Investigating the Link Between Ethnicity and Civil War Onset: A Case Analysis of Ethnic Minority Groups in India

Open Access
Author:
Chroman, Sara Jill
Area of Honors:
Political Science
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Douglas William Lemke, Thesis Supervisor
  • Michael Barth Berkman, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Ethnicity
  • ELF Index
  • Civil War Onset
Abstract:
Scholars have diverged sharply in their opinions about the link or proposed link between ethnicity and the onset of civil war. Research has yielded diverging results: some studies have shown that ethnicity is a statistically significant determinant of the onset of civil war and others have determined that ethnicity is not a statistically significant variable. These studies have primarily utilized statistical methodologies measuring ethnicity using the ethno-linguistic fractionalization (ELF) index as well as the N* index. While these studies warrant attention, little research has been conducted using a case study approach to explore the speculated link between ethnicity and the onset of civil war. The goal of this study is to employ carefully selected comparative case studies to determine if there is a link between ethnicity and the onset of civil war. In order to find answers to this pertinent question, data from identified minority groups in India over the period from 1975 to the present was collected and analyzed. Results suggest the existence of a link between ethnicity and the onset of civil war.