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The Logic of Ethnic and Religious Conflict in Africa


  • Date Published: June 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107175013

£ 83.99

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About the Authors
  • This book explains why conflicts in Africa are sometimes ethnic and sometimes religious, and why a conflict might change from ethnic to religious even as the opponents remain fixed. Conflicts in the region are often viewed as either 'tribal' or 'Muslim-Christian', seemingly rooted in deep-seated ethnic or religious hatreds. Yet, as this book explains, those labels emerge as a function of political mobilization. It argues that ethnicity and religion inspire distinct passions among individuals, and that political leaders exploit those passions to achieve their own strategic goals when the institutions of the state break down. To support this argument, the book relies on a novel experiment conducted in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana to demonstrate that individual preferences change in ethnic and religious contexts. It then uses case illustrations from Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria, and Sudan to highlight the strategic choices of leaders that ultimately shape the frames of conflict.

    • Religion is an increasingly important political identity, so readers will benefit from the book's distinction on ethnic politics, separating religious from ethnic interests
    • With novel, easy-to-follow empirical methods, readers will recognize the value of micro-level experiments and will appreciate the application of the macro argument to three cases
    • Will appeal to readers from a variety of disciplines due to multiple perspectives on political behavior and conflict
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Overall, this book presents the fruit of an innovative research design with which McCauley develops what I firmly believe is a sound theoretical model for examining and understanding a complex mechanism of social mobilization; namely, how political elites manipulate the general population. Furthermore, by illuminating how social identity types produce unique sets of individual-level preferences and attitudes, the book's novel perspective proves useful for distinguishing and analysing different forms of identity group competition (religious politics, ethnic politics and gender politics) with greater clarity than previously possible.' Ibrahim Can Sezgin, African Affairs

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107175013
    • length: 248 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 156 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I:
    1. Introduction
    2. A theory of mobilization differences in identity types
    3. Evidence from Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana
    4. Observable implications
    Part II:
    5. Theory of political choice
    6. Ethnic and religious identity in Côte d'Ivoire's conflict
    7. Ethnicity and religion in Sudan's civil wars
    8. Ethnicity and religion in Nigeria's Biafran war
    9. Conclusion

  • Author

    John F. McCauley, University of Maryland, College Park
    John F. McCauley is an Assistant Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park. His research focuses on ethnic and religious conflict, economic development, and informal political institutions in Africa. He has published articles on these topics in the American Political Science Review, Comparative Political Studies, Political Psychology, and Political Science Research and Methods, among others. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, and the Bradley Foundation. He has conducted field research in Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Madagascar, Niger, and Nigeria.

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