Identity, repression, and the threat of ethnic conflict in a strong state

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Faced with repression from a strong state, one might expect minority ethnic groups to attempt to assimilate into the dominant group to make themselves seem less threatening. However, this conceptualization of threat elides its tactical components. Oppressed minority groups, even under strong states, may engage in anti-state operations in order to reduce the repression they face, and these operations may succeed with greater likelihood the more they assimilate. Anticipating this, strategic states may be more likely to preemptively raise repression in the face of assimilation in order to reduce this threat. Our model formalizes this logic, illustrating that it can be optimal for the minority group to differentiate even when doing so is strictly detrimental to mobilization. Differentiation is more likely to obtain when increased repression is more costly to the group and when the group’s anti-state operations are more capable of compelling the state to substantially reduce repression.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mele, CS; Siegel, DA

Published Date

  • October 1, 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 29 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 578 - 598

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1460-3667

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0951-6298

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0951629817710562

Citation Source

  • Scopus