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Theories of Ethnic and Sectarian Violence

Aug 17, 2007
The United Nations has accepted the fact the world is a more dangerous place during the past Cold War. The proliferation of nuclear materials,and biological, and chemical weapons in the hands of antagonistic groups seeking self-determination could be dangerous for the international community goal of world peace and security.

There are other problems resulting from sectarian violence, such as a breakdown of the rule of law,thus weakening the nation-state. Sectarian leaders use exploiting and manipulating claims of ethnicity, inflaming the conflict and bolster national pride.

Sectarian conflict are directly correlated to refugees, economic decline due to the war torn cities, and the militarization of the armed parties to the conflict.

The Civil society institutions break down, resulting in psychological, social problems for the population, and the destruction of the infrastructure and environmental problems place the population health at risk.

Scholars and policy makers, calling themselves ethno- political specialists, have placed sectarian and ethnicity within a political context for analysis. When studying conflict theories there are three categories: behavior, stuctural and gentics.

Konrad Lorenz, believed that humans differ from the lower animals in their fighting habits primarily because humans have no natural weapons and have to use their superior intelligence to create destruction weapons.

The behaviorist believe that the root cause of conflict lies in human nature and human behavior.

Sigmund Freud, thought that conflict was inherent in man`s nature.

Charles Darwin, was a pessimist and he asserted that man`s destuctive hereditary traits were fixed.

Thomas Hobbes, in his political writings conflict is problematic for society because it is a jungle. Humankind is in a perpetual power struggle that lead men to war with every other man. The life of solitary, poor, nasty , brutish and short.

Henry Kissinger, argued that conflict is part of the international system and can only be met with countervailing power when challenged.

John Calvin,`s theology preached that conflict is inherent in man because of the original sin. According to Calvin, man was cast out of the Garden of Eden because sin was in conflict with God`s rule.

Another group of conflict theorists focus their study on markets and and less on inequalities in the market place.

Charles Cozic, says there are two reason why dominant culture groups react violently. One of the primary reasons is because the belief other groups are not deserving. The secondary reason is due to the build up of alliances through institutional structures by the dominant group to protect their interst.

John Burton, asserts that social identity theory helps us to understand the behavior of those whose identity is perceived to be threatened and whose behavior might otherwise seem irrational.

In conclusion, conflict theory try to help us understand human behavior and man aggressive tendencies.
About the Author
Professor Leon Newton is an author, and columnist. He is the author of the book, Terrorism 101: A Library Reference and Selected Bibliography. http://www.outskirtspress.com/terrorism101
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