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Language, Religion, and Ethnic Civil War

Bormann, N-C; Cederman, L-E; Vogt, M; (2015) Language, Religion, and Ethnic Civil War. Journal of Conflict Resolution , 61 (4) pp. 744-771. 10.1177/0022002715600755. Green open access

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Are certain ethnic cleavages more conflict-prone than others? While only few scholars focus on the contents of ethnicity, most of those who do argue that political violence is more likely to occur along religious divisions than linguistic ones. We challenge this claim by analyzing the path from linguistic differences to ethnic civil war along three theoretical steps: (1) the perception of grievances by group members, (2) rebel mobilization, and (3) government accommodation of rebel demands. Our argument is tested with a new data set of ethnic cleavages that records multiple linguistic and religious segments for ethnic groups from 1946 to 2009. Adopting a relational perspective, we assess ethnic differences between potential challengers and the politically dominant group in each country. Our findings indicate that intrastate conflict is more likely within linguistic dyads than among religious ones. Moreover, we find no support for the thesis that Muslim groups are particularly conflict-prone.

Type: Article
Title: Language, Religion, and Ethnic Civil War
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0022002715600755
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/0022002715600755
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Civil wars, ethnic cleavages, internal armed conflict, religion, language
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10040602
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