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Democracy, Ethnic Fragmentation, and Internal Conflict: Confused Theories, Faulty Data, and the Crucial Case of Papua New Guinea

Reilly, B. (2000) Democracy, Ethnic Fragmentation, and Internal Conflict: Confused Theories, Faulty Data, and the Crucial Case of Papua New Guinea. International Security, 25 (3). pp. 162-185.

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Abstract

Two countervailing themes have dominated world politics over the past decade: the continuing spread of democratic government and the explosion of intercommunal ethnic violence around the globe. In many cases, rising levels of internal conflict, particularly ethnic conflict, have accompanied transitions from authoritarian rule to democracy. The collapse of authoritarian regimes in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia has resulted in a threefold increase in the number of democratic regimes around the world. Despite recent backsliding in a number of regions, major transitions to democracy continue to occur in pivotal states such as Indonesia, Nigeria, and Russia. At the same time, however, the world has witnessed a change in the nature of armed conflict, toward intrastate violence and ethnic conflict. Most violent conflicts today occur not between states but within them: Of the 110 major armed conflicts between 1989 and 1999, only 7 were traditional interstate conflicts. The remaining 103 took place within existing states, mostly focused around ethnic issues. Between them, these parallel processes of democratization and ethnic conflict have defined the international agenda in the post--Cold War period. They have also refocused both scholarly and policy attention on the relationship between democratic politics, ethnic group demography, and internal conflict.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: MIT Press
Copyright: President and Fellows of Harvard College
Publishers Website: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/loi/isec
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/27528
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