STRUCTURES OF ETHNIC CONFLICT: REVOLUTION VERSUS SECESSION IN RWANDA AND SRI LANKA

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [Georgetown University]On: 25 August 2013, At: 05:17Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH,UK</p><p>Terrorism and Political ViolencePublication details, including instructions forauthors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/ftpv20</p><p>STRUCTURES OF ETHNICCONFLICT: REVOLUTIONVERSUS SECESSION IN RWANDAAND SRI LANKAT. David Mason aa University of North TexasPublished online: 04 Jun 2010.</p><p>To cite this article: T. David Mason (2003) STRUCTURES OF ETHNIC CONFLICT:REVOLUTION VERSUS SECESSION IN RWANDA AND SRI LANKA, Terrorism and PoliticalViolence, 15:4, 83-113, DOI: 10.1080/09546550390450492</p><p>To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09546550390450492</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all theinformation (the Content) contained in the publications on our platform.However, Taylor &amp; Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness,or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and viewsexpressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, andare not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of theContent should not be relied upon and should be independently verified withprimary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for anylosses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages,and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly orindirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of theContent.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes.Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan,</p></li><li><p>sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone isexpressly forbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use can be found athttp://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [G</p><p>eorg</p><p>etown</p><p> Univ</p><p>ersity</p><p>] at 0</p><p>5:17 2</p><p>5 Aug</p><p>ust 2</p><p>013 </p></li><li><p>STRUCTURES OF ETHNIC CONFLICT:REVOLUTION VERSUS SECESSION IN RWANDA</p><p>AND SRI LANKA</p><p>T. David MasonUniversity of North Texas</p><p>A structural framework of ethnic politics is presented, contrastingthe patterns of inter-ethnic relations found in ranked versusunranked systems of ethnic stratification. This framework allowsus to account for why ethnic conflict erupts in some cases but notothers, and why that conflict takes the form of ethnic revolutionin some situations and ethnic separatism in others. This frame-works explanatory utility is illustrated with a comparison ofcase studies: why ethnic separatism emerged in Sri Lanka whileethnic revolution occurred in Rwanda.</p><p>The end of the Cold War has heightened public awareness of theproliferation of ethnically based conflicts within and between nations.No region of the world nor any type of political systemfromdemocracies to dictatorshipshas been immune to the bloody con-sequences of ethnic strife. The proliferation of research that seeksto explain and predict this phenomenon has ranged from grievancebased models to structural theories to rational choice explanations.This paper can by no means resolve the theoretical and empiricalissues that have emerged in this body of research. I will attempt todistill from the last three decades of research a structural frameworkof ethnic politics that, hopefully, will allow us to account for whyethnic conflict erupts in some cases but not others, and why thatconflict takes the form of ethnic revolution in some situations andethnic separatism in others. This framework can inform the analysisof individual case studies, and I illustrate that here by applying thisframework to the analysis of ethnic revolution in Rwanda and ethnicseparatism in Sri Lanka. It can also inform systematic analysis ofempirical data on ethnic conflict.1</p><p>The analysis begins with a discussion of two major structuralpatterns of inter-ethnic relations: ranked versus unranked systems ofethnic stratification. In ranked systems, the different ethnic groupsare intermixed geographically, and economic status coincides with</p><p>Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol.15, No.4 (Winter 2003), pp.83113Copyright Taylor and Francis, Inc., 2003DOI: 10.1080/09546550390450492</p><p>83</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [G</p><p>eorg</p><p>etown</p><p> Univ</p><p>ersity</p><p>] at 0</p><p>5:17 2</p><p>5 Aug</p><p>ust 2</p><p>013 </p></li><li><p>ethnicity. There is one dominant group and one subordinate group,and interactions between groups takes on the character of apatron-client system. In an unranked system, ethnic groups live inrelatively distinct territorial enclaves. Each ethnic group has its ownseparate system of social stratification. Interactions between thegroups more nearly approximate international relations than thepatron-client relations typical of ranked systems. Variations inthe structure of inter-ethnic relations in a nation affect the way thebenefits of development are distributed between ethnic groups. Assuch, the pattern of inter-ethnic relationsranked versusunrankedaffects the nature and the extent of ethnically basedgrievances that arise in a society. For those grievances to give riseto collective action, however, members of the aggrieved ethnic groupmust be mobilized for collective action. This requires that we accountfor the ways in which leaders emerge within ethnic groups and useshared ethnic identity to overcome free-rider tendencies among therank-and-file and mobilize them for ethnically based collectiveaction. Finally, I explore the conditions that determine whetherethnic collective action will assume violent forms. Violent conflictposes severe additional risks to participants in collective action. Assuch, it intensifies free-rider temptations. In order for a theory toexplain ethnic violence, I must specify the conditions under which arational individual will participate in such actions despite the risksposed by violent conflict. I will apply these principles in the analysisof two cases: the conflict between the Sinhalese and Tamils in SriLanka and the HutuTutsi violence in Rwanda. The Sri Lankanconflict represents an example of ethnic violence in an unrankedsystem of ethnic stratification, where the eventual goal of the Tamilrebels was secession. Rwanda represents an example of ethnicviolence in a ranked system of ethnic stratification, where thegoal of the Tutsi rebels was the revolutionary overthrow of theHutu-dominated regime.</p><p>STRUCTURAL SOURCES OF ETHNIC CONFLICT: RANKEDVS. UNRANKED SYSTEMS</p><p>The structure of inter-ethnic relationswhether ethnic groups arearrayed in a ranked or unranked system of ethnic stratificationplaysa significant role in determining the nature of the grievances aroundwhich ethnic mobilization can occur, the likelihood of successfulmobilization for collective action ever occurring, and the extent andforms that ethnic conflict will assume, should it erupt.</p><p>84 T. David Mason</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [G</p><p>eorg</p><p>etown</p><p> Univ</p><p>ersity</p><p>] at 0</p><p>5:17 2</p><p>5 Aug</p><p>ust 2</p><p>013 </p></li><li><p>Ranked Systems: Cultural Division of Labor</p><p>Vertically integrated or ranked systems of inter-ethnic relationshave been characterized by Michael Hechter and others as systemsof internal colonialism marked by a cultural division of labor. Thecultural division of labor refers to a pattern of structural discrimi-nation in which individuals are assigned to specific types of occupa-tions and other social roles on the basis of observable cultural traitsor markers.2 Social stratification is synonymous with ethnic identityin the sense that the social structure is characterized by one ethnicgroup being subordinate to the other. Once ensconced in power,the dominant group seeks to institutionalize its advantages by enact-ing policies that reinforce the existing stratification system, preservingfor its members a monopoly on high status roles and confining thesubordinate group to low status roles. This can be achieved by enact-ing discriminatory laws or by adopting policies that provide differ-ential access to status-confirming institutions, such as education,the military, the civil service, land ownership, or access to credit.3 Ineffect, ethnicity and class coincide in a ranked system of ethnic stra-tification.4 As a result, ethnic identity is reinforced and ethnicsolidarity is intensified because ones ethnic identity cannot bedivorced from ones economic status and political interests.5 Exam-ples of ranked systems would be South Africa under apartheidand the southern states of the United States prior to the civil rightsmovement.</p><p>The different ethnic groups in a ranked system typically areintermixed geographically so that interaction between members ofthe different groups is a routine feature of everyday social life.Indeed, such interaction is arguably necessary since the two groupsconstitute complementary segments of a single social and economicsystem. Interactions between the groups take on the character ofclientelist exchanges, with members of the subordinate groupreceiving subsistence guarantees from the dominant group inexchange for services, loyalty, deference, as well as a share of thegoods and services the subordinate group produces.6 As with anyclientelist system, the groups are interdependent, but the interdepen-dence is highly asymmetric, with members of the subordinate groupbeing far more dependent on the patronage of the dominant groupthan the latter is on the support and deference of any one memberof the subordinate group. Relations between groups are governedby clearly recognized norms of subordinate and superordinate status,with the behavioral norms governing inter-group interactions involv-ing ritualized modes of expressing the subordinate groups deference</p><p>Structures of Ethnic Conflict 85</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [G</p><p>eorg</p><p>etown</p><p> Univ</p><p>ersity</p><p>] at 0</p><p>5:17 2</p><p>5 Aug</p><p>ust 2</p><p>013 </p></li><li><p>and the superordinate groups dominance. As such, inter-groupinteractions approximate the etiquette of a caste system.7</p><p>Social stability in a ranked system is preserved by the dominantgroups manipulation of access to subsistence goods and itsmonopoly over the coercive machinery of the state. The dominantgroup can manipulate subsistence guarantees in such a way as todeter members of the subordinate group from challenging the existingsystem of stratification. The dominant group also uses its coercivemonopoly to intimidate members of the subordinate group intorefraining from any organized challenge to the status quo. Whenchallenges do arise, the dominant group quickly represses them. Thus,ranked systems of ethnic stratification persist in many nations despitethe obvious and severe inequalities inherent in them: to challenge thesystem is to jeopardize ones subsistence security and confront theoverwhelming coercive monopoly of the dominant group.</p><p>The economic and social changes that accompany modernizationand social development can disrupt the stability of a ranked systemand make it possible for challengers to arise from the subordinategroup. Industrialization, urbanization, the expansion of trade andcommerce all present subordinate groups with new opportunitiesfor economic security and advancement that are not controlled bythe dominant group. Those same changes often disrupt traditionalpatterns of clientelist exchange that had kept subordinate groupsdependent on the dominant group and therefore reluctant to chal-lenge the ranked system of stratification. Their new found autonomymakes members of the subordinate group less reluctant to challengethe inequities of the ranked system. New income flows give themmore resources to invest in ethnic collective action that challengesthe ranked order.</p><p>Unranked Systems: Competitive Ethnicity</p><p>The alternative to the ranked system is the unranked or horizon-tally integrated system of ethnic stratification. Where the culturaldivision of labor has broken down or never existed in the first place,a pattern of competitive ethnicity can emerge among ethnic groups.Groups find themselves in competition with each other, not just overeconomic resources but over control of the institutions of the state aswell, including the military, the chief executive office, and even civilservice positions. Unlike ranked systems, ethnic groups in unrankedsystems compete as relative equals, unrestrained by a cultural divisionof labor that would assign one group, on an ascriptive basis, anoverwhelming advantage over the others in this competition.</p><p>86 T. David Mason</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [G</p><p>eorg</p><p>etown</p><p> Univ</p><p>ersity</p><p>] at 0</p><p>5:17 2</p><p>5 Aug</p><p>ust 2</p><p>013 </p></li><li><p>One defining characteristic of an unranked system is that ethnicgroups are not intermixed geographically but instead live in relativelydistinct territorial enclaves. In such circumstances, each ethnic grouphas its own stratification system internal to the group and inde-pendent of all other ethnic groups in the nation. Within each ethnicgroup, there are opportunities for upward mobility, and the exploi-tation of these opportunities does not necessarily bring members ofthat group into conflict with other groups. Social status is notsynonymous with ethnicity in unranked systems. The different groupscoexist as parallel social hierarchies, with each group approximatingan incipient whole society. Indeed, in many cases unranked systemsare composed of groups that were formerly constituted as more orless autonomous whole societies.8 Accordingly, inter-group interac-tions are typically less frequent, less pervasive, and less essential toeach groups well being, as compared to groups in a ranked system.Donald Horowitz goes so far as to characterize inter-group relationsin unranked systems as more nearly approximating internationalrelations than the clientelist dependency typical of ranked systems.9</p><p>Because the groups are relatively autonomous, an unranked systemcan achieve a certain equilibrium whereby competition betweengroups does not necessarily escalate into ethnic violence. As long asethnic competition is over the distribution of economic resources,opportunities, and benefit flows, ethnic competition need not escalateinto ethnic violence. While one groups winning a round of the com-petition over benefits may preclude other groups from enjoying thosebenefits, it does not necessarily threaten the status hierarchy withinthose other groups or the opportunities for social mobility formembers of those groups within their own status hierarchy.</p><p>Rapid social changebroughtonbymodernization, industrialization,and=or decolonization can disrupt this equilibrium and intensifycompetition between unranked ethnic groups. Tensions often ariseover questions of the appropriate distribution of the new incomeflows and wealth-generating opportunities, or over the appropriatedistribution of political power in a newly created political regime.Control of the state itself can become the object of inter-ethnic com-petition, with each group seeking hegemony over its institutions.10</p><p>Each group f...</p></li></ul>