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Structure and Dynamics

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The validity of partition as a solution to ethnic conflict


This paper examines the effectiveness of partition in ceasing violence during ethnic conflict. Wigmore-Shepherd’s 2012 study argued that ethnic conflict is often due to the congruence between ethnic and political identity, allowing political conflicts to become ‘ethnicised’ and ethnic conflict to eclipse the original political dispute. Therefore this paper hypothesises that ethnic homogenisation via partition can allow the original political conflict to re-emerge in a potentially violent manner. The hypothesis is tested by an agent based model adapted from the model used in the 2012 study. The model finds that in the instances where there is not a perfect congruence between ethnic and political identity, politically motivated violence does persist in the ethnic enclaves.  It was found that a lower level of congruence would result in a higher level of post-partition violence. Furthermore the act of migration itself can encourage spikes of ethnically motivated violence and agents of different ethnicity cross paths to reach their enclave.

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