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An Introduction to Ethnic Conflict



An Introduction to Ethnic Conflict

Milton J. Esman

ISBN: 978-0-745-63117-2 September 2004 Polity 200 Pages


Written by one of the world’s leading scholars in the field, this book provides an excellent introduction to ethnic conflict in the contemporary world. In ten concise chapters, Milton Esman explores the origins of ethnic pluralism and analyses the causes and manifestations of conflicts, both peaceful and violent, involving ethnic communities across the globe. He discusses the role of outsider-governments, diasporas, international agencies, and non-government organizations in provoking and managing ethnic conflicts, and appraises methods which have proven effective for their peaceful resolution. The book concludes with a look at the future of ethnic conflict and argues for the need to regulate such conflicts in an increasingly interdependent world.

Enriched by a plethora of apt examples drawn from all continents, with end of chapter summaries and a glossary of key terms, this textbook is essential reading for all students of politics, international relations and political sociology.


Chapter 1 Incidence and Scope of Ethnic Conflict.

Chapter 2 Ethnic Sentiments and Solidarities.

Chapter 3 Origins of Ethnic Pluralism.

Chapter 4 For What do they Contend?.

Chapter 5 The Contemporary State and Outsider Intervention.

Chapter 6 Patterns of Pluralism I – Domination.

Chapter 7 Patterns of Pluralism II – Power-Sharing.

Chapter 8 Patterns of Pluralism III – Integration.

Chapter 9 The Management of Ethnic Conflict.

Chapter 10 What of the Future?.

Suggested Readings.




"This is a highly knowledgeable and briskly moving text written by a scholar who has himself contributed with distinction to the literature over a number of years."

Oliver Ramsbotham, University of Bradford

"This is a wonderful book. It is the perfect introduction for undergraduates and graduate students with no background knowlege of ethnopolitics."

Zoltan Barany, University of Texas

  • Written by one of the world’s leading scholars in the area of ethnic politics and ethnic conflict.

  • In ten concise chapters, this new textbook provides a geographically and substantively comprehensive overview of the phenomena of ethnic conflict on a global scale.

  • As the only textbook on the market written for an undergraduate audience, the book explores the meaning of ethnic conflict and alerts readers to the conceptual problems associated with its interpretation, the diverse forms it may take and how it can be controlled.

  • The arguments presented in the text are enriched and enlivened by a plethora of apt examples drawn from all continents. Each chapter ends with a brief concluding section summarising the major arguments and themes.

  • The book also includes a glossary of key terms and a guide to further reading