The outbreak of numerous and simultaneous violent conflicts around the globe in the past decade resulted in immense human suffering and countless lost lives. In part, both results were aided by inactivity or by belated and often misplaced responses by the international community to the embattled groups. The apparent inability of the international community to respond firmly and purposefully to violent conflicts can be attributed partially to a general confusion and misunderstanding of the root causes of such conflicts. In some cases, the international community argued that violent conflicts could be attributed to irreconcilable ethnic differences, which, like earthquakes, are impossible to prevent or control.
At other times, the argument was that such conflicts were the results of evil leaders capable of engineering mass violent acts. Ethnic Conflict presents an interdisciplinary and comparative effort to explain the root causes of ethnic conflicts in terms of political, economic, and social common denominators that characterize all such conflicts. It seeks to dispel misplaced assumptions about violent domestic conflicts and, by providing a clearer picture of the mechanics of such conflicts, it hopes to assist in the process of conflict resolution and prevention.
S. A. Giannakos teaches at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. He spent most of the 1990s in the Balkans, researching and teaching nationalism and Balkan politics to students from the region.