German Press Responses to Anti-Jewish Violence in Germany and Russia (1881-1882)
Part I The Framework 21
21 Part I The Framework 1 Ethnic Violence: Antipathy, Justification and Social Legitimation Ethnic violence does not occur out of the blue. Various conditions are necessary for ethnic riots to happen. Whilst the focus of this book is, specifically, how anti- Semitic violence was perceived by the press in 1881 and 1882, reviewing some of the theoretical approaches to general conditions of ethnic violence31will assist in understanding some of the mechanisms leading to, and accompanying, ethnic violence whilst at the same time clarifying the assumptions on which this book is based. The discussion which follows is not intended to provide a comprehensive overview of existing theoretical scholarship; its focus will be on the aspects and approaches to ethnic violence which are of particular importance for this study. Scholars of ethnic violence disagree about the role of differing circumstances in ethnic riots. There are two prevailing approaches: the first, adopted mainly by rationalists or instrumentalists, emphasises general conditions, especially eco- nomic factors, while the second, generally propounded by primordialists (or eth- nic conflict scholars) focuses more on particular aspects–especially ethnic con- flict, prejudice, and the social legitimation of violence–as the decisive causes for ethnic violence.32 These two approaches have significant implications for the question as to why particular ethnic groups are attacked while others are not. 31 It is beyond the scope of this book to examine some of the broader issues of ethnic violence such as the direct causes of the violence, or the relationship between ideolo- gies...
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