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How Enemies Are Made: Towards a Theory of Ethnic and Religious Conflict

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Volume 1

Integration and Conflict Studies

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How Enemies Are Made

Towards a Theory of Ethnic and Religious Conflict

Günther Schlee

206 pages, 5 tables, 2 diagrams, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-494-4 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (September 2008)

ISBN  978-1-84545-779-2 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (March 2010)

eISBN 978-0-85745-060-9 eBook

Hb Pb   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“This is certainly a significant text, and would be of interest to most scholars studying conflict theory…[it] represents an interesting discussion of conflict resolution and would be most beneficial to those seeking an alternate to traditional conflict analysis. While the author does not offer his own theory, he does successfully lay the groundwork for future conflict analysts to develop their own perspectives.”  ·  The Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue canadienne de sociologie


In popular perception cultural differences or ethnic affiliation are factors that cause conflict or political fragmentation although this is not borne out by historical evidence. This book puts forward an alternative conflict theory. The author develops a decision theory which explains the conditions under which differing types of identification are preferred. Group identification is linked to competition for resources like water, territory, oil, political charges, or other advantages. Rivalry for resources can cause conflicts but it does not explain who takes whose side in a conflict situation. This book explores possibilities of reducing violent conflicts and ends with a case study, based on personal experience of the author, of conflict resolution.

Günther Schlee was a Professor at Bielefeld until 1999. He currently is the director of the section Integration and Conflict at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, focusing on Africa, Central Asia, and Europe. His publications include Identities on the Move: Clanship and Pastoralism in Northern Kenya (International African Institute, 1989), How Enemies are Made (Berghahn, 2008), Rendille Proverbs in their Social and legal Context (with Karaba Sahado) and Boran Proverbs in their Cultural Context (with Abdullahi Shongolo) (both Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe).

Subject: Peace & Conflict Studies Theory & Methodology in Anthropology



Chapter 1. Why we Need a New Conflict Theory
Chapter 2. The Question
Chapter 3. How this Volume is Organised


Chapter 4. A Decision Theory of Identification
Chapter 5. The Necessity for Strategies of Inclusion and Exclusion
Chapter 6. The Conceptual Instruments of Exclusion and Inclusion: Social Categories and their Overlapping Relations
Chapter 7. On the Sociologisation of Economics and the Economisation of Sociology
Chapter 8. Markets of Violence and the Freedom of Choice
Chapter 9. Ethnicity Emblems, Diacritical Features, Identity Markers – Some East African Examples
Chapter 10. Purity and Power in Islamic and Non-Islamic Societies and the Spectre of Fundamentalism
Chapter 11. Language and Ethnicity


Chapter 12. Conflict Resolution: the Experience with the Somali Peace Process
Chapter 13. On Methods: How to be a Conflict Analyst
Chapter 14. An Update from 2007: Reconsidering the Peace Process

List of Acronyms

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