Kasarinlan: Philippine Journal of Third World Studies, Vol 19, No 1 (2004)

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Framing Ethnic Conflict and the State in Southeast Asia

M.C.M. Santamaria

Abstract


This paper presents a critical review of the concept of ethnicity as an important variable in the study of conflict and other power arrangements in Southeast Asia. It relates ethnicity with organizing concepts such as culture and nation. Afterwards, it looks into how ethnicity is perceived in various spaces of contestation in the region. It specifically focuses on how state action serves to strengthen or weaken, delay or hasten, and contract or expand the range of effective influence of ethnic conflict in the region. The paper presents two models of political action that seeks to assist scholars and decision-makers gain a functional understanding of ethnic conflict accommodation. Finally, hotspots in the region are identified and studied in terms of the concepts and models presented earlier.

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