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Horizontal Inequalities as a cause of conflict: findings and policy conclusions

Time (GMT +00) 12:30 14:00
Hero image description: Horizontal Inequalities as a cause of conflict Image credit:Oxford University Image license:ODI given rights


Frances Stewart - Editor, Horizontal Inequalities and Conflict: Understanding Group Violence in Multiethnic Societies

Armin Langer - Director, Centre for Research on Peace and Development (CRPD), University of Leuven

Rosemary Thorpe - University of Oxford


Christopher Cramer - Head, Departement of Development Studies, SOAS

Charlotte Morris  - Social Development Adviser,  DFID

Alina Rocha Menocal - Research Fellow, Politics and Governance Programme, ODI


Andrew Norton - Director of Research, ODI


The Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity (CRISE)  was initiated in 2003 (funded by DFID) with the aim of  studying multiethnic societies, investigating why some experience political instability and violent conflict, often labelled as ‘ethnic’, while others manage to solve disputes relatively peacefully. This event will cover the major findings of the Centre. The six books being presented to the meeting cover the major findings of the Centre.

The first book - Horizontal Inequalities and Conflict: Understanding Group Violence in Multiethnic Societies – draws on extensive evidence to show that horizontal inequalities can be a potent source of conflict. The finding has important policy implications. 

The case of Peru is developed in Thorp and Paredes, Ethnicity and the Persistence of Inequality: The Case of Peru, which shows the long run origins and persistence of inequalities between ladinos and indigenous peoples in Peru , frequently erupting in violence. 

Three books explore policy in more depth: one in relation to post-conflict societies - Horizontal Inequalities and Post-Conflict Development ;  another (Affirmative Action in Plural Societies: International Experiences) reports on experience of affirmative action around the world, as a way of correcting horizontal inequalities.

The third - The Developmental Challenge of Mining and Oil - deals with the special challenge of managing mineral resources – which are a mixed blessing, potentially providing finance for development, but also often a source of conflict and underdevelopment. 

Collective grievances, such as generated by inequalities, help explain why some societies are conflict-prone. But they do not explain why particular individuals decide to fight. This question is covered by Guichaoua’s edited volume,  Understanding Collective Political Violence, investigating motivation in different parts of the world, and exploring differences across genders.