) actorsdirectingorleadingtheviolencejustifyitbysaying

thatitisonbehalfofanethnicgroup;or(3) attackersareessentiallyindifferentabouttheidentityoftheir

victimsapartfromtheirethnicity.In(2)and(3),nospeculationaboutmotivationsisnecessary.Therefore,

itwouldbeincorrecttosaythatbecausewecanneverfullyunderstandpeople'smotiveswecannever knowifsomethingis "ethnicviolence."

76. But,forsomeevidence,seePetersen1989;andLaitin1995.

77. Onthispoint,seeKatz1988;andBuford1993.

870 InternationalOrganization

Deng'sportrayaloftheviolenceatfirstblushhaslittletodo withrecruitmentand moretodo witharmiesemployedtodominatethesouthinthenameofArabization.

He reportsthatafterelitepoliticalturmoilinKhartoumin 1964,MuhammadAhmed Mahjoubbecameprimeministeranddecidedtofocushisattentiononthelow-grade insurgencyinthesouth.He gavethesouthernleadershipanultimatumtosurrender orelse,andshortlythereafterorderedthearmytoengageinmassacresofsouthern populations."DuringthenightofJuly8 inJuba,some3,000grass-thatchedhouses wereburneddownandmorethana thousandpeoplekilledbygovernmentforces."A fewdayslaterthearmyattackedan eliteweddingpartyinWau,killing76 southern elites.InAugust1965inShilluk,thearmykilled187people,allegedlyto "prevent themjoiningtherebels."All thisdrovesouthernersintothebushor exile,fearing extermination.Therulesofengagementweretotreatall villagersas guiltyifthere werea rebelattackfromwithina village.78TheSudanesearmyengagedinsystem- aticattacksonvillages,murderinganyeliteswhoshoweda southernorientation,all inthenameofbringingculturalunitytothecountry. Yettheviolencewas notsimplytheresultofarmyoppression.Traditionalsocial valuesin thesouth,Deng reveals,sustainedtheage-setsystemthatgave separate socialrolesforyoungmen.Whileeldersareexpectedtonegotiatediplomaticallyin affairsofstate,"youthwarriorage-setsfoundtheirstatusanddignityinwarfareand otheractivitiesassociatedwithphysicalvitality,courage,andresilience."79In fact, theviolentsouthernresistancewas madepossiblebytheavailabilityofyoungmen whofounda routetohonorandstatusbyengaginginguerrillawarfareagainstnorth- ernforces.Fightingwasnotlimitedtothestatemilitaryforces.Intheborderzoneof

theNgokDinka,whenthestateeffectivelyreducedtheprestigeofAbyei(theirad-

ministrativecenter),youngDinkawarriors,ledbyex-AnyaNya(thesouthernarmy) soldiers,wentintothebushandbeganterroristoperationsagainstDinkainformersto northernsecurityforces,killingmanyArabs(livingon theborderlands)as well. These skirmishesbetweentheDinka,theNuer,and borderlandArabgroupsde-

pendedupontheeasyavailabilityofyoungmenwhocouldbe mobilizedforviolent conflict. In Rwanda,as in Sudan,theburdenof theviolencefellto youngmenin the

generalpopulation.FromtheverybeginningofRwanda'sviolentcontemporaryhis-

tory,irregularyouthshaveplayeda keyrole.Forexample,thesparkofthe1959riots wastheassaultona Hutusubchief,whowas activeina Hutuparty,byyouthsofthe

RwandanNationalUnion(UNAR,thepartyoftheTutsiaristocrats),andrumorsthat he was killed.Hutubandsofyoungmenrespondedquickly,andkilledandburned Tutsihomesofall socialclasses.Theviolenceclaimed300 lives.On theeve ofthe genocide,whentheforcesrepresentingtheRPFhadinvadedthecountry,theminister ofdefensewentontheradioandaskedthepopulationto "trackdownandarrestthe infiltrators."ThislicensetokillhadimmediateeffectsintheMutararegionwhere

78. Deng1995,142-44.FearonandLaitinviewthisstrategyas partofa "spiralequilibrium,"a

consequenceofthegovernmenthavingpoorinformationaboutwhoisdoingwhatontheinsurgentside.

FearonandLaitin1996.

79. Deng1995,17.

ViolenceandEthnicIdentityConstruction871

348 Tutsiciviliansweremassacred.Noneofthevictimswas in theRPF.Eventhe predationsoftheRPF in 1994,inPrunier'sanalysis,wereperformedbythedisaf- fectedyouthwhoactedincontraventiontotheordersofRPF leaderandlaterprime

ministerofRwanda,PaulKagame.80

Woodward'sreportsonwhosustainedtheviolenceinBosnia,as partoftheevery-

dayreality,focusuponirregulars.She notesthat"theactualcharacteristicsofthe

fightingon theground

morethantheethniccolorationandhistoricalrevengethatcharacterizedpoliticians'

rhetoric.Formany,warbecamea rareopportunityforenrichment,throughtheftor smuggling,in a periodofseriouseconomicdecline."She describesthe"weekend warriors,"a lostgeneration,whorampagedacrosstheborderontheweekendswith theirKalashnikovrifles,andwentbacktotheirpoor-payingjobs inSerbiaonMon-

day.InSeptember1991,aftertheBelgradeInitiativeannouncingthenewYugoslavia

(SerbiaplusMontenegro),YugoslavPeople'sArmyreservistsfromSerbiawentona shootingspreein Tuzla,a multiethniccityin northernBosnia.Thesecross-border raidsbecameconstant.AUN armsembargoonYugoslaviaonlyservedtoactivatethe Serbiandiasporatobuyarmsforfriendsandfamilywhoformedlocalmilitias.Inthis context,manyof thefighterswereirregulars,withalmostno chainof command. Criminalsreleasedfromjails,whosignedupwiththesemilitias,weremostlikelyto

engagein plunderandrape.81Ifcriminalsbecomenationalistwarriors,thereverse processis also possible.McGarryandO'Learypointoutthatdatacollectedsubse- quenttopoliticallyorganizedcease-firesinNorthernIrelandshowa riseinnonpoliti- cal crime.Newlyconstrainedintheirnationalistviolence,thethugsmayhaveturned tocriminalviolence. In theSriLankacase,althoughKapfererdoesnottakeus downtothelevelofthe street,hedoesmentionthat"Sinhalesegangsmadeuplargelyofimpoverishedand unemployedyouthattackedTamilsintheirhousesandshops,settlingoldscoresand looting."82On theground,theethnicwaratitsearlystageswasfoughtontheSinha- lese sideby gangmembersandcriminals,probablymoreinterestedin bootyand violenceforitsownsakethaninachievinggroupgoals. Thisscenariomayhelpexplainthepuzzleofwhypublicsoftenappeartofollow

theultimatelyverycostlypathsofethnicextremismsometimeschosenbytheirlead-

ers.Perhapspublicsoftendo notfollow,atleastnotatfirst.Instead,ifelites"letthe

thugsgo," whohavemotivationsbesidesorin additionto ethnichatred,processes

beginthatleavethemoderatesinthegrouplittlechoicebuttofollowa similarpath. Byinitiatingviolenttit-for-tatsequences,thugsbringabouttheconstructionofmore antagonisticgroupidentities,makingitrationalto feartheothergroupandsee its membersas dangerousthreats.In addition,thugsviolentlypolicedissentfromthe

ethnicextremistagendawithintheirowngroups,sincedissentquestionstheirlegiti-

reflectedthesocioeconomicbasis of thesepoliticsfar

80. Prunier1995,48.

81. Woodward1995,248-65.Criminalsletoutofjail andcareeristthugsalsostaffedtheSerbparamili-

tariesinKosovo;see JamesM. Dorsey,FromSerbParamilitaries,TalesofKillingandCash,WallStreet Journal,1 September1999,A18.

82. Kapferer1988,101.

872 InternationalOrganization

macy.83Thus,onlyaftera guerillawarhasbegunareeverydayprimordialistsenti- mentstransformedintoethnicantipathiesthatcanmotivateandsustainwidespread, ongoingviolence.Eventhen,theextentofethnicantipathiesis probablyoverstated.

IdentityConstructionThroughStrategicAction"ontheGround"

The strategicinterpretationofidentityconstructionneednotfocusonMt.Olympus andtheinitiativesofelites,as arguedearlier.Itmightalsobe developedbyfocusing on strategicactionatgroundlevelbyordinaryfolk.Thereis revealingevidencein thecase studieson howethnicviolencecan spiralbecauseofpoliticalcontestation overgroupboundariesthatarenottheresultofelitemanipulation. Severaloftheauthorsofthebooksunderreviewacceptto differentdegreesthe notionthatidentitygroupsareconstructedandthereforearefluidgeographicallyand

culturally.Yettheyarelargelysilentabouttheimplicationsofthisaspectofidentity constructionforviolence.Deng,inhistreatmentoftheSudanesecivilwar,provides materialinsupportoftheorieslinkingambiguousboundariestoviolence.Territorial anomalies,Deng'sbooknicelyillustrates,mayinviteviolentconflict.Theterritorial dividebetweenthe"north"and"south"intheSudanis nota cleanone,as illustrated bythehistoryandgeographyoftheNgokDinka.ManyNgokbecameMuslimand werebilingualin Dinka andArabic,butaccordingto Deng, "theNgokhavere- maineddistinctlyDinka andin somerespectsmoreso thantheirbrethrenfarther South."84Nonetheless,theirhomeareais inthesouthernpointofthenorthernprov- inceofKordofan,as theNgokinearliertimesaffiliatedwithKordofantoseekprotec- tionagainstArabslavetraders.In theeraofnationalism,youngNgoksoughttobe

incorporatedinthesouth,andthisdesirebecameanissuethatintensifiedthenorth-

southconflict.AftertheAddisAbabaAgreementthatendedthefirstcivilwar,numer-

ousNgokwereco-optedintothenortherncamp,butoncetheyexperiencedthelow-

statuspositionsinwhichtheywerecontinuallyput,theyreturnedtotheDinkacamp, manytothesouthernarmy.Infact,severalofthesongsdemandingsouthernfreedom werewritteninArabicbyDinkaswhohadconvertedtoIslam.Ngokfailuretogeta fairdealidentifyingthemselvesas northernersdrovethemwholeheartedlyandresent-

fullyintothesoutherncamp. Territorialandculturalboundaries,iftheyaretobe maintainedcleanly,require coordination.Ifall NgokDinkassee themselvesas unambiguouslysoutherners,on theonehand,itwillbe extremelydifficultforanyoneNgoktoidentifyhimselfas a northerner.On theotherhand,iftheNgoksaredividedamongthemselves,anyone Ngokhasa broaderslateforidentity.Underconditionswheregroupshavenotcoor- dinatedon an identity,withthepossibilityof a tipin one directionor theother, in-groups(hereNgoks,whoseidentifiersmayfeargroupextinctionifthetipis in favorofa wideridentity)andout-groups(hereArabizednortherners,whosemem- bers,especiallythemarginalones,mightsee Ngokassimilationas a threattotheir

83. ForthisargumentappliedtoviolenceinYugoslavia,seeMueller1997.Kaufmannhasarguedthat

ethnicwaralmostirreversibly"hardens"ethnicidentitiesso thattheprimordialistvisionofethnicitycan become"true"inthecourseofa conflict.Kaufmann1996.

84. Deng1995,244.

ViolenceandEthnicIdentityConstruction873

privilegeor allegedpurity)can be drivenintodirectaction.Theyseekto createa culturalequilibrium,inwhichanindividual'sbeliefsthatheis reallya southerneris also perceivedas hisoptimalidentitychoice,confirmedbythecorollarychoicesof otherNgoks.Throughthismechanismofinterdependentidentitychoice,everyday primordialismcan be seenas partof a culturalequilibrium.In theNgokcase, the processleadingtotheconstructionofeverydayprimordialismcaninduceindividuals toengageinintragroupandintergroupviolence. Ambiguousculturalboundariesareas inflammatoryas territorialones.Northern militancy,inDeng'sview,ispropelledbya fearamongnorthernersthataccommoda- tionwouldexposethemas "Africans."The factofgreatphysiognomicsimilarity

withsoutherners,Dengfeels,makesnorthernersevenmoreconcernedwithuphold-

ingsocialboundariesagainstthesouth.85Furthermore,sometwomillionsoutherners

nowliveinthenorth.Someareadaptingtonorthernculture,andtheirchildrenare

goingtoArabic-languageschools.Yetsomehavejoinedthesouthernautonomymove-

mentandthusrepresenta southerninfluencewithinthenorthitself.To counteract

thispossibility,Deng reasons,theNorthernIslamicFrontcarriesthebannerof a "northernnationalism"evenmoreassiduously.As culturalboundariesblurin the

realworld,radicalnationalistsbecomemoremilitanttoprotectthehistoricallycon-

structedboundaries.86

This phenomenonis especiallytruefornorthernersof themostquestionable

Arabdescent.Forexample,intheconstitutionaldebatesof1951,theproposaltogive

special statusand protectionto the southwas defeated,and receivedstrongly negativeresponsesbydescendantsofformerslaveslivinginthenorth.Dengquotes

MansourKhalid'sanalysis:"Abd al-Tam

Sudaneseof markedlyNegroidorigin,to have been compelledto takepositions like thatin orderto out-HerodHerod."Anothernortherngroupof questionable

statusasArabs,theBaggara,whohavenotraditionslinkingthemtotheProphet,are

amongthestrongestArabchauvinists,especiallyintheirprovocationsofthesouth-

ernDinka.87

can be deemed,likeso manyother

Summary

We have arguedthatthereare twomainwaysto developtheinsightthatethnic identitiesare sociallyconstructedin thedirectionof explanationsforethnicvio- lence.88One routeviewsidentityconstructionfromtheperspectiveofindividuals'

85. Ibid.,64.

86. Ibid.,181-82.

87. Ibid.,130-31.Aninterestingexampleofblurredboundariesandtheirimplicationsforviolenceis

suggestedbyJeganathan.Jeganathan1997.OntheoutskirtsofColombo,SriLanka,Tamilsliveinexpec-

tationofethnicviolence,giventhepastrecordofperiodicpogroms.SomeTamilparentsthereforegive theirchildrenSinhalesenamesandengageinSinhaleseculturalpracticesso thattheywillnotbe identified

as Tamilsshouldriotsbreakout.Yetthisformofstrategicmanipulationblurstheboundariesbetween groupsandenragesSinhalesenationalists,whopointtosuchpracticesas evidenceofTamilperfidy.

88. We discounteda third,namely,thatbroad,secularsocialandeconomicprocessescanbe seenas

causesforethnicviolence,exceptpossiblyas necessaryconditions.

874 InternationalOrganization

actions-eithertheeliteswhoconstructantagonisticethnicidentitiesinordertomain-

tainorincreasetheirpoliticalpower,orthemasspublicswhoseindividualactions

produce,reproduce,andcontestthecontentandboundariesofethniccategories.In

thesecondroute,supra-individualdiscoursesofethnicitycontaininternal,ideational logicsthatconstructactorsandmotivateordefinetheirpossibilitiesforaction. The narrativesunderreviewgivedetailson howethnicboundariesandantago-

nismsfollowfromthepoliticalstrategiesofelitesseekingtogainpowerorunder-

minechallengers.Severalmechanismswerepositedbywhichelitesinducethemasses,

who pay an enormouscostfortheviolence,to follow.However,someevidence suggeststhatthemassesarenotdupedatall.Rather"ethnicviolence"canbe a cover forothermotivationssuchas looting,landgrabs,and personalrevenge;and the

activitiesofthugssetloosebythepoliticianscan "tiethehands"ofpublicswhoare

compelledtoseekprotectionfromtheleaderswhohaveendangeredthem.Analter-

natestorydevelopingtheconstructivistpointaboutpermeablegroupboundarieshas

non-elitesprovokingviolencetopreventboundary"crossing"ortoraisetheirin-

groupstatus.In bothof thesecases theconstructionof ethnicantagonismsis the

resultofindividualstrategicaction. Thethesisthatdiscursivelogicsexplainbehaviorshouldnotbe discarded,despite theapparentprimordialismin thepresentationof theselogicsin somecases, and

despiteobstaclesto testingsuchargumentsempiricallyacrosscases. The Sinhala

logicofexorcismandtheHutureconstructionofthecolonialmythofTutsiforeign-

nesscreatescriptsofproperorheroicactionthatinviteyoungmentoreenactthem. Storiespeopletellaboutthemselves,as withTishkov'sexamplefromKirgizia,even whencoucheddeeplyin metaphor,as withGeertz'scockfight,becomeavailable modelsforspecificbehaviors.As wehavenotedinourdiscussionofsenyandraxha inthecontextofCatalanpolitics,makingtheinternallogicofcomplex,multifaceted discoursesexplanatoryis a difficultbusiness.Still,ifthesupplyof culturallyap- provedscriptsis limited,thenin timesofsocial stressorconflictan "availability heuristic"mightwellbe inforce,makingsocietieswithscripts,suchas theSinhala

ortheKirgiz,morepronetointergroupviolence.89

Implicitinourpresentationis anassumptionthattherigiddivideinmethodologi- cal debatesbetweenculturalistandrationalistaccountscanbe bridged.Thestrategic theorieslinkingindividuals(whetherelitesor masses)to ethnicviolenceandthe discursivetheorieslinkingdiscoursestoviolentbehaviorsareallconstructivistinthe sensethattheypositthecontentandboundariesofethnicgroupsas producedand

reproducedby specificsocialprocesses.The specificationofwhattheseprocesses are,thedelineationoftheprecisemechanismsbywhichtheyleadtoethnicallybased

violence,andthetestingofthesespecificationswitha sampleof cases exhibiting

bothhighandlowviolenceremainchallengestorationalistandculturalistconstruc-

tivistsalike.

89. TverskyandKahneman1982,13.

ViolenceandEthnicIdentityConstruction875

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