Ethnic Conflict And Multiculturalism Sociology Essay Essay

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Can ethnic identify and cultural struggle be understood as a ‘Rational Choice ‘ ?

Traditionally war has been viewed as an irrational act, brought about by misconstruing and coordination failure. It has besides been seen as something that occurs between states. Today most armed struggles occur between groups within the same state province. And as a effect, many of the struggles or mass force of recent decennaries have been characterised by the adjectival “ cultural ” . This means that the taking participants were groups opposing one another on the footing of ( or so it is assumed ) identitarian, spiritual, lingual or more by and large cultural averments. Since most armed struggles occur between groups within the same state province, one time the involvements of combatants are taken into history, struggle may be the merchandise of rational determinations ( Boudon, 2003 ) . For persons, sing from the exterior, the costs of force frequently appear to outweigh the benefits ; and for society as a whole, force, though dearly-won, simply redistributes instead than creates resources ( Bates, 1997 ) . Violence / struggle is hence destructive, and cultural force peculiarly so. For these and other grounds, cultural struggle airss cardinal challenges to any theory based on the premiss of reason ( Boudon, 2003 ) . Therefore, the recent reaffirmation of cultural claims stands as a challenge to the recent rise of rational pick theory in the comparative survey of political relations.

What are struggles? Conflicts are differences about political, economic, societal, cultural or territorial issues and they can happen at all degrees of societal interaction: between/within constructions ( confederations, provinces ) or between/within agents ( groups, persons ) ( Avruch, 2004. ) Cultural struggles are one peculiar sort of such differences about political, economic, societal, cultural or territorial issues between two or more histrions in which at least one of them is an cultural group that defines causes, effects and possible solutions of the struggle along an existent or sensed discriminating or otherwise typical cultural divide. Furthermore, cultural struggles are state of affairss in which organised cultural groups take resort to the systematic usage of force for strategic intents. There are many ways of sorting theories of cultural struggle. One such categorization entails the rational pick theory, which allows the costs of action to come in into the calculation and farther suggests that cultural struggle is a merchandise of rational insecurity, -opportunity, or -greed based on rational pick.

The term ethnicity is a comparatively recent acquisition in the English linguistic communication. The beginnings of the term ethnicity go back to the Grecian word for nation-ethnos. In ancient Greek, the term was used to depict a community of common descent. In more modern-day times, harmonizing to Glazer and Moynihan, its first sociological usage day of the months back to David Riesman ‘s work in 1953. Cultural knowledge can be explained and will be examined through the musician theoretical account, which is that persons shift their identity-consciousness harmonizing to the state of affairs. The displacement involves using differing facets of their peculiar race/homeland district ; spiritual beliefs et cetera relevant to their state of affairs. Contrary to instrumentalism is the primordial ‘s position which entails ethnocentric ways ( the favouring of those who appear of similar faith, linguistic communication, race or life style ) .

Perceiving the universe through an cultural lens creates world for many people. This world is non a false world ; it is the world on which people base their actions, therefore making forms of apprehension and corresponding establishments ( Gil-White, 2008 ) . The inquiry that arises than, is cultural struggle ( in context ) which follows from a peculiar cultural individuality based on an apprehension of rational pick or is the construct of relational pick a false belief in footings of the perceived cultural individuality and cultural struggle? In other words, are cultural groups ‘ rational associations of self-interested histrions, or are they irrational ‘primordial ‘ groupings governed by emotional fond regards? ( Gil-White, 2008 ) . If cultural histrions are musicians, so new cultural groups should follow switching involvements, originating and vanishing every bit all of a sudden as make strictly political or territorial confederations ; people should spontaneously exchange cultural individuality when it becomes convenient ; and it should be more common for new ethnicities to jump Forth around altering stuff involvements and concerns, than for ethnicities to prevail in malice of costs to their members ‘ involvements.

In order to reply this inquiry it would be momentous to first set up precisely what ethnicity truly encompasses. The construct of individuality has been employed to analyse non-instrumental, expressive manners of action that assumedly aid us in understanding engagement in societal motions ( Melucci, 1994 ) . Theorists have been cognizant for some clip of the trouble of organizing single inducements with group inducements. Scholars antecedently believed cultural groups or ‘cultures ‘ to be ‘peoples ‘ in a unitary sense along assorted dimensions: ‘ascriptive ‘ ( labelling ) ‘moral ‘ ( normative ) and ‘cultural ‘ ( lingual and arti-factual ) ( Gil-White, 2008 ) . An cultural group hence understood itself as such ; it was defined by its boundaries ( Avruch, 2004 ) . And was labelled by ‘others ‘ in similar manner, had a peculiar and typical civilization ( including a idiom ) , and whose members preferred each other to non-members, in other words ; endogamy, favoritism, in-group solidarity, et cetera ( Gil-White, 2008 ) . This over simplifies but still captures the more common ‘culture country ‘ position of cultural groups.

Chemical reactions against this position of over simplification began with Edmund Leach ‘s Political Systems of Highland Burma ( 1954 ) , trailed subsequently by Moerman ‘s work among the Lue in Thailand ( Moerman 1965, 1968 ) and Fredick Barth ‘s 1969 debut to Ethnic Groups and Boundaries ( Gil-White, 2008 ) . These surveies counter argued that cultural individualities did non map neatly to the distribution of cultural stuff, and proposed a displacement from ‘objective ‘ indexs of togetherness ( group ) , such as mensurable discontinuities in the distribution of arti-factual or conceptional civilization, towards a more ‘subjective ‘ focal point that relied to a great extent on the labelling processes of cultural histrions themselves ( Gil-White, 2008 ) . The statement entails ; in order to hold a societal individuality one must run into ‘the conditions for being referred to by the lingual look [ the label ] that names the individuality ‘ ( Goodenough 1965, in Gil-White, 2008 ) . That is to state, the labelling procedures are determined by the histrions themselves and the [ cultural ] characteristics that are taken into history are non the amount of “ nonsubjective ” differences, but merely those which the histrions themselves regard as important ‘ ( Barth 1969, in Gil-White, 2008 ) . In order to supply grounds for this statement ; it was reported that people in the Burma Kachin Hills sometimes switched cultural individuality, this illustrates that the position of ‘a society ‘ as a ‘thing ‘ ( that is, a delimited whole ) was incorrect ( Gil-White, 2008 ) . Similarly was noted by Barth ( 1969 ) in Swat, Pakistan. Some persons born into the Pathan cultural group were, later in life, labelling themselves ‘Baluch ‘ as fortunes made this advantageous. Correspondingly, some Fur in Darfur, Sudan, were taking up nomadism and naming themselves ‘Baggara ‘ ( Gil-White, 2008 ) .The grounds suggests that cultural individuality is self imposed and are coordinated with others ‘of a sort ‘ for mutual positive addition. Therefore, if I am an Angstrom, but it is better for me to interface and web with B ‘s, I shall get a B individuality together with B ways of being so as to tap into the B web ( Gil-White, 2008 ) .

The Rational Choice methodological analysis consists of systematic rating of options through an analysis of the assorted effects of the judgements made such as cogency, reason, value appraisal and hazard antipathy ( Masri, 2003 ) . Rational Choice Theory provides a methodological analysis for measuring decision-making by utilizing empirical grounds to understand alteration and pick, and therefore apologize the illations and decisions made ( Masri, 2003 ) . In other words, for a pick to be made, an person must confront a set of possible options ( her executable set ) . It is assumed that given her executable set, the person will take the option that leads to – or she believes leads to- the best result. If she has full information about the result of her determinations, she will happen herself in a state of affairs of certainty and be able to maximise her public-service corporation ( Masri, 2003 ) . On the other manus, if the information is uncomplete, nevertheless, she will merely be able to maximise the expected public-service corporation in a context of hazard and uncertainness. In this state of affairs she will impute an aim or subjective chance to the result of her action. This chance is the belief she has about the consequences of her action ( Aguiar, 2002 ) . In other words, If a individual chooses X alternatively of Y it is because she believes that X best satisfies her desires. These internal beliefs and desires, which are subjective, motivate her action. As Boudon formulates it: “ any action is caused by grounds in the head of persons ( reason ) ” ( Boudon, 2003, accent added ) .Relaying the construct of Rational Choice Theory to ethnic identify or even cultural struggle, Rational Choice sums to stating that people who do non truly believe themselves to portion common descent will nevertheless take part in corporate self-delusion because feigning to portion such descent is contributing to their common mobilisation, which is desirable as it serves common, nonsubjective involvements, rationally identified. In other words, the rational pick theory perceives cultural struggle as the consequence of persons ‘ rational chase of cosmopolitan involvements such as wealth, power, and security ( Mirzayev, 2007 ) . Overall, Rational Choice considers individuality as a cardinal construct in explicating societal action ( Aguiar, 2002 ) .

The basic differentiations between different schools of idea on ethnicity is brought away by the primordialist school and the instrumentalist position. The primordialist school holds that ethnicity is so profoundly ingrained in human history and experience that it can non be denied that it exists, objectively and subjectively, and that it should hence be considered a fact of life in the dealingss between persons and groups who all have an cultural individuality. In other words, the primordialist position sees Ethnicity and race as deep-rooted and comparatively fixed. In contrast to this position, the instrumentalist school argues that ethnicity is by no agencies an incontestable historical fact. Rather, they suggest that ethnicity is influence by rational pick and is first and foremost a resource in the custodies of leaders to call up and organize followings in the chase of other involvements, such as physical security, economic addition or political power. In other words, Ethnicity is seen as a resource to be used in times of competition.

In decision, the argument between primordialists and musicians are one of stale-mate, so to talk. Both provide truths to some grade. Since ethnicity can be viewed as a group ‘s civilization, traditions, and historic experiences. However, the instrumentalist position validates the construct of rational theory that ethnicities is besides dependent upon modern-day chances which can be a utile instrument for societal, political or economic intents that may or may non be related straight to their cultural beginnings. Persons identify with a group for many grounds ( as was noted above ) , but one overarching cardinal factor is that the members of a group are by definition take parting in a positive-sum game ( Basuchoudhary, 2007 ) . Cooperation outputs benefits in surplus of costs which are shared harmonizing to some regulation. In interacting with other groups, nevertheless, the game often is zero-sum – one group ‘s additions are secured at another groups ‘ disbursal. ( Basuchoudhary,2007 ) . Engagement in positive-sum game is non inadvertent but a rational pick. Ethnies are aggregations of persons sharing a common self-ascription, that common self-aspiration is by pick. Furthermore, Hardin ( 1995 ) makes the instance that it is possible to aline an person ‘s involvement with a group ‘s involvement, but that such alignment normally is damaging to the involvements of the members of other groups. In other words, successful alliance of self-interest and group involvement weakens inducements to collaborate with other groups, which may come to be seen as antagonists. Hardin ‘s position is consistent with that of a long line of rational pick theoreticians who have looked at the issue of group individuality. Ethnicity follows from rational pick it is merely partially based on civilization, myths of descent, historical memories, faith, imposts, traditions, linguistic communication, a specific fatherland or establishments, it is merely every bit much based on what people believe, or are made to believe, or yearn to hold in order to make a sense of solidarity among those who are members of a peculiar cultural group, excepting, and at times directed against, those who are non.

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