History And Issues Of Ethnicity Cultural Studies Essay

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The terms "ethnicity" and "ethnic group" are derived from the Greek word ethnos, normally translated as "nation" or commonly said people of the same race that share a distinctive culture. The term "ethnic" and related forms were used in English in the meaning of "pagan/ heathen" from the 14th century through the middle of the 19th century. This practice was derived from New Testament Greek, which used the plural ethnic to render the Hebrew goyim (or nations).

The word "ethnic", however, is much older. The word is derived from the Greek ethnos (which in turn derived from the word ethnikos), which originally meant heathen or pagan 1. It was used in this sense in English from the mid-14th century until the mid-19th century, when it gradually began to refer to "racial" characteristics. In the United States, "ethnics" came to be used around the Second World War as a polite term referring to Jews, Italians, Irish and other people considered inferior to the dominant group of largely British descent.


Gregory Bateson defines ethnicity as:

"It takes at least two some things to create a difference….clearly each alone is - for the mind and perception - a non-entity , a non-being , not different from being , and not different from non-being. An unknowable , Ding an sich, a sound from one hand clapping." 2

According to Cambridge Encyclopedia, ethnicity is a group of individuals identified on the basis of race, color, language and territory.3 David Taylor defines, " identities are chosen, that is out of an infinite range of possible cultural identities that one is selected as the political identity, which is believed, offers the greatest scope of political success."4 According to A.K Danda; " ethnicity is considered as a process , where by the leaders of an ethnic group, try to mobilize its group members by utilizing the ethnic sentiment for some economic and political goal." 5

Ethnicity has been the most predominant phenomenon of the modern world 6. Ethnicity is a widely prevalent phenomenon found operating at local, regional, national and international level7.

The modern usage of "ethnic group", however, reflects the different kinds of encounters industrialized states have had with subordinate groups, such as immigrants and colonized subjects; "ethnic group" came to stand in opposition to "nation", to refer to people with distinct cultural identities who, through migration or conquest, had become subject to a foreign state. The modern usage of the word is relatively new-1851 8 - with the first usage of the term ethnic group in 1935 9, and entering the Oxford English Dictionary in 1972.10

Thus, in today's everyday language, the words "ethnic" and "ethnicity" still have a ring of exotic peoples, minority issues and race relations.

Within the social sciences, however, the usage has become more generalized to all human groups that explicitly regard themselves and are regarded by others as culturally distinctive. Among the first to bring the term "ethnic group" into social studies was the German sociologist Max Weber, who defined it as:

"Those human groups that entertain a subjective belief in their common descent because of similarities of physical type or of customs or both, or because of memories of colonization and migration; this belief must be important for group formation; furthermore it does not matter whether an objective blood relationship exists." 11


A.L Epstein defines ethnic identity as:

" If we are to understand … 'the persisting facts of ethnicity' , then I believe that we need to supplement conventional sociological perspectives by paying greater attention to the nature of ethnic identity." 12

Studies of ethnicity have demonstrated the relationship b/w social processes and personal identities.When we talk of identity in social anthropology, we refer to social identity , not to the depths of the individual mind. We must therefore begins by looking at social relations and social organization.

If we want to understand ethnic identity, we cannot a prior assume that ethnic categories exist by virtue of certain functions. This implies that in order to come to grips with ethnic identity, we must try to understand what it is about ethnic classification and categorical belongings that makes sense to the people involved.


Weber maintained that ethnic groups were künstlich (artificial, i.e. a social construct) because they were based on a subjective belief in shared Gemeinschaft (community). Secondly, this belief in shared Gemeinschaft did not create the group; the group created the belief. Third, group formation resulted from the drive to monopolize power and status. This was contrary to the prevailing naturalist belief of the time, which held that socio-cultural and behavioral differences between peoples stemmed from inherited traits and tendencies derived from common descent, then called "race" 13

Another influential theoretician of ethnicity was Fredrik Barth, whose "Ethnic Groups and Boundaries" from 1969 has been described as instrumental in spreading the usage of the term in social studies in the 1980s and 1990s. Barth went further than Weber in stressing the constructed nature of ethnicity. To Barth, ethnicity was perpetually negotiated and renegotiated by both external ascription and internal self-identification. Barth's view is that ethnic groups are not discontinuous cultural isolates, or logical a prioris to which people naturally belong. He wanted to part with anthropological notions of cultures as bounded entities, and ethnicity as primordialist bonds, replacing it with a focus on the interface between groups. "Ethnic Groups and Boundaries", therefore, is a focus on the interconnectedness of ethnic identities.

In this way he pointed to the fact that identification of an ethnic group by outsiders, e.g. anthropologists, may not coincide with the self-identification of the members of that group. He also described that in the first decades of usage, the term ethnicity had often been used in lieu of older terms such as "cultural" or "tribal" when referring to smaller groups with shared cultural systems and shared heritage, but that "ethnicity" had the added value of being able to describe the commonalities between systems of group identity in both tribal and modern societies. 14


Although the concept of ethnicity should always have the same meaning lest it ceases to be useful in comparison, it is inevitable that we distinguish between the social contexts under scrutiny. Some interethnic contexts in different societies are very similar and may seem easily comparable, whereas others differ profoundly. In order to give an idea of the variation, I shall briefly describe some typical empirical foci of ethnic studies, some "kinds of ethnic groups", so to speak.


This category would include, among others, non-European immigrants in European cities and Hispanics in the United States, as well as migrants to industrial towns in Africa and elsewhere. Research on immigrants has focused on problems of adaptation, on ethnic discrimination from the host society, racism, and issues relating to identity management and cultural change .Anthropologists who have investigated urbanization in Africa have focused on change and continuity in political organization and social identity following migration to totally new settings. Although they have political interests, these ethnic groups rarely demand political independence or statehood, and they are as a rule integrated into a capitalist system of production and consumption.


This word is a blanket term for aboriginal inhabitants of a territory, who are politically relatively powerless and who are only partially integrated into the dominant nation-state. Indigenous peoples are associated with a non-industrial mode of production and a stateless political system. The Basques of the Bay of Biscay and the Welsh of Great Britain are not considered indigenous populations, although they are certainly as indigenous, technically speaking, as the Sami of northern Scandinavia or the Jívaro of the Amazon basin. The concept "indigenous people" is thus not an accurate analytical one, but rather one drawing on broad family resemblances and contemporary political issues.

(C) PROTO-NATIONS ("ethno nationalist" movements).

These groups, the most famous of ethnic groups in the news media of the 1990s, include Kurds, Sikhs, Palestinians and Sri Lankan Tamils, and their number is growing. By definition, these groups have political leaders who claim that they are entitled to their own nation-state and should not be "ruled by others". These groups, short of having a nation-state, may be said to have more substantial characteristics in common with nations than with either urban minorities or indigenous peoples. They are always territorially based; they are differentiated according to class and educational achievement, and they are large groups. In accordance with common terminology, these groups may be described as "nations without a state".

(D) ETHNIC GROUPS (in "plural societies").

The term "plural society" usually designates colonially created states with culturally heterogeneous populations .Typical plural societies would be Kenya, Indonesia and Jamaica. The groups that make up the plural society, although they are compelled to participate in uniform political and economic systems, are regarded as (and regard themselves as) highly distinctive in other matters. In plural societies, secessionism is usually not an option, and ethnicity tends to be articulated as group competition.

The definition of ethnicity proposed earlier would include all of these "kinds" of groups, no matter how different they are in other respects. Surely, there are aspects of politics (gain and loss in interaction) as well as meaning (social identity and belonging) in the ethnic relations reproduced by urban minorities, indigenous peoples, proto-nations and the component groups of "plural societies" alike. Despite the great variations between the problems and substantial characteristics represented by the respective kinds of groups, the word ethnicity may, in other words, meaningfully be used as a common denominator.


In order to avoid the problems of defining ethnic classification as labeling of others or as self-identification, it has been proposed to distinguish between concepts of "ethnic categories", "ethnic networks" and "ethnic communities" or "ethnies".

An "ethnic category" is a category set up by outsiders, that is, those who are not themselves members of the category, and whose members are populations that are categorized by outsiders as being distinguished by attributes of a common name or emblem, a shared cultural element and a connection to a specific territory. But, members who are ascribed to ethnic categories do not themselves have any awareness of their belonging to a common, distinctive group.

At the level of "ethnic networks", the group begins to have a sense of collectiveness, and at this level, common myths of origin and shared cultural and biological heritage begins to emerge, at least among the élites.

At the level of "ethnies" or "ethnic communities", the members themselves have clear conceptions of being "a named human population with myths of common ancestry, shared historical memories, and one or more common elements of culture, including an association with a homeland, and some degree of solidarity, at least among the élites". That is, an ethnic is self-defined as a group, whereas ethnic categories are set up by outsiders whether or not their own members identify with the category given them.



During this stage the individual internalizes the negative ideologies and beliefs about his/her ethnic group that are institutionalized within the society. Consequently, the Stage -1 person exemplifies ethnic self-rejection and low self-esteem. The individual is ashamed of his /her ethnic group and identity during this stage and may respond in a number of ways, including avoiding situations that lead to contact with other ethnic groups or striving aggressively to become highly culturally assimilated.


Stage 2 is characterized by ethnic encapsulation and ethnic exclusiveness, including, voluntary separatism. The individual participates primarily within his/her own ethnic community and believes that his/her ethnic group is superior to that of others. Many Stage 2 individuals, such as many Anglo-Americans, have internalized the dominant societal myths about the superiority of their ethnic or racial groups and the innate inferiority of other ethnic groups and races. Many individuals who are socialized within all-white suburban communities and who live highly ethnocentric and encapsulated lives may b described as Stage 2 individuals.


At this stage the individual is able to clarify personal attitudes and ethnic identity , to reduce intra psychic conflict, and to develop positive attitudes towards his/her ethnic group. The individual learns to accept self, thus developing the characteristics needed to accept and respond more positively to outside ethnic groups. Self acceptance is a requisite to accepting and responding positively to others.


Individuals within the stage have a healthy sense of ethnic identity and the psychological characteristics and skills needed to participate successfully in their own ethnic culture, as well as in other ethnic culture. The individual also has a strong desire to function effectively in two ethnic cultures.


Stage 5 describe the idealized goal for citizenship identity within an ethnically pluralistic nation. The individual at this stage is able to function, at least at minimum levels, within several ethnic socio-cultural environments and to understand, appreciate, and institutions of several ethnic cultures . such multiethnic perspectives and feelings , help the individual to live a more enriched and fulfilling life and to formulate more creative and novel solutions to personal and public problems.


The relationship between the terms 'ethnicity' and 'nationalism' is very complex. 15

Paul Brass defines ethnicity as "a sense of ethnic identity…consisting of the subjective, symbolic or emblematic use by a group of people…of any aspect of culture…in order to create internal cohesion and differentiate themselves from other groups". Perhaps the most interesting thing Brass has to say about nationalism as:

"Nationalism is most likely to develop when new elites arise to challenge a system of ethnic stratification in the cities or an existing pattern of distribution of economic resources and political power between ethnically distinct urban and rural groups or ethnically diverse regions. One moment at which such challenges tend to arise most forcefully is when industrial development and political centralization have led to concentrations of job opportunities in key urban centers and to the need for trained personnel to fill the new positions. It is at this point also in pluralistic societies that the issue of language becomes critical because the choice of the official language and the medium of education determines which groups have favored access to the best jobs".16

Neither nationalism nor ethnicity is vanishing as part of an obsolete traditional order. Both are part of a modem set of categorical identities invoked by elites and other participants in political and social struggles. These categorical identities also shape everyday life, offering both tools for grasping pre-existing homogeneity and difference and for constructing specific versions of such identities. While it is impossible to dissociate nationalism entirely from ethnicity, it is equally impossible to explain it simply as a continuation of ethnicity or a simple reflection of common history or language. Numerous dimensions of modem social and cultural change, notably state building (along with war and colonialism), individualism, and the integration of large-scale

webs of indirect relationships also serve to make both nationalism and ethnicity salient. Nationalism, in particular, remains the pre-eminent rhetoric for attempts to demarcate political communities, claim rights of self-determination and legitimate rule by reference to "the people" of a country. Ethnic solidarities and identities are claimed most often where groups do not seek

"national" autonomy but rather a recognition internal to or cross-cutting national or state boundaries. The possibility of a closer link to nationalism is seldom altogether absent from such ethnic claims, however, and the two sorts of categorical identities are often invoked in similar ways. 17


Different approaches to understanding ethnicity have been used by different social scientists when trying to understand the nature of ethnicity as a factor in human life and society. Examples of such approaches are: primordialism, essentialism, perennialism, constructivism, modernism and instrumentalism.

"Primordialism", holds that ethnicity has existed at all times of human history and that modern ethnic groups have historical continuity into the far past. For them, the idea of ethnicity is closely linked to the idea of nations and is rooted in the pre-Weber understanding of humanity as being divided into primordially existing groups rooted by kinship and biological heritage.

"Essentialist primordialism" further holds that ethnicity is an a priori fact of human existence, that ethnicity precedes any human social interaction and that it is basically unchanged by it. This theory sees ethnic groups as natural, not just as historical.

"Kinship primordialism" holds that ethnic communities are extensions of kinship units, basically being derived by kinship or clan ties where the choices of cultural signs (language, religion, traditions) are made exactly to show this biological affinity. In this way, the myths of common biological ancestry that are a defining feature of ethnic communities are to be understood as representing actual biological history. A problem with this view on ethnicity is that it is more often than not the case that mythic origins of specific ethnic groups directly contradict the known biological history of an ethnic community.

"Geertz's primordialism", notably espoused by anthropologist Clifford Geertz, argues that humans in general attribute an overwhelming power to primordial human "givens" such as blood ties, language, territory, and cultural differences. In Geertz' opinion, ethnicity is not in itself primordial but humans perceive it as such because it is embedded in their experience of the world.

"Perennialism" holds that ethnicity is ever changing, and that while the concept of ethnicity has existed at all times, ethnic groups are generally short lived before the ethnic boundaries realign in new patterns. The opposing perennialist view holds that while ethnicity and ethnic groupings has existed throughout history, they are not part of the natural order.

"Perpetual perennialism" holds that specific ethnic groups have existed continuously throughout history.

"Situational perennialism" holds that nations and ethnic groups emerge, change and vanish through the course of history. This view holds that the concept of ethnicity is basically a tool used by political groups to manipulate resources such as wealth, power, territory or status in their particular groups' interests..

"Instrumentalist perennialism", while seeing ethnicity primarily as a versatile tool that identified different ethnics groups and limits through time, explains ethnicity as a mechanism of social stratification, meaning that ethnicity is the basis for a hierarchical arrangement of individuals.

"Constructivism" sees both primordialist and perennialist views as basically flawed, and rejects the notion of ethnicity as a basic human condition. It holds that ethnic groups are only products of human social interaction, maintained only in so far as they are maintained as valid social constructs in societies.

"Modernist constructivism" correlates the emergence of ethnicity with the movement towards nation states beginning in the early modern period. Proponents of this theory, such as Eric Hobsbawm, argue that ethnicity and notions of ethnic pride, such as nationalism, are purely modern inventions, appearing only in the modern period of world history. They hold that prior to this, ethnic homogeneity was not considered an ideal or necessary factor in the forging of large-scale societies.


A few words must be said initially about the relationship between ethnicity and "race". The term race has deliberately been placed within inverted commas in order to stress that it has dubious descriptive value. Whereas it was for some time common to divide humanity into four main races, modern genetics tends not to speak of races, and this has two main reasons. First, there has always been so much interbreeding between human populations that it would be meaningless to talk of fixed boundaries between races. Secondly, the distribution of hereditary physical traits does not follow clear boundaries. In other words, there is often greater variation within a "racial" group than there is systematic variation between two groups.

Concepts of race can nevertheless be important to the extent that they inform people's actions; at this level, race exists as a cultural construct, whether it has a "biological" reality or not. Racism, obviously, builds on the assumption that personality is somehow linked with hereditary characteristics which differ systematically between "races", and in this way race may assume sociological importance even if it has no "objective" existence. Social scientists who study race relations in Great Britain and the United States need not themselves believe in the existence of race, since their object of study is the social and cultural relevance of the notion that race exists. If influential people in a society had developed a similar theory about the hereditary personality traits of red-haired people, and if that theory gained social and cultural significance, "redhead studies" would for similar reasons have become a field of academic research, even if the researchers themselves did not agree that redheads were different from others in a relevant way. In societies where they are important, ideas of race may therefore be studied as part of local discourses on ethnicity.

The relationship between the terms ethnicity and nationality is nearly as complex as that between ethnicity and race. Like the words ethnic and race, the word nation has a long history , and has been used in a variety of different meanings in English. The distinguishing mark of nationalism is by definition its relationship to the state. A nationalist holds that political boundaries should be coterminous with cultural boundaries, whereas many ethnic groups do not demand command over a state. When the political leaders of an ethnic movement place demands to this effect, the ethnic movement therefore by definition becomes a nationalist movement.


The term ethnicity refers to relationships between groups whose members consider themselves distinctive, and these groups may be ranked hierarchically within a society. It is therefore necessary to distinguish clearly between ethnicity and social class. 18

In the literature of social science, there are two main definitions of classes. One derives from Karl Marx, the other from Max Weber. Sometimes elements from the two definitions are combined.

The Marxist view of social classes emphasizes economic aspects. A social class is defined according to its relationship to the productive process in society. In capitalist societies, according to Marx, there are three main classes. First, there is the capitalist class or bourgeoisie, whose members own the means of production (factories, tools and machinery, etc.) and buy other people's labour-power. Secondly, there is the petit-bourgeoisie, whose members own means of production but do not employ others. Owners of small shops are typical examples. The third, and most numerous classes, is the proletariat or working class, whose members depend upon selling their labour-power to a capitalist for their livelihood.

The Weberian view of social classes, which has partly developed into theories of social stratification, combines several criteria in delineating classes, including income, education and political influence. Unlike Marx, Weber did not regard classes as potential corporate groups; he did not believe that members of social classes necessarily would have shared political interests. Weber preferred to speak of status groups rather than classes.

Theories of social class always refer to systems of social ranking and distribution of power. Ethnicity, on the contrary, does not necessarily refer to rank; ethnic relations may well be egalitarian in this regard. Still, many poly-ethnic societies are ranked according to ethnic membership. The criteria for such ranking are nevertheless different from class ranking: they refer to imputed cultural differences or "races", not to property or achieved statuses.

There may be a high correlation between ethnicity and class, which means that there is a high likelihood that persons belonging to specific ethnic groups also belong to specific social classes. There can be a significant interrelationship between class and ethnicity, both class and ethnicity can be criteria for rank, and ethnic membership can be an important factor for class membership. Both class differences and ethnic differences can be pervasive features of societies, but they are not one and the same thing and must be distinguished from one another analytically.


There has been a shift in Anglophone social anthropological terminology concerning the nature of the social units. While one formerly spoke of "tribes", the term "ethnic group" is nowadays much more common. Ronald Cohen remarks:

"Quite suddenly, with little comment or ceremony, ethnicity is an ubiquitous presence" 19. This switch in terminology implies more than a mere replacement of a word with another. Notably, the use of the term "ethnic group" suggests contact and interrelationship. To speak of an ethnic group in total isolation is as absurd as to speak of the sound from one hand clapping 20. By definition, ethnic groups remain more or less discrete from each other, but they are aware of - and in contact with - members of other ethnic groups. Moreover, these groups or categories are in a sense created through that very contact. Group identities must always be defined in relation to that which they are not - in other words, in relation to non-members of the group.

The terminological switch from "tribe" to "ethnic group" may also mitigate or even transcend an ethnocentric or Eurocentric bias which anthropologists have often been accused of promoting covertly. When we talk of tribes, we implicitly introduce a sharp, qualitative distinction between ourselves and the people we study; the distinction generally corresponds to the distinction between modern and traditional or "primitive" societies. If we instead talk of ethnic groups or categories, such a sharp distinction becomes difficult to maintain. Virtually every human being belongs to an ethnic group, whether he or she lives in Europe, Melanesia or Central America. There are ethnic groups in English cities, in the Bolivian countryside and in the New Guinea highlands.


Due to the growing ethnic conflicts in the world, the question arises that what are the reasons for the emergence of ethnic conflict? In this context a number of factors may be identified as the causes of growing ethnic conflicts. Factors like culture, religion, language, etc. the people especially the one who are in a minority in a particular place are tremendously affected by these factors. They are:


Language is a complex communicative symbol, which is inextricably related to social activity and an indispensable tool for all social existence. Language being the vehicle for communication of thought and feeling provides the most effective single bond for uniting the people. In fact it is the most important mark of group identification.

As language, in majority, is taken as an identical factor , therefore people become touchy about the language. So in order to protect the or identity, they try to protect their language. This game of language protection leads towards a conflicting situation between different communities.

Language is, however, not only the means of communication, it has also been an object of conflict between various groups. On most occasions, it has been an instrument for mobilizing politics in the post-colonial democracy that operated in a multi-cultural, plural society with acute economic unevenness.


Religion provides a set of certain values in a society. Different religious ethnic group organize their lives in respect of their religious beliefs and are even willing to sacrifice their lives for it. Every religious group considers its religious superior and desires the dominance of it. For this purpose they use various methods, which lead towards ethnicity.


Culture represents the way of life , ideas, customs, etc of a community. Similarly, like language, people are possessive towards theirs culture. And this possessiveness leads towards ethnic conflict.


It is natural phenomena that people sharing common ancestors feel closer and comfortable with other members of the same group considering them as family. The feeling of affinity is one of the major factors of promoting ethnocentrism in the masses.


Sometimes an ethnic group identities itself as a family on the basis of land and territory shared from generations. An ethnic group can be in majority or in minority in its ancestral land. In the case of majority, such groups want to have their own state with its formal international status and territorial boundaries. Where as, when ethnic group, it may be humiliated and be driven out from it.


The size and rate of increase of the minority relative to the majority is an important factor in ethnic conflict. First, sizeable minorities or majorities are much more likely to risk violent confrontation when they perceive that they have grievances. Second , the ideology and institutions of majoritarian democracy are likely to generate the most intense conflict, when a minority is close to majority or shows signs of being transformed into a numerical majority. Third, even when power is being shared between groups rather then monopolized by one group, large change will result in fiction. If the original allocation is maintained , the growing community will be aggrieved at the injustice. If the allocations are changed, disputes over the changes are probable and the declining ethnic group must accept losing constantly.


Advancement in communication is another reason of ethnic conflicts, because it has increased the awareness among minorities. Advancement in communication has made available a variety of communication tools in fields of electronic and print media. So awareness among minority groups about their rights and deprivation of their rights has increased.


Ethnic conflicts also make their emergence because of accumulated fears about the future and some long experiences, in the past about various types of deficiencies, obstacles, etc. Vesna Pesic, a Professor at the University of Belgrade said; "Ethnic conflict is caused by the fear of future , lived through the past ." 21


Competition for scarce resources is another major causes of conflict between groups. Property rights, jobs, educational policies and other development allocations confer certain benefits on individuals and groups. When these scarce resources are directed favorably towards certain sections of the society , movement towards attainment of those scarce resources begins in organized groups on the lines of religions, cast, class and such other divisions of society. In societies, where ethnicity is an important basis for identity, group competition is often formed along ethnic lines, through this need not to be the case always.


There is another point aspect that needs to be taken into consideration while analyzing the causes of ethnic conflict. Today, modernization is taken place in every nook and corner of the world. As a result of the modernization, an uneven level of development has spread through out the world. The expansion of markets, improved technology, increased contacts generates competition among groups. People aspire to the same social and economic rewards, competition intensifies and communal solidarities became very important or rather the most significant vehicle for mutual support and promotion especially in urban areas. Thus competitions created by modernization and development policies, ethnic pluralism made it even more salient than in earlier periods.


Conflicts leave intense impacts on any society. These effects can be positive and negative.


1. Ethnicity creates personal loyalties among people by getting the national interest in the country.

2. Individual remains loyal to their groups and cultures which helps in preserving their original culture and separate individuality. It brings more solidarity and inter group co operation.

3. An average man finds ready made solutions of the problems confronted by him in different social situations of his daily life.

4. It encourages patriotism and loyalty to one's own society and culture.


1. Sometimes ethnic conflicts lead to the politics of agitation, which in result put a bad impact on the economy of the country.

2. On the basis of ethnic discrimination every group tries to support the members of the same group, regardless of the fact that it deserves or not. This situation creates "haves" or "haves not" in which the former dominates the leader.

3. When an ethic group uses violent means in order to convey its message, it spreads harassment among masses and they start losing confidence in each other.

4. Individuals under pressure of their groups perceive things and events according to their induced ethnic attitude and sense. The factor creates misunderstandings between communities as law and order and acts as barriers in the resolution of the conflict.

5. Emergence of hegemonic attitudes is also seen in the results of ethnic conflict.

6. The ethnic conflict can result into the fragmentation of society; various parts regarding cast, color, and creed.

7. Ethnic disturbance can jeopardize law and order situation on the country, which creates a direct impact on the social economic life of people. It sets the security of people at risk and creates a sense of insecurity in them.

8. It is observed that during hostile and violent activities in result of ethnic conflict, human life is lost. For example, during civil war in Sri Lanka , from 1980 up till present day over 50,000 people lost their lives including the President of Sri Lanka.

9. Ethnic conflict also has the power to destroy the state of equilibrium between competing groups, making the internal stability of the state of stake.

10. In case of ethnic disturbance the foreign or local entrepreneur feel hesitant, to invest their money. It puts a negative impact on the economy of the country.

11. Ethnic factors lead to mistrust in the society, which in result creates disintegration of the society. For example in 1971, Pakistan lost its Eastern wing due to ethnic conflict.

12. One of the major impacts of ethnicity is the loss of peace and harmony in the society, which further gives airs to various aspects further complexion and destruction the progress of the state.

13. As, a result of ethnic conflict investment of money is halted due to high risk resulting non-productivity leading to economic problems. As a politics and economics go side by side, so halt in one field causes turmoil, leading to social disparities.

14. When ethnic conflict broke out, violent means are also used to counter the oppositions and crab down the rivals groups.


Ethnicity can not be resolve or eliminate, but can be lessen. The following steps can be taken to lessen the ethnic trends:

The education should be restructured and literacy level should be raised.

Parochial leaders should be inducted in the power structures by introducing or reforming local self government.

Economic resources should be properly distributed. For example in Afghanistan, Uzbeks and Tajiks are the ruling parties, they are the rulers in Afghanistan. While Pashtoons are in majority, but Uzbeks and Tajiks are dominant over Pashtoons. They are not given their rights. So the inferiority complexes emerge and for this they are supporting Taliban in Afghanistan.

The constitutional reforms and proper implementation can play vital role in lessening ethnicity.

Media should play national role and national interest. There should be no propagation of ethnic identities.

These steps can't eliminate the possibilities of ethnic conflicts but can lessen them. Therefore , only a policy that is based on clean, consistent and democratic principles is realistic in the search for solution to the ethnic problem. Such a policy must demand from the perspective of removing all inequality, all privileges and all exclusiveness.