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The Language of the Unheard? Ethno-Political Exclusion and Ethnic Riots in Africa

Abbs, Luke (2020) 'The Language of the Unheard? Ethno-Political Exclusion and Ethnic Riots in Africa.' Journal of Global Security Studies. ISSN 2057-3189

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Ethnic riots are sporadic and localized incidents of low-intensity violence, with civilians from one ethnic group engaging in vicious attacks on a rival ethnic group. While systematic research on ethnic violence has almost exclusively focused on organized armed conflict, comparably little quantitative research has considered the causes of low-intensity ethnic violence. Building on existing case-based research on inequality and ethnic riots, this article argues that ethnic rioting can be explained by collective motivations for group violence that emerge from highly unequal local ethno-political configurations; where politically dominant groups coexist with groups that are discriminated or have recently lost political power. To test this argument, the article deploys a spatially disaggregated analysis of all African states between 1990 and 2008, combining new dyadic data capturing the location of ethnic riots with disaggregated grid-level data on ethno-political representation. I find ethnic riots are more likely to occur in discriminated group areas, in locations where a group has recently lost political representation and where such groups live in close proximity of politically dominant groups.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: ethnic riots, ethnic violence, political exclusion, Africa, spatial analysis
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2020 16:59
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2021 21:15

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