Chapter

Lessons for Theory

I. William Zartman and Mark Anstey

in The Slippery Slope to Genocide

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199791743
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919222 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199791743.003.0018
Lessons for Theory

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Identity becomes dangerously conflictual when two identities are felt to be negatively interdependent in a zero-sum or threatening relationship. It becomes a factor in situations of competition when parties perceive their identity to be under threat and fear for themselves, or when they see the fulfillment of their needs and interests as best pursued through mobilization under identity markers and the elimination of the other as necessary. What is needed is a process that removes the feelings of zero-sum threat and fear, and that process has to come from positive interaction between the parties, that is, from negotiation. Two types of contributions to a solution are available—structural and attitudinal, with continual interrelations between the two. Attitudinal changes are necessary to embark on structural solution searches, and effective structural solutions give parties confidence that there are systems in place to protect identities and make structures stick—they are symbiotic.

Keywords: genocide; threat; structure; attitudes; prevention; fear

Chapter.  8242 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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