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Elisabeth King and Cyrus Samii

Mar 29, 2022

Diversity, Violence, and Recognition

How Recognizing Ethnic Identity Promotes Peace

Oxford University Press, USA 2020

In Diversity, Violence, and Recognition: How Recognizing Ethnic Identity Promotes Peace (Oxford UP, 2020), Elisabeth King and Cyrus Samii examine the reasons that governments choose to recognize ethnic identities and the consequences of such choices for peace. The authors introduce a theory on the merits and risks of recognizing ethnic groups in state institutions, pointing to the crucial role of ethnic demographics. Through a global quantitative analysis and in-depth case studies of Burundi, Rwanda, and Ethiopia, they find promise in recognition. Countries that adopt recognition go on to experience less violence, more economic vitality, and more democratic politics, but these effects depend on which ethnic group is in power. King and Samii's findings are important for scholars studying peace, democracy, and development, and practically relevant to policymakers attempting to make these concepts a reality. The authors host continued discussion of the topics raised in the book at their blog This interview is with Dr. King, who is Professor of International Education and Politics at New York University.

Andrew Miller is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the United States Naval Academy.

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