Anarchy Within
The Security Dilemma between Ethnic
Groups in Emerging Anarchy

By Erik Melander
June 1999
Uppsala University Press
ISBN: 91-506-1329-4
254 pages, Illustrated, 6 1/2" x 9 1/2"
$55.00 Paper Original

This doctoral dissertation is a study of the Security Dilemma between ethnic groups in conflict. The essence of the Security Dilemma is that vulnerable and fearful actors through efforts to enhance their own security undermine the security of others. This causal mechanism is examined at the theoretical level with the help of a game model. The explanatory power of the Security Dilemma as a cause of large-scale ethnic warfare and cleansing is corroborated in a statistical test. Separatist grievances are used to indicate low utility for the status quo, and are found to increase the risk of large-scale ethnic violence. Democracy is assumed to be associated with lower levels of fear, and is found to reduce the risk of large-scale ethnic violence. Ethnoterritorial dominance reflects whether the ethnic groups in conflict live separated or intermingled. First-strike advantages are assumed to be greater in areas of intermingled populations. As predicted, intermingled populations are found to be associated with an increased risk of large-scale violence. In sum, the results indicate that the Security Dilemma is highly relevant for understanding the causes of large-scale ethnic violence.

Uppsala University Department of Peace & Conflict Research, Report No. 52

Return to Coronet Books main page