Free Custom «How Can Ethnic Conflicts Be Avoided?» Essay Sample
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Modern humanity is a complex ethnic system, which includes several thousands of different ethnic communities (nations, nationalities, tribes, ethnic groups, etc.). At the same time, they all differ from each other in both their number and the level of development. The unevenness of socio-economic, ethnic, and demographic processes in the evolution of the peoples of the world has its own way reflected in the global political map. Ethnic conflicts, formed in the geopolitical space, do not represent any unique phenomena. All of them have the analogs in the history and in the modern world. Therefore, it allows them to predict their evolution and use the most effective methods of resolution. Deep and sharp social and political transformations in any society are always accompanied by an aggravation of the political situation and the escalation of social contradictions. In many cases, it can lead to interethnic issues. Therefore, the best way of its elimination remains predicting.
Interethnic Conflict as a Social and Political Phenomenon
Society, being a dynamic system, is a social organism that cannot be in a static state (immutability). In the process of its functioning and development, it is constantly changing. The question is only the degree of these changes over a certain period and the direction of these shifts. Deep and sharp social and political transformations in any society are always accompanied by the aggravation of the political situation, the escalation of social contradictions, the fall of the spiritual and moral state of community, and the growth of passions and ambitions in the struggle for political power. Such conditions of the political system are manifested, among other things, in the form of numerous conflicts in various spheres of society. The sphere of inter-ethnic (interethnic) relations is not an exception (Coakley, 2015). A conflict as a social phenomenon is an inevitable issue in the dynamically developing social systems. It takes place where the interests of various social forces collide.
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Proceeding from the fact that ethnos (peoples) are the essence of many large social groups, they are subject to the laws of social interactions. Hence, interethnic conflicts can be attributed to social clashes with a good reason. However, they have their own specifics. The fact is that one of the most important reasons for contradictions there is ethnic identity, including the differences in self-identification, the perception of the world, understanding of the surrounding reality, and the nature of the inclusion of native and other ethnic communities (Bilali, Celik, & Ok, 2014). An interethnic conflict is a form of intergroup clashes, in which people with opposite interests differ in ethnicity.
Ways of Regulating Ethnic Conflicts
An ethnic clash is caused by the presence of ethnic disparities. Thusly, the settlement of such conflicts requires finding another, bargain and adequate balance of commonly fulfilling interests for every single clashing group. To achieve this harmony, three mandatory conditions must be met. First, each of the parties must recognize the existence of the conflicting situation. Thus, each opponent view is recognized as such one that deserves to exist. However, it does not mean the recognition of the fairness of their claims. Settling the conflict is impossible and useless if one of the parties declares that their opponent thought should not be existing, and their position is devoid of any grounds. Secondly, an indispensable circumstance in the conflict resolution is the degree of organizing the conflicting sides. It means the better they are organized the easier it is to reach an agreement and achieve the fulfillment of the contract. In the article, Dasgupta mentions (2009) that “ethnic and religious communities often develop their own support institutions which largely, or even entirely, exclude other communities” (p. 751). On the contrary, the diffuse nature of interests and their vagueness makes it very difficult to resolve the conflicting situation. According to Swee (2015), “partitions do not resolve the underlying ethnic rivalry or prevent future conflict because it precludes interethnic cooperation and, if homogenization is incomplete, ethnic minorities may face significant repression” (p. 2). Third, the clashing sides must adopt the firmly established rules of the game, under which the negotiation process is only possible. These regulations must provide equal opportunities for each of them, i.e. to give a compromise in their relationship.
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The last prerequisite for the settlement virtually all existing ethnic conflicts is absent since the party seeking secession is already being in an unequal position in advance of the side representing the existing state. The initial equality of opportunities can exist in political or economic clashes because the conflicting parties there are being equal.
Although the development of ethnic conflicts there are many similar or same-type processes; in each of them, people participate with their own ideas, beliefs, passions, and behavior stereotypes. The atmosphere of strong tension leads to the fact that people’s conduct often does not succumb to logical analysis as it is not grounded on the common sense. Therefore, the probability of finding a solution to the conflict problem, which would fully satisfy the conflicting parties, is very small. According to Wolff (2007), “years pass by before a settlement can be agreed upon by all the relevant parties, years that are often characterized by ups and downs in the level of violence and failed and partially successful attempts to settle a given conflict” (p. 131). At best, the clashing sides accept a compromise, which, without resolving the issue, finally, translates it into the latent state. At the same time, there are no guarantees that the next generations of conflicting ethnic communities will be satisfied with such a decision and not start an open conflict.
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Special rules exist in a negotiation process. In order to succeed, the pragmatic debates are needed, which lie in dividing the global goal into the series of successive tasks. Usually, the parties are ready to conclude agreements on vital needs, about which the truth is established. Then, they move on to the most relevant economic and social issues. Political matters, especially those ones of symbolic significance, are postponed and decided in the last turn. If it is clear that currently it is impossible to solve them, then the tactics of the so-called deferred decisions are used. There are the times when the position of leaders prevents the transfer of the conflict into the stage of negotiation (Henderson, 2008). Debates should be conducted in such a way that each side aspires to find satisfactory moves not only for themselves but also for the partner. As conflictologists say, it is necessary to change a win-lose model to a win-win one. Each step in the negotiation process should be documented.
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Participation in debates of mediators is considered useful. In especially difficult situations, the role of representatives of international organizations gives legitimacy to agreements. The conflict resolution is always a complex process bordering on art. It is much more important not to allow the development of events leading to clashes. The sum of efforts in this direction is defined as the prevention of struggles. In the process of their regulation, ethnic sociologists and political scientists act as the experts to identify and test hypotheses about the causes of a clash, as well as assess the driving forces and the mass participation of groups in one or another scenario, and assess the consequences of decisions.
The study of interethnic conflicts in various countries of the world makes it possible to propose the system for their settlement. It involves the combination of institutional and instrumental approaches. The institutional concept implies the creation of the network of organizations as the special infrastructure for the prevention and resolution of internal conflicts. It should include institutions at the national, regional, and global levels (Boone, 2017). The instrumental perspective consists in the combination of concrete measures as the instruments of regulatory influence on the interethnic clash. Among them, there are tactical, operational, and strategic solutions.
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Tactical resolutions are aimed at regulating the conflicts through power, including the economic pressure on its participants or by establishing a negotiating course. Operational decisions are associated with one-off actions targeted at limiting the proliferation of issues (disarming militants, disengaging warring parties, and strengthening the protection of vital facilities) or elimination of the consequences of conflicts (arranging refugees, restoring communications, punishing organizers, etc.). Strategic solutions are focused on the prevention of crises in interethnic relations based on the early creation of legal, political, economic and socio-psychological levels of painless resolution of problems.
At the turning and crisis era, the old ethnic hierarchy collapses, and the weakening of the positions of dominant groups allows minority communities and ethnic groups seeking the changes in their status, receiving various preferences in the sphere of culture, and accessing resources and power. Moreover, ethnic elites often try to force these processes under the slogan of restoring justice. The expression of these demands was, first of all, related to the national humanitarian intelligent communities. They have not only contributed to giving ethnic claims to state guarantees for preserving and developing the cultural specifics of ethnic groups in a logical and strictly defined form (via national programs, etc.). They were as well the main organizer of ethnopolitical organizations and movements called to implement the programs put forward, including the ethnopolitical mobilization. Each clash has many causes. The significant reasons for this one are some differences in values and perceptions, the interdependence of tasks and limited resources that need to be divided, the differences in goals and the educational levels, as well as behavior and poor communication. Thus, it is better to prevent conflicts, changing their own attitude to the problem situation and behavior, as well, accordingly, influencing the conduct and psyche of the opponent.
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