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Fierce Entanglements

Communication and Ethnopolitical Conflict


Donald G. Ellis

The third in a trilogy on communication and ethnopolitical conflict, this book focuses on multicultural groups significantly divided by politics and religion. These groups have become «fiercely entangled»; that is, they are inescapably politically, socially, and culturally interdependent. Using the Israeli Palestinian conflict as the primary example, Ellis offers a timely analysis of how communication can begin to untangle these groups. Group differences lead to cultural differences – some of the most difficult aspects of a conflict. This book examines the nature of group differences as well as solutions-based conflict resolution that is embedded in theories of communication and democracy.
Ellis argues that resources are unequally distributed and differences are the norm. Politics is used to manage these differences and although communication is the fundamental tool of conflict management, there are other components in resolving conflicts that complement communication approaches. Dialogue and deliberation are posed as workable responses to untangling these differences and managing intractability.
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2. Group Rights


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Because much of the theory and justification that finds its way into these issues is rooted in political theory, we take up some of the issues in group rights and contextualize the perspective in this book by returning to the issues in group rights that energize this topic. Issues in multiculturalism and group rights are at the core of the problems and solutions posed in this volume. The issues around group rights are particularly important because multiculturalism is most associated with serious problems or conflicts rooted in questions about group rights. Typical issues are around groups versus individuals, and different types of groups such as political groups, ethnic groups, and cultural groups. There is a historical sense of liberal democracy becoming an ever widening arena of inclusion; that is, the direction of history has been toward increased recognition of groups and respect for differences. The significance of ethnicity in shaping personal and political identities and interests is at the core of multiculturalism. If it is true that the arc of liberalism is toward inclusion, then multiculturalists believe that language and history are a central part of individual identity and realization. It is the case that the individual rights that have been won in the name of liberalism over the last centuries are not yet sufficient for either the development of a complete individual or the necessary protections for minority group cultures. Some groups require special attention and the recognition of group rights if they are going...

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