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INTRA-COMMUNAL AND INTER-COMMUNAL DIMENSIONS OF CONFLICT AND PEACE IN LEBANON

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2002

Extract

Recent contributions to the study of ethnic conflict, which attempt to explain why and under what circumstances members of ethnic groups, or communities,1 mobilize and engage in violence, include several works that are inspired by the “security dilemma”—a basic concept of the realist tradition of international theory.2 Barry Posen, for instance, argues that ethnic groups behave like sovereign states in the international system and are influenced by their proximity to other, similar groups in the same way that states are affected by their neighbors. Because security is the primary concern of these communities, each tries to enhance its security by strengthening its position. The actions the community takes, however, trigger the response of other groups, whose members intrinsically view it as offensive, regardless of its motives. A paradox thus emerges, as “what one does to enhance one's own security causes reactions that, in the end, can make one less secure.”3

Type
Research Article
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© 2002 Cambridge University Press

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