October 3, 2018

Ethnic Violence


1. What is ethnic violence?

  • Go over the definition

2. Optional: Fryer study

3. Causes of ethnic violence


Statistical Discrimination

statistical discrimination:

inequality that exists between demographic groups even though economic agents (consumers, workers, employers, etc.) are rational and non-prejudiced. Discrimination can be "rational" if individual attributes are hard to observe (e.g. propensity toward crime) while group membership is observable and different groups have different behaviors on average.

Statistical Discrimination

\[Racial Disparity = Racial Animus + StatisticalDiscrimination\] \[MoreDrugSearches = RacialProfiling + MoreDrugPossession\]

Fryer Study:

Finds evidence that racial disparity in shootings is due to statistical discrimination

Is this relevant to question of "racial violence"?

Ethnic Violence


ethnic violence:

violence perpetrated across or within ethnic lines, in which at least one party is not a state (or a representative of a state), and in which putative ethnic differences or similarities are coded—by perpetrators, targets, influential third parties, or analysts—as having been integral rather than incidental to the violence, that is, in which the violence is coded as having been meaningfully oriented in some way to the ethnicity of the target (due to membership in shared or different groups)

What patterns of violence are ethnic?

Ethnic Violence: Targeting

Targeting across ethnic lines not sufficient

Targeting across ethnic lines not necessary

  • intra-ethnic violence still ethnic

Ethnic Violence: Targeting

Targeting collective or selective

Ethnic Motive not necessary

  • statistical discrimination still "ethnic"

Ethnic Violence: Frequency

Relative frequency of victimization relevant, but not sufficient

Ethnic Violence: Technique

Language/symbols of ethnicity used

Dates/locations are symbolic for ethnic groups

Ethnic Violence: Perception

Not part of "pattern", but:

Intense ethnic/racial boundaries guide interpretation

Ethnic politics create incentive to interpret

Who has power to provide interpretations?


How does violence with complex motives become "ethnic"?

What is consequence of violent incident becoming "ethnic"?

Why does ethnic violence happen?

1984 Delhi Riots


Political Conflict in state of Punjab

Rise of Sikh Nationalists

Amritsar and Operation Blue Star

Precipitating Event

Assassination of Indira Gandhi by Sikh Bodyguards

Widespread killing of Sikhs in Delhi

Obviously Ethnic?


What is this violence about?

In Sultanpuri

  • Intra-party factional dispute?
  • Free reign given to criminals?
  • Conflict between two caste groups?
  • Opportunistic violence (looting, settling scores)?
  • Ethnic violence against Sikhs?

What caused it?