Identifying Potential Ethnic Conflict

Application of a Process Model

by Thomas S. Szayna


Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
zip file 1 MB

The file(s) provided above are ZIP-formatted archives, which most modern systems can natively unpack. If your computer does not unpack the archive when you double-click it, you may need to use a separate decompression program such as UnZip.


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback339 pages $35.00 $28.00 20% Web Discount

Intrastate communitarian strife, often dubbed ethnic conflict, has gained much attention in the aftermath of the Cold War. Certainly, intrastate conflict has been by far the dominant form of strife in the world in the 1990s. This report outlines a model for anticipating the occurrence of communitarian and ethnic conflict. The model is not a mechanistic tool, but a process-based heuristic device with a threefold purpose: (1) to orderthe analyst's thinking about the logic and dynamics of potential ethnically based violence and to aid in defining the information-collection requirements of such an analysis; (2) to provide a general conceptual framework about how ethnic grievances form and group mobilization occurs and how these could lead to violence under certain conditions; and (3) to assist the intelligence community with the long-range assessment of possible ethnic strife. The theoretical model explains how the potential for strife should be understood; how the potential for strife is transformed, through mobilization, into a likelihood of strife; and how extant state capacities interact through a process of strategic bargaining withmobilized groups to produce, under certain conditions, varying degrees of strife. Use of the model is demonstrated through its application to four case studies, two retrospective (Yugoslavia and South Africa) and two prospective (Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia).

Table of Contents

  • Preface

  • Figures

  • Tables

  • Acknowledgements


  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    The Process Model for Anticipating Ethnic Conflict

  • Chapter Three

    The Yugoslav Retrospective Case

  • Annex: Demographic Characteristics of Yugoslavia in the Late 1980s

  • Chapter Four

    The South African Retrospective Case

  • Annex: Demographic Characteristics of South Africa in the Late 1980s

  • Chapter Five

    The Ethiopian Prospective Case

  • Annex: Demographic Characteristics of Ethiopia in 1997-1998

  • Chapter Six

    The Saudi Arabian Prospective Case

  • Annex: Demographic Characteristics of Saudi Arabia in 1997-1998

  • Chapter Seven

    Final Observations

  • Appendix

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND's Arroyo Center division.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.