The Deadly Ethnic Riot / Edition 1

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Donald L. Horowitz's comprehensive consideration of the structure and dynamics of ethnic violence is the first full-scale, comparative study of what the author terms the deadly ethnic riot—an intense, sudden, lethal attack by civilian members of one ethnic group on civilian members of another ethnic group. Serious, frequent, and destabilizing, these events result in large numbers of casualties. Horowitz examines approximately 150 such riots in about fifty countries, mainly in Asia, Africa, and the former Soviet Union, as well as fifty control cases. With its deep and thorough scholarship, incisive analysis, and profound insights, The Deadly Ethnic Riot will become the definitive work on its subject.

Furious and sadistic, the riot is nevertheless directed against a precisely specified class of targets and conducted with considerable circumspection. Horowitz scrutinizes target choices, participants and organization, the timing and supporting conditions for the violence, the nature of the events that precede the riot, the prevalence of atrocities during the violence, the location and diffusion of riots, and the aims and effects of riot behavior. He finds that the deadly ethnic riot is a highly patterned but emotional event that tends to occur during times of political uncertainty. He also discusses the crucial role of rumor in triggering riots, the surprisingly limited role of deliberate organization, and the striking lack of remorse exhibited by participants.

Horowitz writes clearly and eloquently without compromising the complexity of his subject. With impressive analytical skill, he takes up the important challenge of explaining phenomena that are at once passionate and calculative.

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Editorial Reviews

This magisterial yet stimulating study is marked by the comprehensiveness of its empirical data, the author's keen analytic sensibility, and his gift for the telling phrase. The Deadly Ethnic Riot is that rare combination of theoretical analysis and practical advice. It not only signals a breakthrough in our understanding of the morphology and dynamics of ethnic riots but offers eminently useful strategies for containing these deadly events.
Washington Post Book World
Horowitz's book is comprehensive, illuminating, unprecedented in scope and absolutely fascinating. It may be just the thing for realists--yes, you know them as pessimists--who are looking for some chilly truths about the sphinx that has haunted the century past and may yet haunt the century to come.
Stephen M. Saideman
Makes an important contribution to our understanding of ethnic conflict [and] will be a source of testable hypotheses for years to come.
American Political Science Review
Washington Post Book World
Horowitz's book is comprehensive, illuminating, unprecedented in scope and absolutely fascinating. It may be just the thing for realists—yes, you know them as pessimists—who are looking for some chilly truths about the sphinx that has haunted the century past and may yet haunt the century to come.
Library Journal
Horowitz (law and political science, Duke Univ.; Ethnic Groups in Conflict) defines his subject as "an intense, sudden.... lethal attack by civilian members of one ethnic group on civilian members of another." The riot is both deliberately planned and consistently patterned, an important finding based on exhaustive sources, cross-national comparisons, and segmented analyses. The progression moves from a state of underlying "antipathy" of one group toward another, through the perception of collective threat, to a culmination in murderous violence. The timing and scope of the riot depend on the attackers' sense of "uncertainty, impunity, and justification." Thus, riots are more likely when the relative power of the aggressors and their target is in flux, rumor is rife, authorities inadvertently or deliberately offer rioters a "green light," and killing restores "justice." The groups and circumstances studied vary from episodic U.S. lynching to endemic sectarian conflict in South Asia. This definitive work is recommended for all academic and larger public libraries.--Zachary T. Irwin, Pennsylvania State Univ., Erie Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520236424
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 605
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald L. Horowitz is the James B. Duke Professor of Law and Political Science at Duke University. He is the author of, among other books, Ethnic Groups in Conflict (California, 2001) and A Democratic South Africa? Constitutional Engineering in a Divided Society (California, 1991), which won the Ralph Bunche Prize of the American Political Science Association.

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Table of Contents

A Note on Place Names

1. Say It with Murder
2. Ethnic Boundaries, Riot Boundaries
3. The Riot Episode
4. Selective Targeting
5. Target-Group Characteristics
6. An Economy of Antipathy: Target Selection and the Imperatives of Violence
7. Organizers and Participants
8. The Occasions for Violence
9. The Social Environment for Killing
10. Location, Diffusion, and Recurrence
11. Aims, Effects, and Functions
12. Violence and Quiescence
13. The Calculus of Passion


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