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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26301

Title: Violent Conflict and Social Capital in Ethnically-polarized Developing Countries
Authors: Miedema, Theresa
Advisor: Trebilcock, Michael
Department: Law
Keywords: social capital
ethnic conflict
development
law
peace process
Issue Date: 18-Feb-2011
Abstract: This dissertation explores the problem of violent ethnic conflict in ethnically polarized developing countries using the concept of social capital. Ethnically polarized developing countries typically have high levels of intra-ethnic social capital (social capital existing within groups) but low levels of inter-ethnic social capital (social capital existing between groups). Violent conflict can be averted by cultivating higher levels of inter-ethnic social capital. High levels of inter-ethnic social capital create incentives for elites to adopt moderate strategies. A civic compact emerges when the general population internalizes the norms of inter-ethnic social capital (the rule of law; the right to participation; and the right to continued physical and cultural existence). The civic compact is associated with a general expectation that elites will not pursue extra-institutional strategies such as violence to advance their interests. Peace processes that originate in “hurting stalemates” afford fragile opportunities to begin to cultivate inter-ethnic social capital. At such moments, elite incentive structures align in such a way as to overcome barriers to reform associated with path dependence. The cultivation of inter-ethnic social capital is initiated by integrating the norms of inter-ethnic social capital into the structure of the peace process, although eventually state institutions (which must incorporate these norms into their design) will also re-enforce these norms. Elites begin to internalize the norms of inter-ethnic social capital by repeatedly engaging with each other during the peace process in a manner that actualizes these norms into their experiences. I explore how the norms of inter-ethnic social capital can be integrated meaningfully into the peace process so that elites begin to absorb these norms and so that the institutions that emerge from the process are perceived to be legitimate. Inter-ethnic social capital is developed among the masses primarily through the interactions that the masses have with state institutions. The peace process must focus on rehabilitating the relationship between the masses and the state. This dissertation assesses how this relationship may be rehabilitated and how the norms of inter-ethnic social capital can be integrated into the process of rehabilitating this relationship so that the masses can begin to internalize these norms.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26301
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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