Do ethnic identities and differences inevitably lead to conflict?

Research Essay
Your second assignment consists of a research essay.
Essay Question: Do ethnic identities and differences inevitably lead to conflict?
Assessment criteria
In general, your coursework will be marked according to:
– Content – Relevance of the materials used; breadth of reading; evidence of a understanding of key issues and debates relevant to the module; relating theory/concepts to evidence/issues; analysis of theories and issues.
– Structure – Clarity of structure; logic of structure and arguments; clear introduction and conclusion.
– Presentation – Clarity of expression; sentence construction and grammar; appropriate citation of references and bibliographic format.
General Advice on Writing:
• Aim to read extensively. For the Review Essay you should read the three articles in question as well as supporting documents. For the essay you should be consulting a between 8 and 10 books and/or journal articles.
• Students will lose marks for excessive referencing from a limited number of sources.
• Do not rely on basic introductory textbooks.
• Your coursework should be properly referenced in a consistent style. Our department prefers the use of the Harvard System (see Library website for guidance). Whichever referencing system you use, please be consistent. Questions to think about
1. Is the concept of identity essential for the study of international relations?
2. “NATO has no role to play in the 21st century and should therefore be dissolved.” Discuss in relation to questions of identity?
3. Can you think of an event in global politics where a state’s or organisation’s identity has been crucial?
Essential Reading
Identity, Difference and Exclusion – Identity revisited
Session overview
While “mainstream” constructivists such as Alexander Wendt are mainly interested in using the concept of identity to explain the behaviour of states and international organisations, poststructuralists, feminists and so-called critical constructivists are more interested in how “identity” at a variety of levels (e.g. gender, ethnicity, religion, race), is used to exclude and eliminate what is perceived as “different” to oneself. This session will introduce this critical perspective in relation to a variety of issues in global politics, such as ethnic conflicts, the war on terror, and humanitarian intervention.
Questions to think about:
1. Is identity always based on exclusion? What does this mean for global politics?
2. Is gender as an identity issue relevant for the study of global politics?
3. Are ethnic conflicts, such as that which took place in Bosnia in the 1990s, inevitable? Or are they the result of identity/difference being used for political purposes?
Wibben, Annick T. R. (2013), ‘Who do we think we are?’ in Jenny Edkins and Maja Zehfuss (eds.), Global Politics: A New Introduction (2nd edition), London: Routledge.
Connolly, William E. (1989), ‘Identity and Difference in Global Politics’ in James Der Derian and Michael Shapiro (eds.), International/Intertextual Relations: Postmodern Readings of World Politics, Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books.
Campbell, David (1999) ‘Violence, Justice, and Identity in the Bosnian Conflict’ in Jenny Edkins, Nalini Persram and Veronique Pin-Fat (eds.), Sovereignty and Subjectivity, Boulder, Co.: Lynne Rienner.

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