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Ethnic Conflict and Multiculturalism

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There are deficiencies in a Constructivist approach to studying ethnic conflicts, as this approach does not provide a satisfactory explanation for most conflicts in the past. Moving away from these simplistic assessments of ethnic conflict, Suny suggests that a combination of both emotion and reason are at work in any given instance of conflict. The emotions that instigate conflict include fear, resentment, hate, and anger. But it is debatable whether there is sufficient justification for these emotions and whether they are backed by historical fact (Suny, 2004). The Balkan region had seen some of the turbulent episodes of war and strife dating back to ancient history.

Twentieth-century Germany is another relevant case study, as the nation had gone through three distinct phases in this period. Similarly, a few South East Asian nations have composite ethnic, religious and cultural identities. By carefully studying the internal dynamics of conflicts in these examples, key insights into the nature of ethnic conflict could be gained. The collapse of Yugoslavia into smaller states is a significant event following the collapse of the Soviet Union. To understand the complexities involved in this outcome, we have to grasp the history of the region going back a millennium.

The middle centuries of first millennia AD was a period of continuous change in Europe. There were widespread animosities between various tribes in their quest for geographic locations rich in natural resources. At this period of time, around 6th and 7th century AD, no one tribe could claim nativity over a piece of land as there was constant displacement from and conquering of new lands. It was then that “ the Slavonic tribes, mixed with the Avars, made their appearance in the Balkans, which was sparsely inhabited by many different tribes of the Illyrians, the Dardanians, the Thracians and probably others whose names have fallen into oblivion” (Almond, 1998).

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