Nationalist Passions

Nationalist Passions

by Stuart J. Kaufman


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Nationalist and ethnic conflict can take many forms, from genocidal violence and civil war to protest movements and peaceful squabbles in democracies. Nationalist Passions poses a stark challenge to extreme rationalist understandings of political conflict. Stuart J. Kaufman elaborates a compelling theory of ethnic politics to explain why ethnic violence erupts in some contexts and how peace is maintained in others. At the core of Kaufman’s theory is an assertion that conflicts are initiated due to popular "symbolic predispositions"—biases of all kinds—and perceptions of threat.

Kaufman puts his theory to the test in a range of conflicts. He examines some highly violent episodes, among them the Muslim rebellion in the southern Philippines beginning in the 1970s; the civil war in southern Sudan that began in the 1980s; and the Rwanda genocide of 1994. Kaufman also analyzes other situations in which leaders attempted to tame the violence that nationalist passions can generate. In India, Mahatma Gandhi mobilized an overtly nonviolent movement but failed in his efforts to prevent the rise of Muslim-Hindu communal violence. In South Africa, Nelson Mandela and F. W. de Klerk ended apartheid, but not without terrible cost—more than fifteen thousand people died while the negotiations were under way. In Tanzania, however, Julius Nyerere led one of the few ethnically diverse countries in the world with almost no ethnic violence. Nationalist Passions is essential reading for policymakers, international aid workers, and all others who seek to find the best possible outcomes for future internal and interstate clashes.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501700569
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 11/06/2015
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Stuart J. Kaufman is Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware. He is the author of Modern Hatreds: The Symbolic Politics of Ethnic War (winner of the 2003 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order), also from Cornell, and coeditor of The Balance of Power in World History.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Ethnic Relations and Symbolic Politics1. Symbolic Predispositions and Ethnic Politics2. The Muslim Rebellion in the Philippines3. The North-South War in Sudan4. Ethnic War and Genocide in Rwanda5. Gandhi's Nonviolence, Communal Conflict, and the Salt March (with Michael C. Grillo)6. The End of Apartheid in South Africa7. The Symbolic Politics of Ethnic Peace in TanzaniaConclusion: Symbolic Politics—Ethnicity and BeyondNotes

What People are Saying About This

Ron Hassner

"Nationalist Passions is a beautifully written, ambitious, and insightful book on a very important topic. Stuart J. Kaufman's arguments are nuanced and display a great breadth of knowledge on the topic of ethnic conflict and on specific disputes worldwide from Gandhi's India to Mandela’s South Africa, from the Philippines to Tanzania. The scope of this book is comprehensive and bold and its lessons are far-reaching and significant."

Stephen M. Saideman

"Stuart J. Kaufman refines and extends his work on the emotional sources of ethnic conflict. In Nationalist Passions, a model of truly interdisciplinary work, Kaufman explains not just why ethnic groups fight but why most of them do not. As a result, his new book challenges rationalist approaches to ethnic conflict and thoroughly rejects ancient hatreds arguments. Consequently, it will be required reading for scholars and policy-makers as they face one of the core challenges of post-9/11 politics: how to manage or mitigate conflicts among ethnic groups."

Jack S. Levy

"Why do some ethnic groups sometimes engage in war or genocide while others remain at peace? Nationalist Passions provides a persuasive answer, and is indispensable reading for scholars, students, and policymakers interested in this important and timely question."

Omar Shahabudin McDoom

"Against the near-hegemonic dominance of rationalist and allied materialist accounts of ethno-nationalist conflicts, Stuart J. Kaufman has launched another well-honed theoretical missile, bolstered by fresh interpretations of cases as diverse as India's independence movement, Sudan's second civil war, and South Africa's exit from apartheid. In the most conceptually sophisticated incarnation of symbolic politics theory so far, Kaufman draws on social psychology, neuroscience, sociology, and political science to fuse together the roles of prejudice, threat, organization, and leadership into a convincing and cohesive theory of ethnic mobilization."

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