November 4, 2022
Fearon and Laitin (2000) identify different different strategic logics:
Electoral logic: politicians/parties interested in winning office.
Power consolidation: elites have specific policy goals (group dominance, non-ethnic policy)
Before Wilmington Riot, similar events took place in 1870s:
Epperly et al (2020) examine whether racial violence was used for power consolidation more broadly in the US:
White Southern elites were interested in either or both policy goals
violence is strategically useful to…
Different forms of violence available
If lynching served as a form of power consolidation, then
Comparing counties within the same former slave states with
Does lynching follow proximity to election? Success of bi-racial parties?
before Jim Crow (black lines)
during Jim Crow (gray lines), flat… no electoral logic
Other scholars find that…
Some racial violence may have been about power-consolidation:
All elite manipulation explanations for violence must answer…
One answer is that non-elites also have strategic reasons for participating in ethnic violence:
Posen (1993) explains ethnic conflict as a result of a security dilemma that arises between ethnic groups.
security dilemma: a strategic logic for conflict escalation in international relations:
This is particularly true when…
ethnic security dilemma:
In this logic…
Posen’s argument may be simplistic (assumes unified ethnic groups) but is there evidence for strategic participation in violence driven by security?
Alexandra Scacco investigates ethnic (Christian-Muslim) riots in Nigeria: who participates in riots?
If rational pursuit of personal security drives participation in riots we should expect:
Surveying people living in neighborhoods affected by riots…
Once violence starts, strategic security concerns may lead ordinary people to participate.
Ordinary people may also use ethnic violence to improve their economic position. We would expect this to happen when people in different ethnic groups compete over finite economic resources:
…violence can be used to displace or beat out ethnic economic competitors
Becker and Pascali investigate the economic competition logic for ethnic violence as it applies to Jews in Early Modern Europe.
Economic Competition between Jews and Christians changed after the Reformation:
If economic competition drives conflict: