Ethnicity and Democratic Governance

Ethnicity and Democratic Governance

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Some of the most complex and difficult conflicts across both the developed and developing world today arise when ethnic groups self-identify (recognize and define themselves as a cohesive group in relation to particular religious/ ethno-cultural characteristics) and mobilize politically, often in violent ways.

Exclusion, forced assimilation, civil war, ethnic cleansing and genocide are some of the unwanted results of world-wide ethno-cultural conflict. States, international communities and even civic communities can alleviate or exacerbate such conflict (sometimes in unintended ways), depending on whether, how and when they respond to ethnic diversity and conflict. Yet, some communities, at the state level or otherwise, are able to accommodate difference: diversity is a source of opportunity and growth.

  • Can we study the relative success of these societies and transfer it to areas experiencing, or in danger of experiencing, deep ethno-culturally based divisions?
  •  Which institutions, policies, approaches or organizations of community work in governing diversity and can they be transferred to communities with deeply different political/historical/economic experiences?
  • What is the role of the international community in monitoring and transferring this kind of human interaction knowledge?

The key question that the EDG project hopes to answer is:

  • How can societies respond to the opportunities and challenges raised by ethnic, linguistic, religious, and cultural differences, and do so in ways that promote democracy, social justice, peace and stability?

Research was originally organized under four thematic spokes. As the project advanced, overlapping themes necessitated collaborative inter-spoke thematic workshops.

See EDG's Three Differences of Approach