The South China Sea- Are China’s claims finished?


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The South China Sea is perhaps one of the more contested territories in the world, connecting the Chinese and Southeast Asian “security spheres.”[1] The six claimants to the area include China, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Brunei.[2] The archipelago, known for its material resources and treacherous waters,[3] contains “over 230 islets, reefs, shoals and sand banks.”[4] The prevention of maritime or naval conflict is essential as naval action in and around the Spratly Islands would likely halt all trade and communication through sea-lanes in the surrounding area[5] and prolonged conflict would have an increasingly dramatic effect on the economies and diplomatic strength of many Southeast Asian states.[6] The intractable conflict over the South China Sea has continued over hundreds of years with little intervention. The Permanent Court of Arbitration has recently provided much needed clarity to the UN’s position on the dispute.

Some claimants to the islands, like Vietnam and China, have based their territorial claims on history predating the French occupation of the Spratly Islands.[7] China reasserted its sovereignty on a map in 1950 with a Nine Dash Line surrounding most of the South China Sea and installed a naval presence on the islands in 1988. [8] This sudden escalation in Chinese foreign policy to include military power is attributed to the discovered potential for the profitable extraction of a projected 17.7 billion tons of oil.[9] The Chinese White Paper on Military Strategy calls the technological advancements in oil drilling “profound changes… in the international situation… [and the] Asia- Pacific geostrategic landscape.”[10] China attempted to demonstrate its sovereignty over the South China Sea, and its resources, through UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), which would give its claim international legitimacy.

On 11 July 2016, The Permanent Court of Arbitration, an international tribunal on maritime disputes set up by the United Nations under UNCLOS, ruled in favor of the Philippines against China. The tribunal declared that China’s claims to the islands, based on its history, are false.[11] The ruling indicates that China is no longer able to run military exercises in its previously cordoned off areas in the South China Sea,[12] only one day after China’s maritime military exercises had concluded.[13] It also ruled China has violated the Philippines’ sovereignty and destroyed the natural condition of the sea.[14] Although the tribunal’s ruling is not binding, it sets a modern precedent of international intervention in the South China Sea that is not for strategic or economic gain. The Spratly Islands conflict has long been regarded as intractable, with a global power at its center, but the tribunal’s ruling has made clear that the UN, and its member countries, seeks a solution and China cannot force its way to victory.

The 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is the only “common legal framework” in the region that governs maritime activities.[15] UNCLOS was created to help resolve conflicts like the Spratly Islands dispute.[16] The Convention also expanded states’ “territorial waters to 12 nautical miles and… Exclusive Economic Zones to 200 nautical miles.”[17] China is unwilling to tolerate other countries’ operations in its EEZ causing the Chinese President Xi Jinping to reject the UN tribunal’s ruling.[18] As the tribunal ruled directly against China’s Nine Dash Line claim to most of the South China Sea, its claims to all territory in the South China Sea, including the Spratly Islands, are disputed making the conflict more fractious.[19]

Legal disputes, nationalism, and tense diplomatic relations have made the conflict in the South China Sea multifaceted and impossible to resolve to the satisfaction of all six claimants.[20] While China refuses to acknowledge the verdict, the ruling provides an international stance on the conflict and a balance to China’s supremacy in the region and violation of smaller states’ sovereignties. This indicates that the UN may place its weight against China to force a resolution, or at least a diffusion of tension, to the conflict.



[1] Odgaard, Liselotte. (2001) Deterrence and Co-operation in the South China Sea. Contemporary Southeast Asia, Vol. 23(20) pp. 292-306, p, 292

[2] BA, Alice D. (2011) Staking Claims and Making Waves in the South China Sea: How Troubled Are the Waters? Contemporary Southeast Asia, 33(3), pp. 269-291, p.269

[3] Vietnam. Bô ngoại giao. (1975) White paper on the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands / Republic of Vietnam, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Saigon: The Ministry, p.67

[4] Acharya, Amitav. (2001) Constructing a security community in Southeast Asia. London: Routledge p.133

[5] Bennett, Michael. (1992) The People’s Republic of China and the Use of International Law in the Spratly Islands Dispute. Stanford Journal of International Law, 28(425). pp.425-450, pp.425-6.

[6] Smith, Esmond D. (1994) “China’s Aspirations in the Spratly Islands, p.287

[7] Marlay, Ross. (1997) China, the Philippines, and the Spratly Islands, Asian Affairs, 23(4), pp. 195-210, p.201

[8] Smith, Esmond D. (1994) “China’s Aspirations in the Spratly Islands,” pp.279-80

[9] Marlay, Ross. (1997) China, the Philippines, and the Spratly Islands, Asian Affairs, 23(4), pp. 195-21, p.200

[10] Zhang, Tao. “State Council Information Office Issues “China’s Military Strategy”—Beijing’s 1st White Paper on Military Strategy.” Andrew S. Erickson: China Analysis from Original Sources. May 26, 2015.

[11] NA. (2016) South China Sea: Tribunal backs case against China brought by Philippines. BBC. (July 12) [Accessed from:

[12] Molleman, Steve. (2016) China illegally cordoned off a huge part of the South China Sea for military drills—and will likely do so again. Quartz. (July 12) [Accessed from:

[13] NA. (2016) South China Sea: Tribunal backs case against China brought by Philippines. BBC. (July 12) [Accessed from:

[14] Ibid

[15] BA, Alice D. (2011) Staking Claims and Making Waves in the South China Sea: How Troubled Are the Waters? p.271

[16] Furtado, Xavier. (1999) International Law and the Dispute over the Spratly Islands: Whither UNCLOS? Contemporary Southeast Asia, 21(3), pp. 386-404, p.387

[17] Sanqiang, Jian (1997) Multinational Oil Companies And The Spratly Dispute, Journal of Contemporary China, 6(16), pp.591-601, p.592

[18] Hunt, Katie. (2016) South China Sea: Court rules in favor of Philippines over China. CNN. July 12. [Accessed from:

[19] Ibid

[20] BA, Alice D. (2011) Staking Claims and Making Waves in the South China Sea: How Troubled Are the Waters? p.269


WAC-DC Embassy Series Event: Embassy of Israel


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On June 28, 2016, the World Affairs Council – Washington, DC hosted an event at the Israeli Embassy. This was the council’s first event with the state of Israel in its thirty-six year history. Ambassador Dermer attended the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating with a degree in Finance and Management and Oxford University with a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. He was appointed ambassador to the United States of America on September 30, 2013.

The CEO and President of WAC-DC, Tony Culley-Foster, opened with a brief, yet comprehensive history of the state. He explained the UN Partition Plan to terminate the British Mandate, the formal establishment of the state, and the symbolism of the flag. He focused on the educational programs provided to Jewish youth and the recent improvement of Israeli-Turkish relations. He expressed hope of a lasting agreement between Israel and Palestine and reiterated that the World Affairs Council is a nonpartisan organization.

The Ambassador opened by recounting a quote from a previous meeting, “it’s not important just to hope for the best, but to work for the best.” He noted that Israel is an “innovation nation” that is successful because the people have a lot of “Chutzpah,” and that this is perhaps the reason the country’s name means “He who struggles with God.” He also joked that the presidential candidates would likely be ready to run for the Knesset after a few more election cycles like this one. He claimed that although the Knesset elections were so boisterous, the members often ate together after calling each other names on the floor.

Israel spends 6% of its GDP on defense, while the US spends 4%. The US contributes 20% of Israel’s defense needs and, now, no economic assistance. During Netanyahu’s first term as Prime Minister, he guided contributions from the US from 1.2 billion US dollars a year, to zero. He explained that the military needs of a country are a function of your enemy’s capabilities. Israel is a bulwark against militant Islam. He joked “We are the little Satan, you are the big Satan, and Europe is somewhere in the middle. He claimed that the US was safer from militant Islam the more allies, like Israel; it has in the Middle East. Israeli is of growing importance in terms of cyber power and it is less isolated than it has ever been. This is helped by Israel being at the forefront of providing assistance in Haiti and Nepal.

He claimed the Palestinian Authority wants a state. Thus, the Palestinian cause ends with the end of Israel or the beginning of a state. He said indicators of improvement are found in the youth of a nation and whether or not they are being taught peace. He asserted Israel is not the cure for, or the cause of, anti-Semitism, but it does give Jews a tool to fight back.

The Ambassador ended by saying the US could be better or worse facilitators of negotiations, but that the situation between Israel and Palestine could not be affected by US actions alone. The audience was comprised of WAC-DC members and representatives of diplomatic delegations.

WAC-DC Ambassador Series: Ambassador of Iraq, H.E. Lukman Faily


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On the first of June 2016, the World Affairs Council-Washington, DC had the honor of hosting His Excellency Lukman Faily, Ambassador of Iraq to the United States to discuss his three year posting in Washington. This was his last public on-the-record appearance as Ambassador in Washington.  Prior to his posting in DC, Ambassador Faily served as Iraq’s Ambassador to Japan, he actively opposed Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, led the Iraqi exile community in the United Kingdom, and he continues to aid organizations focused on the Iraqi diaspora. The event was held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC and covered by domestic and international media, including live coverage by C-SPAN and C-SPAN Radio.

WAC-DC President & CEO Tony Culley-Foster opened the event by providing context to the audience – comprised of the Council’s members, students, young professionals and former members of Congress –  of Iraq’s historic conflicts. He explained the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which just passed its 100th anniversary, which established artificial borders in the Middle East, effectively creating Iraq. Tony Culley-Foster asserted that the US and Iraq are allies, and the lives lost in the country since 2003 are a strong symbol of this alliance.

The Ambassador opened his remarks by reflecting upon when he first arrived in DC three years ago. He noted that the Washington-based rhetoric about Iraq and the Middle East was not deep enough for the American public to truly understand the problems facing the Middle East. The Ambassador said the ‘drivers’ of the conflict must be understood in order to maintain productive discussion. He explained that it was the duty of world leaders to manage the multifaceted nature of conflict, citing nuclear, resources, cyber security, displacement, and terrorism as global challenges. The demography and geography of Iraq, he claimed, made the state prone to conflict, as evidenced by history; however, he was emphatic that these were regional and global issues. The Arab Spring, for example, crossed state boundaries and was evidence of the social contract between the people and the government being “fractured.” He insisted that inactivity was not a response to this grievance and new agreements were needed within the region and the state, as it seems to be the epicenter of conflict. The Ambassador also addressed the controversial issue of partitioning his country, nothing that no Iraqi wants a 100% pure Sunni, Shia or Kurdish Iraq. “Iraqis coexisted together long before Saddam Hussein,” he said.

The Ambassador spoke in depth about the threat of ISIS, or Daesh, suggesting that terrorism was a phenomenon arising from individuals attempt to link their position with history. Other countries must be willing to invest in finding the roots of their motivation, he claimed, as a policy of containment has been historically proven as ineffective. He warned that the US is at a crossroads in the foreign policy approach and the next president will have to decide which path to maintain. It must also be determined how the US administration will interact with the people of Iraq, as well as the government. The current situation is a zero-sum game due to a lack of open discussion between countries; and he asserted that Daesh closed that space needed to facilitate open discussion in politics.

The Ambassador also discussed Mary Kaldor’s New Wars Thesis (2011) and implied that to stem Daesh’s new mode of violent non-state warfare, international cooperation is required. He encouraged the audience to look at the root causes of conflict, be positive, and look to contain the damages, while observing that some cannot be reversed. These damages he referred to included communities that have been broken by conflict. He continued to say that the US and Iraq have many similarities, not only that they are fighting a war together, but that they share “blood, sweat, and resources.” At the end of his last public appearance,  he said his hope was that his lasting impact would be to have made the US-Iraq relationship more predictable in the future.

Jessica Ashooh, Deputy Director of the Middle East Strategy Task Force at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East served as discussant.

WAC-DC Foreign Policy Series: Of Referendums and Recalls: Political and Economic Crisis in Venezuela


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On June 21, 2016, the World Affairs Council – Washington, DC hosted Ambassador Patrick Duddy, Dr. Michael McCarthy, and Eric Farnsworth for a Foreign Policy Panel Series: “Of Referendums and Recalls: Political and Economic Crisis in Venezuela”. Patrick Duddy served as the Ambassador to the Bolivar Republic of Venezuela from 2007 to 2010 and is one of the State Department’smost senior Latin American Specialists. Dr. Michael McCarthy wrote his dissertation on Venezuela, supported by Fulbright and Inter-American Foundation scholarships and is currently a Research Fellow at American University. Eric Farnsworth moderated the discussion held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. He is currently serving as Vice President of the Americas Society and Council of the Americas in Washington, DC.

WAC-DC President and CEO Tony Culley-Foster provided introductory remarks regarding Venezuela’s history. Venezuela emerged from the collapse of Bolivar’s Columbia in 1830 and has been a democracy since 1958. It has a population of thirty million people and is approximately two times the size of California. Hugo Chavez became the founder of the socialist party in 2007 and increased authoritarian control. His presidency strained relations with the US, and shortly thereafter, he ousted Ambassador Duddy in 2008, although both the US and Venezuelan Embassies have remained open in the absence of Ambassadors. In 2015, Obama imposed sanctions against people responsible for breeches in human rights; and US Secretary of State John Kerry recently made a speech at the Organization of American States to support a Recall and Referendum to end seventeen years of socialist rule and release of political prisoners. Chavez also increased the country’s dependency on oil. As a result, the price of oil has plummeted and so too have exports and imports of basic goods. The government has instituted rolling blackouts to help conserve energy including instituting a two-day work week to save energy.

To provide further context, Farnsworth called Venezuela “a country on the ropes” and claimed he only saw a dire and worsening internal situation. Ambassador Duddy supported that, noting there are two crises in Venezuela: political and humanitarian. The political crisis revolves around countries, like the US, respecting the Venezuelan constitution while calling for Recall and Referendum. The humanitarian crisis affects the every-day citizen with shortages in medication, basic needs and electricity.  He asserted that the economic difficulties in Venezuela are more severe than the same trends in Latin America because Chavez’s economic model, that has been sustained by Maduro. The country is suffering extraordinary inflation with 180% last year, causing the currency to collapse and as a result exports have stopped flowing into the country.

Dr. McCarthy explained that Bolivarian model is high risk and dependent upon high petroleum production. Thus, the drop in oil production has caused the economy to follow its downward turn. In addition, the panelists spoke about the last of farming in the country, because the Venezuelan government focused its resources on petroleum, instead of agriculture. The Maduro government has dropped in popularity as humanitarian issues are on the rise, which is likely a direct result from the oil crisis and which drives everyday life for most of the country’s population. The authoritarian government and the Chavismo model of economics have gone unchecked since the beginning of Chavez’s rule. The Under Secretary for Political Affairs Tom Shannon’s presence in Caracas could make legitimate inroads to better diplomatic relations, a sign that the anti-Americanism in the Venezuelan administration may be coming to an end. OAS Secretary General deserves credit as a “watchdog for democracy,” said Mr. McCarthy.

Ambassador Duddy claimed that Recall and Referendum is an indication that the US government wants to make sure to focus on what can be done between and among the Venezuelan government and people. The US is still Venezuela’s largest trading partner, thus committed to helping Venezuela, especially with the humanitarian crisis.

The audience was comprised of WAC-DC members, correspondents of the press, representatives of diplomatic delegations, and members of the general public. The event was recorded for broadcast on our television program World Affairs TODAY.

Final Reflective Summary Report for the St Andrews Award (for employability)



I completed the strands for the St Andrews Award in the following order: Giving to Others, Extending your Horizons, Working for your Future, and Contributing to University Life. The St Andrews Award has supported my development and has encouraged me to complete regular tasks with a different mindset and to seek out new tasks that will help me in the future. For the first time, became the president of a university society and learned all of the responsibilities accompanying that role. In the specific case of Anza, the role of president came paired with the role of Student Ambassador to the NGO. This gave me experience working with an NGO, which improved my CV and my understanding of the relationships between NGOs and universities. The St Andrews Award will foster my development in this by encouraging me to create strong relationships with my superiors within the NGO that will aid me in attaining a career in that sector.

The St Andrews Award encouraged me to improve my employability. By applying for it, I learned to articulate the skills I developed during my internship with U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, as society president and student ambassador of Anza, as a volunteer with Riding with the Disabled, and as a culturally aware person to future employers. I became more driven to find channels of work that will help me in the future. By participating in the St Andrews Award, I achieved a greater understanding of my strengths and weaknesses and how they will affect my future career. I aspire to overcome my weaknesses and become a more rounded person for my efforts.

While completing my first strand of the St Andrews Award, Giving to Others, with Riding with the Disabled I expected to acquire a variety of social skills would help me in my future career. These included punctuality, demonstrating responsibility, and commitment. My responsibilities as an RDA volunteer included setting up for sessions by preparing the arena and tacking up the horses and both leading the horses and walking beside the riders to ensure they followed directions and participated actively in the exercises set my the instructor.

I established four goals when I began volunteering with Riding with the Disabled and I achieved them successfully. Firstly, I aimed to assist in preparing for the sessions every week, which included setting up the arena, making sure the horses are ready on time, and ensuring that all necessary pieces of equipment were in place. Executing these activities correctly helped to ensure the session ran smoothly, safely, and on time. I achieved this and was allotted additional the responsibility of tacking up horses on my own. Secondly, I stayed for both sessions of RDA, which allowed for a faster turnover between sessions and provided the riders with a sense of continuity. Thirdly, I completed my “green card” indicating that I attained all of the necessary training to volunteer independently. Fourth and finally, I studied how the instructors formulated their plans for each session. Two instructors gained their certification while I was volunteering, so I was able to see the formation process of the session plans by studying their progress.

During my time volunteering at RDA, I was taught how to be flexible within my role in a structured work environment. Further, RDA helped me build my skill set for working around horses and with people who might be unfamiliar with horses. I experienced the importance of consistency and communication to ensure there were enough volunteers to safely conduct each session in a timely manner.

Whilst completing the ‘Extending your Horizons’ strand, I attempted to grasp the intricacies of travel and culture. I hoped to be able to interact more with business people, instead I learned more about the ways in which culture influences people and how working people manage in cosmopolitan cities that are often frequented by non-business people. I maintained four goals: to understand new ways of thinking that were directly linked to culture, to experience culture and understand how it influences individuals, to understand how locals, or residents, work in culturally dependent environments, and to successfully coordinate transportation and itineraries for myself and for part of the way, a friend.

I was most successful in achieving my goal of how the populations of local and business people interact around non-professional groups. I observed that they accounted for tourists, solicitors, and others into their daily routines by taking different routes. This enabled me to gain some insight into what sort of working environment I might enjoy in the future as I am attracted to cities with history and culture that often attract holiday goers. It also proved my theory that it is possible to maintain professional, yet relaxed relationships despite any setting.

I accomplished coordinating my own transportation, after a few setbacks, and organizing my travel on a trip. My mistakes in reading the train schedules taught me to plan ahead. Further, I coordinated with various airlines during the strike on the day I intended to leave Italy.

I acquired insight as to how culture influences professionals during this two-week period. In Luxembourg, where the number of languages spoken was very clearly a product of the country’s history and location, this was particularly applicable. Throughout my travels, I observed business people walking to work and having leisurely lunch breaks in comparison to what I have noticed in the US and the UK. I also noticed many more people taking business calls outside or over long lunches out of the office.

This opportunity has not only broadened my horizons, but it has informed me as to a type of place I would like to live and work in in the future. I consider traveling as a form of education and I certainly hope to travel more during my studies at St Andrews. As I am studying International Relations, I need the education from travelling and from academia to succeed in my future professional environment.

While interning for six weeks in the Office of U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, I built contacts for my future career. I made connections for future jobs and internships through networking with my co-workers, learned how Congressmen work with their constituents in their home states, assisted the Senator’s constituents with their needs regarding federal agencies, and helped the staffers with secretarial duties such as copying, faxing, and digitising past documents. Others will know I have accomplished my goal by the change in my professional attitude, the presence of professional connections, and by my competence to complete tasks around an office.

My job was predominately to answer the phone and digitise files. When answering the phone, we provide constituents with phone numbers, information on the Senator’s opinion on specific issues, and contact information for the staffers. I learned and practiced my skills using Intranet Quorum, which is a secure software that stores contacts and messages. This will probably be useful throughout my career as I may utilize similar software.

I had the opportunity to learn more about grant writing. I learned the process that went into processing applications, writing letters in response, and filing applications with outside sources. This will benefit me in the future as I plan on working for an NGO and with my yearlong internship with Anza, an NGO.

This internship taught me customer service. When a caller was requesting information, it was essential for me to know the most current news reports, and how to present the information to aggravated constituents. Many constituents wanted to present their concerns on particular issues or have their questions answered; however, some would like to express their frustration only. Many callers confused Senate issues with state or local issues, meaning that we couldn’t help them. The necessary transfer to a different office frustrated many callers, but many also understood the necessity.

I added the staffers and the caseworkers on LinkedIn and asked for their contact information. Further, my fellow interns endorsed some of my skills and wrote me recommendations on the site and I reciprocated. I believe this was a very important step to strengthening my profile, my CV, and my job prospects. I asked the Chief of Staff’s Executive Assistant to give me advice on my resume. All of these were important steps in making connections towards my future career.

I grew from this experience by learning about how offices such as the Senator’s respond to current news and handle their constituent’s complaints and concerns. I also gained much experience in customer service and dealing with difficult people. Further, I increased my experience with new computer software and secretarial duties that I’m sure to use in my future career.

I have become President and Student Ambassador of Anza, a charitable society, which I helped start up as its Vice President last year. This position has allowed me to contribute to university life by creating a new society that both provides students with the experience of working with a UK registered charity and provides the president of the society with a yearlong internship. A Student Ambassador works 10 hours per week promoting and fundraising for Anza. I have weekly reports and send them to the Student Fundraising Adviser, Ani Cammack. I have control over the Anza email account in order to communicate with businesses around St Andrews to encourage them to help us fundraise.

I have worked to recruit people to go on the Moroccan Venture in August of 2016 with St Andrews Anza. This is a 10-day trek through the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco. I have recruited four people and myself to go on this venture. We will begin fundraise through Virgin Money Giving. I set up my account and wrote out instructions for how to set up a VMG account for the other attendees. As individuals going on the venture are beginning raise money from family and friends over the summer, I am keeping up with them and recording the amounts they are putting into their VMG accounts. Both recruiting people and guiding them through the process of fundraising has helped me understand people’s needs throughout a complicated and delicate process of fundraising for an organization. I hope to work for an NGO or a non-profit in the future, so this is an excellent experience for me.

I have planned and prepared for events during Fresher’s week and throughout the rest of the year. I succeeded in hosting two events each month, which helped promote our society. These events made money for the society in addition to charging for membership. They have also taught me how to gage interests in events for my future career and how to engage people in conversation. This will be an important skill to utilize in interviews and with day-to-day activities in the work place.

I have been learning how to work with committee members and the student union. The process of becoming a university society was started last year. I hoped to have it finished by September or October, but this process proved both time consuming and difficult I did not finish this goal by the time I had completed this strand, however, there is only one element left and I have complete confidence it will be finished by the time my term with Anza is over. Working with a committee taught me how to schedule meetings and encourage attendance. This will aid me in my future career if I manage a group of people or work in a group environment.

The St Andrews Award has encouraged me to advocate for myself and to attain positions that will attract future employers. It has also given me the confidence to apply for new opportunities and the ability to articulate who I aspire to be in the future.







What are the chief characteristics of ‘deeply divided societies’?

The chief characteristics of deeply divided societies are contested, as there is no single definition of the term.[1] Frequently occurring characteristics include “class, caste, religion, language, race, ethnicity, and clan… settler versus native; immigrant versus indigenous population;” and other binaries.[2] The question of identity for both individuals and groups is almost always a defining factor. “Nationalism… combinations of religious and ethnic conflicts… and religious versus secular forces” usurp the previous identity and become the binding elements of the group.[3] These characteristics have developed from binaries as the result of the cultural memory of communities clashing. “All societies… [are] differentiated along class or communal lines or along both;” however, when individuals are driven by these divisions to politics, “conflict groups and organizations” arise.[4] The creation of political organizations formed along divisive lines is largely due to the influence of politicians and political aggressors who seek to inflame conflict for personal gain, or simply fail to manage conflict without entrenching the division between communities. Carment asserted that the state and the social realm are so intertwined “the state cannot claim that distributive problems are not political problems and must bear responsibility for these internal conflicts.”[5] Therefore, the principal characteristics of deeply divided societies are determined by the impact of political leaders and their influence produces great variability within divided communities.


The term “deeply divided,” originated in Eric Nordlinger’s book Conflict Regulation in Deeply Divided Societies and can be used more or less interchangeably with “plural,” “vertically segmented,” and “communally divided.”[6] These supplementary terms do not provide illumination towards a cohesive definition. Lustick claimed a divided society is a product of “boundaries between rival groups… [that are] sharp enough so that membership is clear, and with a few exceptions, unchangeable.”[7] He asserts that a characteristic of a divided society is that it contains un-malleable groups and conflict is deep rooted and existing for generations. Lederach defined deeply divided societies as “societies experiencing armed conflict at one of the three levels delineated by Wallenstein and Axell.”[8] These three levels are minor armed conflict, intermediate armed conflict, and war; connoting armed physical conflict, rather than solely sociological differences. [9] Du Toit wrote that four “variables” define a divided society including: the extent of the “opposing communities’” sense of culture, the “political releva[nce] of their culture, the “range of issues that are politicized along ethnic lines, and… the existence of other social cleavages that are also casual actors in political conflict.”[10] He was focused upon the social side of the division, contrasting Lederach’s assertion. Horowitz found “severely divided societies lie at one end of a spectrum. At the other end are fluid societies that have long contained groups whose descendants have blended into the general population.”[11] His explanation underscores the importance of politicians and government in the creation and understanding of a divided society in addition to the tendency of divided societies to have varied populations. Adrian Guelke denoted the term as “where ‘conflict exists along a well-entrenched fault line that is recurrent and endemic and that contains the potential for violence between the segments.”[12] Guelke’s is the most concise definition and covers both Lederach’s and Lustick’s qualifications as well as the social and political spectrum.


“Nationalist ideology tries to fill… [the] void inside” individuals who have had their identity encroached upon by their communal identity.[13] Ignatieff claimed that “nationalism does not simply “express” a preexistent identity: it “constitutes” a new one.”[14] Nationalism is more than a community’s feeling that has been suppressed; it must be spawned by a community, cultivated by grievances, and politicized into rebellion. In his book, The Warrior’s Honor, he interviewed a Serb foot soldier who struggled to articulate the difference between a Serb and a Croat and the initial cause of the conflict in Former Yugoslavia. His rhetoric is torn between declaring that “Croats and Serbs have nothing in common,” the source of the conflict is a class struggle between the two ethnic groups, and the admittance that Serbs and Croats “actually all the same” despite the differences between their communities.[15] There are “civilizational antagonisms” expressed within his claims, but one would expect someone fighting within a conflict to be capable discerning the difference between “myth and experience, fantasy and reality” and seek out its true source.[16] Stories and folklore have imbedded themselves into his, and the common, perception of the conflict and clouded his judgment of his neighbors. These distortions come originate with the political leaders within Former Yugoslavia in their attempt to create a cohesive military on all sides.


The soldier perceived his identity as “a relational term,” indicating multiple times that the identities of Serb and Croat are little more than mutually exclusive, “but when difference is relational, it is also an empty tautology.”[17] He, and many others in both communities, could not pinpoint whom he identifies as only what he could not. The soldier is not fighting for his own values, rather against the values of the ‘other,’ or ‘the enemy-other,’ as the Croats came to be understood in relation to his community. Other than this empty, relational difference, “he is fighting for… his own survival,” which he perceives as being threatened solely by ‘the enemy-other.’[18] His existence was secure prior to the conflict, which was not created of his own volition, despite his suffering of the consequences. Like many of his fellow fighters, “he now lives in a community of fear, [but its cause] is ultimately… mysterious to him.”[19] He understands that helped create fear within and between communities, but he cannot remember exactly what or who incited him to do so. As Guelke quoted Nordlinger, “a conflict is intense (or a society deeply divided) when a large number of conflict group members… manifest strongly held antagonistic beliefs and emotions towards the opposing segments.”[20] The differences between communities constituted more of their identities than their similarities. The community the soldier is fighting to remain a part of is solely defined by the fact that he is fighting against its other half. The exclusion of all parts of the identity of another group and all members of that group both prolongs the conflict and prevents the divide from integrating post-conflict. Thus, for “Freud… nationalism is a kind of narcissism… a nationalist… takes ‘minor differences’ -different in themselves- and transforms them into major differences” that create a divide.[21] Politicians magnify minor differences to use as tools of division with the objective of provoking conflict and validating the separation of societies. These differences are transformed into of individual and communal identity in many forms; one of these is ethnicity, which often factors into nationality as it provides a clear, immobile, historically evidenced line of division.


Nationalism is the most broad and frequent characteristic of a deeply divided society as it harbors “a strong intellectual… [and] emotive appeal.[22] It is also an “instrument” of political leaders used for “political mobilization and territorial organization.”[23] Nationalism is an expansive characteristic that is composed of many divisive elements including ethnicity and language. Ethno-nationalism, in which “the ethnic community should form the basis for the governance of independent states,” is one distinct illustration of nationalism taking hold within lines drawn by ethnicity.[24] Nationalism constitutes a divide between the nations that gain or lose power in government, but it does not determine where the division is drawn. Ethno-nationalism directly opposes nationalism within artificially drawn state lines. Despite the inclination to divide a state into homogenous communities, as seen in many stable European states, it has clearly failed in cases such as the Former Yugoslavia where geographic divisions are not preexisting between divided communities. Ethno-nationalism “originated separately in many parts of the globe… and continues to have… presence in (parts of) Germany… in Africa, in the Middle East, in South and Southeast Asia, and in Latin America.”[25] Thus, one must reject the assumption that “nationalist war is an eruption of tribal hatreds and ancient enmities” as it stems from political power imbalance between communities within what are perceived as superficially drawn boundaries.[26]

“Ethnic cleavages are especially prone to lead to political conflict… in the form of ethno-nationalism” as they typically include two clearly defined binary groups and a politically advantaged majority opposing disadvantaged minority group.[27] It is salient to note that binaries can be formed, in the case of the Former Yugoslavia, by the binding together of two ethnicities against another.[28] Politicians encourage clashes between ethnicities to gain power. This is a key way some political parties garner support against their opposition for either individual political gain, or for the benefit of their standing in parliaments. Further, by intertwining an issue with the goals of a specific community, a politician or a political group is guaranteed greater longevity and loyalty. Their rhetoric encourages political opinions to lean towards the more extreme ends of the political spectrum, where violence is found.[29] The existence of two or more ethnicities that are made up of a distinct, unchanging set of individuals is not the cause for concern. Rather, it is the stagnant nature of these groups “preclude[s] constructive engagement and [cannot] overcome the politics of the zero-sum-game.”[30] In “post-conflict agreements,” especially in states such as “Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia,” ethnicity has been institutionalized.[31] It is a part of “state institutions, including legislature, executive, judiciary and public administration,” entrenching ethnic divisions and reinforcing minority fears.[32] It has also been institutionalized in states such as Lebanon in the process of conflict resolution. The National Pact “locked the political system into a time warp” by using decade old census figures to determine government structure in 1943.[33] The Muslim population was growing and, despite having no census to prove their population, felt they were entitled to more political leadership. As the standing government was not accommodating, the Bosnian Muslims felt they could only generate change through violence, which led to war in May 1958.[34] The case study of the Former Yugoslavia is proof that the institutionalization of ethnicity inhibits the success of peace agreements, as the causes of the initial conflict remain in place, perhaps further ingrained than before the conflict.


Language is perceived as an element of ethnic conflict.[35] “Linguistic ethnonationalism” expresses the idea that a group can be united through language alone. This is only viable if the community as a whole bears a cultural and historical connection to “their oral and literary productions- poetry, myths, folklore, epics, and philosophical, religious/ historical/ scientific texts.”[36] For example, nearly seventy-five percent of the population of Yugoslavia spoke Serbo-Croatian, a language with two main dialects and two alphabets.[37] The “use of the Cyrillic alphabet… [was] limited to Serbia and Montenegro,” but the shift in dialects by an institutionalization of language separated Zagreb and Belgrade publications.[38] Political debates and perspectives, formerly provided by publications as a medium for integrated discussion on a widely available platform, were separated as well. The linguistic divide was based on principle as many well-regarded writers historically chose one dialect or the other, depending on their ethnicity, integrating dialect into their cultural heritage. The respective nation attempted to preserve what was perceived as their individual dialect for the layman and demand the state utilize it as well, causing controversy and division of language on the state level.[39] Additionally in Yugoslavia the ability to communicate across ethnic lines was hindered as “telephone lines from Serbia to Croatia and Bosnia were cut… [and] radicals took over local radio and TV stations.”[40] The moderate portion of the population was unable to relate and converse with moderates from another ethnicity to disperse political tension and quash the myths and rumors that drove their fear. The suppression of conversation drove the frightened moderates to political extremes as it was assumed that other moderates did not exist on the other side of the conflict as they could participate in the discourse of fear. Another exacerbating factor is that the “refugees were also placing themselves under the protection of armed radicals,” who could communicate their position with greater clarity than the moderates of the same group, leading radicalization to be somewhat synonymous with protection.[41] Language provides a basis for the division of communication the Former Yugoslavia and is an integral element of nationalism and ethnicity.


A difference of faith is another characteristic of a deeply divided society. The conflict can occur between different faiths or “branches of the same faith… The most obvious case of a society divided along sectarian lines is Northern Ireland.”[42] Societies divided by faith could also include the Former Yugoslavia where the division occurred between Bosnian Muslims, Croat Catholics, and Orthodox Serbs. While intermarriage was more typical between Croats and Serbs in Sarajevo and in cities generally, it was not typical between the Bosnian Muslims and the Catholic Croats, despite living in the same village.[43] While the two religions “shared the experience of rural life, the educational system, and the state bureaucracy,” the intermarriage rate was nearly non-existent.[44] Thus, they did not share many of the same traditions that were passed down through familial lines. Despite living in close quarters, the houses of Muslims and Croats were “easily distinguishable… by a marked difference in architecture.”[45] The houses belonging to the Bosnian Muslims resembled the mosque in the center of the village, as they were square. These houses tended to be surrounding the village mosque; they were also “built in clusters… [and] were usually inhabited by brothers and their nuclear families.”[46] The Catholic, belonging to the Croats, houses “were rectangular, with the longest side facing out toward the village.”[47] While the houses had similar entry points, the architectural divide was echoed in many rural villages “throughout rural Bosnia.”[48] The division in architecture served to illustrate the cultural divide between Serbs and Croats in the Former Yugoslavia.


Frank Wright introduced the notion of “representative violence,” which he denoted by asserting:

If anyone of a great number of people can be ‘punished’ for something done by the community they come from, and if the communities are sufficiently clearly defined, there is a risk that anyone attacking a member of the other community can set in motion an endless chain of violence.[49]

The most evident example of representative violence is the Northern Irish conflict, wherein the violence began on a much smaller scale, and grew to a larger scale with the aid of the media and perceived grievances towards entire communities. The history of violence in a deeply divided society creates mistrust within communities. It is probable for multiple versions of the truth, as understood by different communities, to exist in conflict-ridden societies. To move past violent conflict, both communities must recognize the difference in their cultural histories and accept the perspective of another community. The pain of the loss of loved ones and community grievances does not dull for generations and provides an incentive for the renewal of conflict.[50] Representative violence was evident in Yugoslavia where Croats and Muslims were friends and neighbors, but became divided due to the perception that one would find fault in the other.[51] As Wright stated, “it is only necessary for people to understand what is happening for it to create a generalized danger.”[52] This explains the near immediate polarization of societies upon the first onset of violent conflict. For the women interviewed in the documentary, We Are All Neighbours, the concern that their previous friend would misconstrue their actions as deceitful or dangerous was enough to keep them and their families apart.[53] The anticipation of emotional and physical harm is enough to rend villages and the act of Representative Violence is equally, if not more, powerful.


Social hierarchy is a factor that often falls within a deeply divided society as the “levels of individual and group insecurity” determine the level of violence.[54] “Fault lines [of a divided society can be]… of a politico-economic nature (i.e., class-based or ideological)” in particular conflicts, especially in that of Yugoslavia, where minority groups felt they were forced into a lower social class.[55] Class based conflicts also include caste conflicts, which are more directly controlled by religion, as “caste is commonly associated… with the practices of the Hindu religion.”[56] The connotation of caste is that it is immobile on the individual and community level as it is “predetermined;” whereas, class is fluctuating on both an individual and a community level.[57] Caste is perceived as a fixed state of life for those who are oppressed or ‘untouchable’ in society and this is perceived as a product of religious beliefs. However, religion is not a necessary instrument in a class driven conflict.


In Yugoslavia, Serb and Croat soldiers believed they were fighting for their social class with the objective of retaining and garnering both respect and political power. A Serb soldier claimed that the Croats thought ‘they’re “better than us,” which incensed him on a personal level and allowed him to believe political propaganda and scaremongering.[58] Hierarchical insecurity fuelled violent conflict in Former Yugoslavia on an individual level as individuals associated class with communal survival. Class is a likely driver of conflict as “human begins are hardwired to protect themselves from threats, both physical and psychological.”[59] “Dignity and self-worth” are included among a number of psychological threats that do not necessarily end with the conflict and are defended in a post conflict society.[60] After a conflict, individuals must “acknowledge that every interaction presents a choice: Will I honor or violate this person’s dignity?”[61] Class conflicts do not end with the violence, relations between the divided communities must be repaired and the communities prepared to integrate once more. Without integration, no assurances can be made to prevent conflict in the near future as continually polarized relations to not facilitate communication, respect, and understanding.


Conflicts in deeply divided societies can also be sparked by “ambitious or predatory political élites” seeking power by “mobiliz[ing] their constituents for aggressive purposes.”[62] The fracturing of Yugoslavia exemplifies political leaders using their populous for influence. “Serb and Croat peoples” were part of the same integrated communities interacting peacefully “until mobilized along ethnic lines by leaders who played on their latent grievances and fears of the future.”[63] The leaders, usually politicians attempting to gain power, created these fears by making untrue claims and scaling up trivial events and “minor differences.”[64] False histories, myths, and outright fallacies factored into the artificially escalated fear of individuals and communities fighting for survival. The anxieties of polarized groups ranged widely, from the concern over losing a community’s place in a long established social hierarchy to the loss of individual respect to the fight for survival in the face of the ‘enemy-other;’ these fears were nearly impossible to counteract due to their breadth. “The result [of these fears] is a deeply divided society whose members may withdraw temporarily into their communal containers for life support” in their fight to survive and need for validation of their identity.[65] A community provided safety in numbers for many individuals. Without their respective communities many would have lost their sense of identity, along with their families, and their method of staying informed about the violence around them.[66] Communities provided a sense of security and identity for individuals that were essentially victims of political games.


Divided societies tend to be composed of binaries such as “settler versus native… pastoralist versus cultivator; peasant versus land owner; urban versus rural; and center versus periphery.”[67] One binary in a divided society can present between the “settlers and [the] natives.”[68] Guelke attributes this binary to “a legacy of colonization or conquest in many parts of the world.”[69] The divide is customarily established by ethnicity or race, which provide categorically unchangeable groups many of which are already oppressed due to the nature of colonialism.[70] The divide “between indigenous [people] and immigrants and… settler[s] and natives” is exacerbated by the lending of “greater political legitimacy… to groups that can make a convincing claim for their historical precedence.”[71] The precedence leads the native group to feel ownership of the land and a cultural connection to it. Therefore, their defense of their land is seen as a cultural imperative to protect their history, rather than an ethnic dispute. Other binaries form in much the same way whether they are established by ethnicity, race, or position in the social hierarchy.


A majority versus minority conflict in a deeply divided society may prompt the minority group to migrate due to pressure and “discrimination” from the government and the populous of the majority group.[72] This emigration would be advantageous to the majority group especially in the case of the Former Yugoslavia, where Bosnian Serbs hoped to unite with Serbian Serbs by forcing Bosnian Muslims from their traditional villages.[73] This task was undertaken by targeting the Bosnian Muslim’s religion and inciting police violence. The rhetoric included aligning the Bosnian Muslims with Serbs, forcing a three party conflict into a binary conflict. Rhetoric claiming, “the Muslims of Bosnia are in fact Islamicized Serbs, and part of the population of so-called Croats consists of in fact Catholic Serbs.”[74] Forced migration also occurred, in parts of western Slavonia, the Baranja and Krajina Croats so terrorized Serbs into flight.”[75] Other “atrocities,” such as “cultural cleansing,” mass murder, and rape, were used to “terrorize entire ethnic communities to flee.”[76] The Security Dilemma between ethnicities in Yugoslavia would not have occurred if Milosevic had not gained leadership in a democracy that allowed ethnic polarization by districts.[77] As Eric Nordlinger claimed, “successful or unsuccessful regulation [of deeply divided societies] will be largely dependent on the purposeful behavior of political elites.”[78]


Differences in quality of life as perceived by the two groups can also lead to conflict. These differences can be attributed to cultural implications as well as political fault. “This is especially prominent in native or immigrant minorities,” where the minority group’s culture is noticeably different from the majority group’s culture.[79] Mann discussed the prevalence of “cultural cleansing” in Yugoslavia by noting that “mosques, libraries, and other Muslim monuments were systematically razed to the ground in Serb-occupied areas, while a few Catholic and Orthodox churches were also destroyed.”[80] The destruction of an individual’s or a group’s culture and the disruption of their religious practices nearly forces them to emigrate from the disputed area. Further, the desire of a group, like the Serbs, to halt the “exodus” of their people provides a reason for a community to resort to violence.[81] This occurred in the Former Yugoslavia as the Serbs took up arms to protect their communities from the Albanians who were fighting for an “ethically pure Kosovo.”[82] The disparity between the customs of the two groups emphasizes the nature of ‘the other’ and inflates the divide by discouraging integration and communal cooperation.


Poor political leadership, the formation of a communal identity, and the result of violence ending with group migration characterize deeply divided societies. Group identities are formed through nationalism, ethnicity, language, faith, class, and binaries. These identities are used to divide a society into a recognized identity and ‘the other.’ Political leaders producing and manipulating the anxieties of a group for political gain create this divide through power plays and rhetoric of fear. When the aims of the political party and the need to protect a group’s identity for individual survival become aligned, violence ensues. Political leaders incite this violence without repercussions as “the restless discontent of many… groups with the conditions of their existence has led to the articulation of powerful demands for change” in many divided societies.[83] Political leaders use the population’s “discontent to question the “legitimacy of [political] outcomes” in a divided society to manipulate the blurred boundaries between the political and social spheres.[84] By challenging governmental decisions, political leaders justify the protestors and others inciting communal violence. These political challenges further prompt intergroup violence and fracture once harmonious communities into the “communities of fear” characterized in a divided society. [85]



Bieber, F. (2003) The Challenge of Institutionalizing Ethnicity in the Western Balkans: Managing Change in Deeply Divided Societies. European Yearbook of Minority Issues Online. 3(1). 1-34

Binningsbø, H.M. (2012) Journal of Peace Research 49 (6). Sage Publications, Ltd.: 876–76.

Bringa, T. (1995) Being Muslim the Bosnian way: identity and community in a central Bosnian village. Princeton University Press: Princeton, N.J.

Carment, D. (2005) Journal of Peace Research. 42 (3). Sage Publications, Ltd.: 359–60.

Chisholm, M. and Smith, D.M. (1990) Shared Space: Divided Space Essays on Conflict and Territorial Organization. Unwin Hyman Ltd: London.

Dryzek, J.S. (2005) “Deliberative Democracy in Divided Societies: Alternatives to Agonism and Analgesia.” Political Theory 33 (2). Sage Publications, Inc.: 218–42.

Du Toit, P. (1989) “Bargaining About Bargaining: Inducing the Self-negating Prediction in Deeply Divided Societies–the Case of South Africa.” The Journal of Conflict Resolution 33 (2). Sage Publications, Inc.: 210–30.

Guelke, A. (2012) Politics in Deeply Divided Societies. Polity Press: Cambridge.

Hasisi, B. (2008) “Police, Politics, and Culture in a Deeply Divided Society.” The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (1973-). 98 (3). Northwestern University School of Law: 1119–45.

Hicks, D. and Phillips, T. (2009) “The Psychology of the Past”. Fortnight, no. 466. Fortnight Publications Ltd.: 13–13.

Hiro, D. (1992) Lebanon: Fire and Embers: a history of the Lebanese civil war. St Martin’s Press: New York

Horowitz, D.L. (1993) “Democracy in Divided Societies.” Journal of Democracy. 4 (4). Johns Hopkins University Press: 18-38.

  • Hughes, J. (2005) ‘Exit’ in Deeply Divided Societies: regimes of Discrimination in Estonia and Latvia and the Potential for Russophone Migration. Journal of Common Market Studies. 43 (4). 739-62.
  • Ignatieff, M. (1998) The Warrior’s Honor: Ethnic War And The Modern Conscience. Chatto and Windus: London.
  • Lederach, J.P. (1997) Building peace: sustainable reconciliation in divided societies. United States Institute of Peace Press: Washington, D.C.
  • Lustick, I. (1979) “Stability in Deeply Divided Societies: Consociationalism Versus Control.” World Politics 31 (3). Cambridge University Press: 325–44.
  • Magner, T.F. (1967) “Language and Nationalism in Yugoslavia.” Canadian Slavic Studies 1(3). 333-47.
  • Malcolm, N. (2002) Bosnia; A Short History. Pan: London.
  • Mann, M. (2005) The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
  • Nordlinger, E. (1972) Conflict Regulation in Divided Societies. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA.
  • Rothchild, D and Hartzell, C.A. (1999) “Security in deeply divided societies: The role of territorial autonomy.” Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, 5 (3-4), 254-271.
  • The Death of Yugoslavia. (1995) Produced By: Norma Percy. Online. BBC: United Kingdom.
  • We Are All Neighbours. (1993) Directed By: Debbie Christie. Online. Royal Anthropological Institute: London.
  • Wilmsen, E.N. and McAllister, P. (1996) The Politics of Difference. The University of Chicago Press, Ltd: London.
  • Wright, F. (1988) Northern Ireland: A Comparative Analysis. Barns & Noble: Dublin.

[1] Du Toit, P. (1989) “Bargaining About Bargaining: Inducing the Self-negating Prediction in Deeply Divided Societies–the Case of South Africa”. The Journal of Conflict Resolution 33 (2). Sage Publications, Inc.: 210–30. p.210

[2] Guelke, A. (2012) Politics in Deeply Divided Societies. Polity Press: Cambridge, p.14

[3] Dryzek, J.S. (2005) “Deliberative Democracy in Divided Societies: Alternatives to Agonism and Analgesia.” Political Theory. 33 (2). Sage Publications, Inc.: 218–42, p.219

[4] Guelke, A. (2012) Politics in Deeply Divided Societies, p.30

[5] Carment, D. 2005. Journal of Peace Research. 42 (3). Sage Publications, Ltd.: 359–60, pp.359-60

[6] Lustick, I. (1979) “Stability in Deeply Divided Societies: Consociationalism Versus Control.” World Politics 31 (3). Cambridge University Press: 325–44, p.325

[7] Dryzek, J.S. (2005) “Deliberative Democracy in Divided Societies: Alternatives to Agonism and Analgesia.” Political Theory. 33 (2). Sage Publications, Inc.: 218–42, p.325

[8] Lederach, J.P. (1997) Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation In Divided Societies. United States Institute of Peace Press: Washington, D.C, p.11

[9] Ibid, p.4

[10] Du Toit, P. (1989) “Bargaining About Bargaining: Inducing the Self-negating Prediction in Deeply Divided Societies–the Case of South Africa.” The Journal of Conflict Resolution. 33 (2). Sage Publications, Inc.: 210–30, p.210

[11] Horowitz, D.L. (1993) “Democracy in Divided Societies.” Journal of Democracy. 4 (4). Johns Hopkins University Press: 18-38, p.20

[12] Binningsbø, H.M. (2012) Journal of Peace Research 49 (6). Sage Publications, Ltd.: 876–76, p.876

[13] Ignatieff, M. (1998) The Warrior’s Honor: Ethnic War and The Modern Conscience. Chatto and Windus: London, pp.37-8

[14] Ibid, p.38

[15] Ibid, p.36

  • [16] Ibid, pp.36-7

[17] Ignatieff, M. (1998) The Warrior’s Honor: Ethnic War and The Modern Conscience. Chatto and Windus: London, p.37

[18] Ibid, p.37

[19] Ibid, p.37

[20] Guelke, Adrian. (2012) Politics in Deeply Divided Societies. Polity Press: Cambridge, p.30

[21] Ignatieff, M. (1998) The Warrior’s Honor: Ethnic War and The Modern Conscience. Chatto and Windus: London, p.51

[22] Chisholm, M. and Smith, D.M. (1990) Shared Space: Divided Space Essays on Conflict and Territorial Organization. Unwin Hyman Ltd: London, p.6

[23] Ibid, p.6

[24] Guelke, A. (2012) Politics in Deeply Divided Societies, p.32

  • [25] Wilmsen, E. N. and McAllister, P. (1996) The Politics of Difference. The University of Chicago Press, Ltd: London,124

[26] Ignatieff, M. (1998) The Warrior’s Honor: Ethnic War And The Modern Conscience. Chatto and Windus: London, p.35

[27] Guelke, A. (2012) Politics in Deeply Divided Societies, p.20

[28] Ibid, p.22

[29] Du Toit, P. (1989) “Bargaining About Bargaining: Inducing the Self-negating Prediction in Deeply Divided Societies–the Case of South Africa.” The Journal of Conflict Resolution. 33 (2). Sage Publications, Inc.: 210–30, p.211

[30] Bieber, F. (2003) The Challenge of Institutionalizing Ethnicity in the Western Balkans: Managing Change in Deeply Divided Societies. European Yearbook of Minority Issues Online. 3(1). 1-34, p.2

[31] Ibid, p.2

[32] Ibid, p.2

  • [33] Hiro, D. (1992) Lebanon: Fire and Embers: a history of the Lebanese civil war. St Martin’s Press: New York, p. 200

[34] Hiro, D. (1992) Lebanon: Fire and Embers: a history of the Lebanese civil war. St Martin’s Press: New York, p. 200

[35] Guelke, A. (2012) Politics in Deeply Divided Societies, p.18

  • [36] Wilmsen, E. N. and McAllister, P. (1996) The Politics of Difference. The University of Chicago Press, Ltd: London, pp.131-2

[37] Magner, T.F. (1967) Language and Nationalism in Yugoslavia. Canadian Slavic Studies. 1(3). 333-47, p.335

[38] Ibid, p.335

[39] Magner, T.F. (1967) Language and Nationalism in Yugoslavia. Canadian Slavic Studies. 1(3). 333-47, p.335

  • [40] Mann, M. (2005) The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, p.383

[41] Mann, M. (2005) The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, p.383

[42] Guelke, A. (2012) Politics in Deeply Divided Societies, p.18

[43] Bringa, T. (1995) Being Muslim The Bosnian Way: Identity And Community In A Central Bosnian Village, p.39

[44] Bringa, T. (1995) Being Muslim The Bosnian Way: Identity And Community In A Central Bosnian Village, p.39

[45] Ibid, p.39

[46] Ibid, p.40

[47] Ibid, p.40

[48] Ibid, p.39

[49] Wright, F. (1988) Northern Ireland: a comparative analysis. Barns & Noble: Dublin, p.11

  • [50] Hicks, D. and Phillips, T. (2009) “The Psychology of the Past”. Fortnight, no. 466. Fortnight Publications Ltd.: 13–13, p.13
  • [51] We Are All Neighbours. (1993) Directed By: Debbie Christie. Online. London, England: Royal Anthropological Institute.

[52] Wright, F. (1988) Northern Ireland: a comparative analysis. Barns & Noble: Dublin, p.11

[53] We Are All Neighbours. (1993) Directed By: Debbie Christie. Online. London, England: Royal Anthropological Institute.

[54] Rothchild, D. and Hartzell, C.A. (1999) “Security In Deeply Divided Societies: The Role Of Territorial Autonomy.” Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, 5(3-4) 254-271 p.255

[55] Ibid, p.255

[56] Guelke, A. (2012) Politics in Deeply Divided Societies, p.15

[57] Ibid, p.15

[58] Ignatieff, M. (1998) The warrior’s honor: ethnic war and the modern conscience. Chatto and Windus: London, p.36

[59] Hicks, D, and Phillips, T. (2009) “The Psychology of the Past”. Fortnight, no. 466. Fortnight Publications Ltd.: 13–13, p.13

[60] Ibid, p.13

[61] Ibid, p.13

[62] Rothchild, D. and Hartzell, C.A. (1999) Security in deeply divided societies: The role of territorial autonomy, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, pp.255-6

[63] Ibid, pp.255-6

[64] Ignatieff, M. (1998) The Warrior’s Honor: Ethnic War and The Modern Conscience. Chatto and Windus: London, p.51

[65] Ibid, p.256

[66] We Are All Neighbours. (1993) Directed By Debbie Christie. Online. London, England: Royal Anthropological Institute.

[67] Guelke, A. (2012) Politics in Deeply Divided Societies, p.22

[68] Ibid, p.22

[69] Ibid, p.22

[70] Ibid, p.22

[71] Ibid, p.24

  • [72] Hughes, J. (2005) ‘Exit’ in Deeply Divided Societies: regimes of Discrimination in Estonia and Latvia and the Potential for Russophone Migration. Journal of Common Market Studies. 43 (4). 739-62, p.739

[73] Malcolm, N. (2002) Bosnia; A Short History. Pan: London, pp.226-7

  • [74] Malcolm, N. (2002) Bosnia; A Short History. Pan: London, pp.226-7
  • [75] Mann, M. (2005) The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, p.357

[76] Ibid, p.356-7

[77] Ibid, p.376

  • [78] Nordlinger, E. (1972) Conflict Regulation in Divided Societies. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA, p.4

[79] Hasisi, B. (2008) “Police, Politics, and Culture in a Deeply Divided Society.” The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (1973-) 98 (3). Northwestern University School of Law: 1119–45, p.1119

  • [80] Mann, M. (2005) The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, p.357

[81] The Death of Yugoslavia. (1995) Produced By: Norma Percy. Online. United Kingdom: BBC.

[82] Ibid

  • [83] Lustick, I. (1979) “Stability in Deeply Divided Societies: Consociationalism Versus Control”, p.325

[84] Guelke, A. (2012) Politics in Deeply Divided Societies, p.32

[85] Ignatieff, M. (1998) The Warrior’s Honor: Ethnic War And The Modern Conscience, p.37

How useful is postcolonial theory for understanding contemporary international relations of the Middle East?

“Since September 2001, there has been a surge in publications about empire and ‘the new imperialism’ ” (Jones, B. G. 2006, p.10). These scholarly attempts to understand the Middle East using a postcolonial lens were brought about not by an eagerness to understand the Other in a globalized world, but by the threat of the Enemy-Other. The study of Postcolonial theory is particularly useful to the Middle East, which is said to have “beseech[ed] domination” during the Age of Imperialism (Sbaratnam, M. 2011, p.787). Contemporary Postcolonialism works to rebut the assumption that Islam is “one continuous culture” are not new phenomena, merely one that has reemerged (Lockman, Z. 2010, p.34). Not only were the peoples of the Middle East “dominat[ed],” but also their academics were treated as a “collection of Orientals, not of Orientalists” at the 1889 World Exhibition in Paris (Michell, T. 1988, p.2). Therefore, a romantic perspective of the Middle East from a European point of view replaced the academic perspective of the Middle East from the Middle Eastern point of view (Michell, T. 1988, p.2). This is important to the structure of the contemporary international system as “Imperialism is foundational to… the basis of international organizations and international law” (Jones, B. G. 2006, p.4). The integral nature of Imperialism further proves that bias is inherent in international relations and that “the world’s political truths are never presented, they are only ever represented” by those who have the ability to record and articulate the truth (Mitchell, T. 1988, p.179). Thus, states, “formerly colonized and metropolitan,” are placed in a “highly uneven and exploitative international system” (Jones, B. G. 2006, p.4). Postcolonial theory serves to aid in the understanding of contemporary international relations in the Middle East as its unique state formation and sources of conflict are attributed to the region’s colonial history.

Postcolonial theory is a critical theory that conducts an analysis on the “generally unquestioned assumption embedded in the public and personal European imagination and in the formal institutions of European international order” that, as Said stated, “subject races should be ruled” (Jones, B. G. 2006, pp.2-5). As scholars of International Relations dealt with outlier paradigms from previously colonized states with “willful amnesia [and]… containment” in the past, one must view the international system and its institutions through a postcolonial lens (Jones, B. G. 2006, p.10). Postcolonial theory serves to:

“[Point] out discursive Orientalisms, [deconstruct] historical myths of European development, [challenge] Eurocentric historiographies, [rearticulate] subaltern subjectivities, [diversify] political subjecthoods and [re-imagine] the social-psychological subject of world politics” (Sabaratnam, M. 2011, p.781).

Theory as a whole creates a spatio-temporal dialogue between theorists, which allows underlying assumptions of time and place to be questioned. The diction of the term ‘dialogue’ itself “suggest[s] distance and difference between the speakers” (Sabaratnam, M. 2011, p.782). “Distance” can be constructed as either time or space and “difference” covers a range of connotations including religion, ethnicity, nationality, and socio-economic standing (Sabaratnam, M. 2011, p.782). However this nature of dialogue allows, “debates about Eurocentrism can often divide into… camps which talk past each other” (Sabaratnam, M. 2011, p.784). When conducting an analysis on dialogue, one must observe the perspective of the writer and account for his or her bias. Writers’ perspective comes from “their identities, horizons, and interests, and indeed how these are situated within the world of practice and action” (Sabaratnam, M. 2011, p.782). An important part of postcolonial theory is demanding that independent schools of thought interact. Postcolonial theory is essential to understanding contemporary international relations in the Middle East, as colonial assumptions are embedded in the international system.

The importance of Postcolonial Theory is well illustrated by the comparison of the process of state formation between previously colonized states and colonizer states. “No proper understanding… of the contemporary Middle Eastern state can be obtained without reference to the colonial legacy in the region” this is due to the contrast between the contemporary European definition of the term ‘state’ and the way in which states in the Middle East were formed (Aybubi, N. N. M. 1995, p.86). The European definition of the term ‘state’ is “a territorial entity based externally on sovereignty and internally on legal institutions and a unified market” (Aybubi, N. N. M. 1995, p.99). The model of colonial state formation is in great contrast to the ‘Napoleonic model,’ also known as the European model, wherein; the state develops through “an organic, internal process of social and cultural integration” (Aybubi, N. N. M. 1995, p.108). At the same time, the state is “moving towards political centralization, legal standardization, equality of citizenship, and sovereignty for the people” (Aybubi, N. N. M. 1995, p.108). Whereas, the formation of states in the Levant did not emerge from “an integrative social process emanating ‘from within,’ [rather from a]… disintegrative political processes imposed ‘from without” (Aybubi, N. N. M. 1995, p.108). As the Levantine state did not emerge from an “organic process,” rather a colonial one, it “excludes important parts of the social experience of its society, not by transforming them into a more homogenous and ‘transparent’ political space” (Aybubi, N. N. M. 1995, p.109). The process of forced state formation in the Middle East is still the source of great conflict within the region due to the clashing of Middle Eastern and ‘European’ interests (Aybubi, N. N. M. 1995, p.108).

Through a Postcolonial lens, “historical particularism,” plays an important role in the Middle East’s growth as a region and its integration into the international system (Halliday, F. 2003, p.15). As “historical particularism” suggests, the Middle East can only be understood once an understanding of the “historical formation of the societies and politics of the region” has been achieved (Halliday, F. 2003, p.15). The colonial history of the Middle East is diverse as the region had a variety of colonizers who imposed different colonial experiences. Halliday postulates that the states themselves and the institutions within them are “too different” in terms of internal and external political systems and “state formations… to permit any unified endogenous explanation” of conflict (Halliday, F. 2003, p.16). Therefore, the search for a “common… cause in the conflicts that ravaged the Middle East in recent decades [and throughout history] is futile” (Halliday, F. 2003, p.16). Each state in the region is vastly different due to their different colonial histories, hence why it has been referred to as a “mosaic” (Aybubi, N. N. M. 1995, p.108). Postcolonial theorists find this to be of particular importance as, individual states’ histories, particularly their colonial histories, make them unique globally and diverse within their region to a point which may instigate conflict.

An additional cause of both inter- and intra-state conflict is “external control” in the contemporary era (Halliday, F. 2003, p.20). External control breeds distrust within the international and the regional systems. Postcolonial theorists comprehend that previously colonized societies naturally have a history of exploitation of both people and resources. This exploitation has continued until modern day as these previously colonized states, often perceived as weaker, are used as puppets by the previously colonizer states for their own ends. States with colonial histories are wary of other state’s motives, as they are aware of the potential for puppetry by Western powers. For instance:

“Iranians accused Saadam of being a tool of the Americans and having attacked on Washington’s instructions; Iraqis accused Khomeini of being, among other things, an Israeli agent and of sending envoys to Tel Aviv to receive instruction” (Halliday, F. 2003, p.20).

Previously colonized regions have “become objectified in discourse as requiring external control, involvement and direction” (Sabaratnam, M. 2011, p.787). This common rhetoric served as a justification for the West’s colonial past in addition to justifying its exploitative actions, with regards to raw material and labor, in the present. Therefore, it is beneficial for the exploiting countries if the perception of “formerly colonized countries” by the public and private sectors is as if previously colonized states are “as lacking proper agency” (Sabaratnam, M. 2011, p.787). This dichotomy creates an ‘us’ versus the ‘Other’ dynamic between the Levant and the West. Postcolonialists perceive that “human reality seems to be genuinely divided, into clearly different cultures, histories, traditions, societies, even races” (Said, E. W. 2003, p.45). Said questioned the possibility of avoiding “the hostility expressed by the division… into ‘us’ (Westerners) and ‘they’ (Orientals)” (Said, E. W. 2003, p.45). This division is understood through a Postcolonial lens as it is profitable and, therefore, perpetuated through time and space.

  • A further cause of intra-state or intra-regional conflict is increased ethnic diversity within the region (Halliday, F. 2003, p.27). This cause of conflict is particularly prevalent in previously colonized regions due to their haphazard state formation for political and economic gain rather than for the clarification of a nation’s boundaries. Ethnicities and the cultural and linguistic practices paired with them are coming increasingly into abrupt or violent contact with each other in an increasingly globalized world. The clashing of cultural norms, religion, and other practices of particular ethnic identities is more likely to ensue with greater diversity in one particular state. When the colonizing powers entered the Middle East, this source of conflict was not considered in their rush to obtain resources to fund the newly industrial era (Aybubi, N. N. M. 1995, p.110). Thus, the “arbitrary nature of [the Arab East’s] current borders” is the product of “acts of conflict, competition, and bargaining” between Western powers without any consideration to the people inhabiting the region (Aybubi, N. N. M. 1995, p.110). This inconsideration is particularly problematic in “the Levant, or the Arab East” is where the “mosaic image of the Middle East… can be applied with the least difficulty” due to the myriad of cultures which inhabit the region (Aybubi, N. N. M. 1995, p.108). This issue is currently and will continue to be increasingly perpetuated by globalization (Bogaert, K. 2013, p.217). For example, the development and spread of communication technologies is speeding up globalization. During the Arab Spring, “socio economic reforms” brought about a rise in a community’s technological ability, such as social media websites, television, and cell phones (Bogaert, K. 2013, p.215). Postcolonialists understand that this technology has the power to both instigate conflict and bring cultural sympathy within the region. Thus, this technology can bring about “political transformation” more rapidly with a wider audience than seen in the past (Bogaert, K. 2013, p.215). This example illustrates the usefulness of Postcolonialism in the modern world by showing that “local political agency” in the globalized modern world is “not just a product of the global, but also an agent of globalization” (Bogaert, K. 2013, p.216). In a globalized society, postcolonial theory becomes much more important to facilitate an understanding in academia, politics, and in the public perception.

Postcolonial theory is still relevant for understanding the Middle East today because much of “the massive world history of imperialism” has not been included in much of the discipline of International Relations, “from the theories and substantive concerns of the disciplines of both International Relations and international law” (Jones, B. G. 2006, p.9). For instance, “Islam is beyond IR’s field of apprehension as anything other than caricature” (Jones, B. G. 2006, p.9). Islam has been studied in the past, but only recently has academia accepted research from that perspective. Therefore, the academic discipline is altered due to a new cultural and historical perspective. Postcolonial theorists observe that much of the field of International Relations is based on “assumptions of essential difference and the barbarity of the Other” (Jones, B. G. 2006, p.9). Postcolonial theory serves to question these assumptions and reform the basis on which international institutions and international law is based. This theory is particularly important, as the issue of inherent difference will only grow, with increasing globalization, which is “an almost natural process… [which will lead to] the worldwide spread of all kinds of values and norms” (Bogaert, K. 2013, p.217).





  • Bibliography
  • Aybubi, N. N. M. (1995) Over-Stating the Arab State: Politics and Society in the Middle East. New York, USA: I.B. Tauris.
  • Bogaert, K. (2013) Contextualizing the Arab Revolts: The Politics behind Three Decades of Neoliberalism in the Arab World. Middle East Critique. 22 (3). pp.213-234.

Fieldhouse, D. K. (2008) Western Imperialism in the Middle East: 1914-1958. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Gerges, F. A. (2012)
Obama and the Middle East. New York, USA: Palgrave Macmillan.

Halliday, F. (2003) Islam and the Myth of Confrontation: Religion and Politics in the Middle East. New York, USA: I.B. Tauris.

  • Jones, B. G. (2006) Decolonizing International Relations. Lanham, USA: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Lockman, Z. (2010) Contending Visions of the Middle East: the History and Politics of Orientalism. 2nd ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Mitchell, T. (1988) Colonising Egypt. Berkeley, USA: University of California Press.
  • Sabaratnam, M. (2011) IR in Dialogue… but Can We Change the Subjects? A Typology of Decolonising Strategies for the Study of World Politics. Millennium- Journal of International Studies. 39 (3). pp.781-903.
  • Siad, E. W. (2003) London: Penguin Classics.

The Historiography of Mau Mau from The Emergency to Nationhood


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Between 1952 and 1959, the Kenya Government declared “a state of emergency” due to the Mau Mau rebellion, which aimed to end Britain’s reign in the colony (Bureau of African Affairs 2007, p.3). This declaration allowed for martial law and the period became known as simply The Emergency (Bureau of African Affairs 2007, p.3). The Emergency and the emergence of Mau Mau can be seen as the beginning of “the end of humiliation” for Kenya in comparison to the end of the French colonization of Algeria (Thomas, M. 2014, p.xi). The British had multiple definitions of Mau Mau and what it meant to be a member. Mau Mau was perceived as, and arguably was, a variety of people from a variety of backgrounds who had formed groups within the Mau Mau framework with varying goals (Odhiambo, A.E.S, Lonsdale, J. 2003 p.10). British propaganda convinced the public that Mau Mau committed “openly anti-White and also anti-Christian” acts with the intention of forcibly expelling settlers from Kenya through threats of physical harm, coercion, and revolt (Leakey, L.S.B. 1952, p.ix). Individuals who participated in Mau Mau, however fragmented the organization, perceived the insurgency as their only hope towards freeing Kenya from Britain’s grasp and obtaining “umoja” or unity as a nation (Kershaw, G. 1997, p.248). The concept of independent Kenya did arise from desire for umoja as many Kenyans fought with the British against the Mau Mau; however, many Kenyans try to forget this reality and replace it with an imagined memory of cultural unity. This is true of not only Kenya, but also of many post-colonial states that have achieved nationhood through the spilling of “fratricidal blood” (Odhiambo, A.E.S, Lonsdale, J. 2003 p.1). Despite the human rights violations and military rule that existed between 1952 and 1963, the insurgency was not to be blamed on the Mau Mau rebels or the military forces as it was a product of state failure (Kariuki, J.M. 1964, p.16). General Erskine wrote that Kenya was “a shady land for shady people” (Anderson, D. 2006, p.85).

As part of The Emergency, and the martial law it included, “tens of thousands of Kikuyu died” as a result of the violence, the detention camps, and the poor conditions on the Kikuyu Reservation (Bureau of African Affairs 2007, p.3). The total casualties of the British were around six hundred fifty people, including both settlers and active combatants (Bureau of African Affairs 2007, p.3). The rise of major political figures, such as Jomo Kenyatta, who would become Kenya’s first president, came from this era of unrest (Bureau of African Affairs 2007, p.3). On 14 December 1960, the United Nations General Assembly’s Resolution 1514 on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples enabled the colony of Kenya to become independent. However, British claims that the colony was unprepared for integration into the modern state system prevented the immediate independence (Thomas, M. 2014, p.xiii). This was after the British had militarily defeated Mau Mau, but were actively losing a battle to Mau Mau ideology because of their excessive use of force and imposition of penalties on the Kikuyu. Kenya’s need for a unified history, the lack of British accountability, and the capricious nature in which Mau Mau operated has allowed the memory of Mau Mau to continue to change form from 1953 until the present.


Mau Mau Beginnings

Mau Mau drew its membership primarily from the Kikuyu tribe, but also from “Emnu and Meru ethnicities” (Odhiambo, A.E.S, Lonsdale, J. 2003, p.3). The Kikuyu tribe had the highest population of Kenya’s sixty-four tribes with about one and a half million individuals at the time of The Emergency (Lewis, J. 2007, p.205) (T. arap Moi, 1986, p.3). In the Kikuyu tradition, the ability to gain property, pursue personal motivations, marry, have children, and be equal with one’s associates defined ones status as an adult. An individual was perceived as unsuccessful in reaching adulthood unless all of these criteria were attained (Thomas, M. 2014, p.225). The presence of British settlers and leadership deprived the Kikuyu of “self mastery” or adulthood (Thomas, M. 2014, p.225). The near impossible accumulation of wealth forced the Kikuyu into poverty (Thomas, M. 2014, p.225). This is why the geographical focus of the insurgency was predominantly in the White Highlands where many poor Kikuyu families were living as squatters on settler’s land. The families, which were squatters, or tenant farmers, were considered “landless” (Kershaw, G. 1997, p.248). The “landed” Kikuyu, usually elders or prominent leaders of the community, were still oppressed by the British rule, but did not lose their land through force. This increasingly hierarchical system disturbed the traditional systems of “rural life, gender relations, and generational deference,” and created chaos within the Kikuyu tribe (Thomas, M. 2014, p.225). Thus, the Mau Mau insurgency arose from the ability of the individual to provide for his or herself as a “self-respect[ing]” adult as defined by the Kikuyu tradition (Thomas, M. 2014, p.221).

During The Emergency the Governor of Kenya, Sir Philip Mitchell, voiced aspirations for the coexistence and cooperation between the settlers and the tribes of Kenya for the advancement of the colony. Out of this rhetoric arose moderate political parties such as the Kenya Africa Union, led by Jomo Kenyatta, which gained a following in “late 1940” (Thomas, M. 2014, p.223). The KAU was a peaceful political union that was deemed “pan-tribal” by the British. Thomas suggests that the term “pan-tribal” should be understood to mean having a membership that exists across ethnicities rather than returning to pre-contemporary cultural traditions. Mau Mau became a “radical offshoot” of Kenyatta’s KAU, made famous not by its success, but by the British understanding of the insurgents and propaganda of fear led by the British government. Mau Mau is literally “translatable as the ‘greedy eaters’ of chief elder’s authority” and was known by the British for its occasional tribal brutality and furtive methods of operation (Thomas, M. 2014, p.223).

After the KAU was banned during The Emergency for its perceived linkage with Mau Mau it became known to the Kikuyu as the “Association of three initials,” a code name which disguised it as the KCA (Kikuyu Central Association) and the KGU (Kikuyu General Union) (Leakey, L.S.B. 1952, p.97). The British claimed that the Kenya African Union took oaths similar to the Mau Mau oaths and therefore had the same or similar member groups, including Jomo Kenyatta (Leakey, L.S.B. 1952, p.96). The KAU was alone in having multiple names. Mau Mau was not the Kikuyu name for the insurgency, but rather the product of British propaganda posed to the European and British colonists (Newsinger, J. 2002, p.63). By the Kikuyu, the movement was called a variety of names including “Muingi” translated as “the movement, ‘Muigwithania, or ‘The Unifier,’ ‘Muma wa Uiguano’ or ‘The Oath of Unity” (Newsinger, J. 2002, p.63).

Many settlers believed the British government was adequately reacting to the needs and hardships of the Kikuyu (Rosberg, C. G. 1966, p.321). Lord Cranworth, one of the more prominent British settlers, condemned individuals who claimed the British reign in Kenya had not helped the “native population of East Africa, [or] that their interests have been neglected and… ‘exploited” by the British settlers (Cranworth, B. F. G. 1939, p.22). Even though his book, Kenya Chronicles, was written twenty years before Mau Mau, it is a perfect illustration of the settlers’ naivety to the plight of the Kikuyu. From this viewpoint, Mau Mau was understood as a revival of previous spiritual practices that the British settlers and missionaries had been trying to remove from Kikuyu culture. Mau Mau oaths were connected to ancient Kikuyu religious practices, despite the organization having only political aims (Thomas, M. 2014, p.224). This led the settlers to perceive Mau Mau as a regression to pre-modern, tribal conduct as a result of being unable to adapt to contemporary ideals (Rosberg, C. G. 1966, p.321). It was propagandized that The Emergency was a conflict between barbarity and “civilization” and the British aim was to ‘civilize’ the Kikuyu (Anderson, D. 2006, p.1).

The British perceived members of Mau Mau as attempting to convert all Kikuyu, and then the rest of Kenya’s tribes, to aid in the rebellion. Leakey was vocal that the Kikuyu made up a large proportion of Mau Mau as members were threatened into joining Mau Mau (Leakey, L.S.B. 1952, p.ix-x). In his 1952 book, Leakey claimed that individuals who had taken the Mau Mau oaths were requesting “cleansing ceremonies” to be rid of the oath. He understood this as a symbol of Mau Mau decline, whereas he was simply seeing the result of pressure applied by the opposing military forces (Leakey, L.S.B. 1952, p.104). This only illustrates that Leakey was not only incorrect about his perceptions of Mau Mau, but his statement, “I know the Kikuyu better than any white man living—I am in so many ways Kikuyu myself” subverts the credibility of his writings (Leakey, L.S.B. 1952, p.viii).

The European belief that modernity and capitalism would end conflict in Kenya stemmed from their experience in the ‘developed’ world; colonists perceived the root of all violence to be a lack of economic growth. Their presence in Kenya as capitalists only perpetuated this thought, so in order to give perceived development to the Kenyans; they advocated for additional financial gain as a colony, rather than the better living conditions for the working people (Rosberg, C. G. 1966, p.322). This financial gain was predominantly sought through increased agriculture, which in turn needed increased numbers of laborers. This exacerbated the cause of the rebellion as many Kikuyu who would oath to Mau Mau, were living on settlers’ land as agricultural laborers and sharecroppers.

Mau Mau fighters were often known as forest fighters due to the areas in which they operated. Unfortunately, the forests and mountains of Kenya promoted the secretive image for which Mau Mau was known (Rosberg, C. G. 1966, p.320). Mau Mau fighters were largely cut off from communication and family, which furthered their reputation of secrecy and allowed for the myths surrounding their activities to fester (Rosberg, C. G. 1966, p.320). The position of the forest fighters demanded that they put their lives, and the lives of their families in danger. However, the movement did not split under this pressure as the members of Mau Mau were held together by the promises of the movement to have a nation of their own in which they would partake in equal part with all people and be entitled to rights as citizens (Odhiambo, A.E.S, Lonsdale, J. 2003, p.77). This goal was both the driving force behind the Mau Mau and their motivation to continue the insurgency.


British Perception of the Insurgency

The Mau Mau insurgency was readily interpreted as a nationalistic “Peasants’ Revolt” brought about by the legal, social, and financial inequalities instituted by the colonial government and constructed by the British Empire, but the settler’s fear of the Mau Mau led the insurgency to be interpreted as violent and heathen from the outset (Clayton, A. 1976, p.1). It was the Kenyan government that authorized harsh emergency measures scaled to merely a step behind full scale “genocidal war” (Bennett, H. 2012, p.1; 6). These regulations consisted of involuntary migration, “beatings, rape, torture and shootings” for those who were suspected to have taken Mau Mau oaths (Bennett, H. 2012, p.6). During The Emergency, the army normally operated without much political supervision; thus, attempts to restrict the army or express concerns about military practices, such as prisoner handling, were easily ignored (Bennett, H. 2012, p. 266-7). Three groups fought against Mau Mau, including the loyalists, the normal Kenyan police forces, and the British soldiers (Thomas, M. 2014, p.219). As part of this military government, the Kenyan forces were able to shoot freely in the forests where Mau Mau were hiding without any prior warning or challenge from the rebels. All properties “could be searched,” and individuals detained without valid justification, especially if these people were Kikuyu (Clayton, A. 1976, p.13). These emergency regulations allowed the government to issue “detention orders” for any person of Kikuyu ethnicity that was “suspected” of being a member of Mau Mau without any evidence or due process (Clayton, A. 1976, p.14).

Anderson claims that the bureaucratization of the fighting escalated the violence as it became normalized through government processes and record keeping (Lewis, J. 2007, p.204). For example, Operation Anvil caused the other tribes to hesitate in joining the Kikuyu in Mau Mau, which caused Mau Mau’s military options to falter (Newsinger, J. 2002, p.73). Kenyan forces were unified in the effort to end Mau Mau; however, the British forces did disagree with the Kenyan forces on a few occasions, as they tended to sympathize with the Kikuyu (Bennett, H. 2012, p.266). The British soldiers dispatched to Kenya realized that the insurgency was the result of inequalities inside Kenya and were known to intentionally miss aim when ordered to kill and on occasion forcibly prevented the Kenyan forces from committing human rights violations (Bennett, H. 2012, p.264). While the assumption was that the British colonies were made independent through these sympathetic actions and peaceful processes; the Foreign Office archives recently migrated to London indicate deliberate oppression of the Kikuyu and attempts to eradicate Mau Mau (Bennett, H. 2012, p.268).

The government’s “rehabilitation” program was designed specifically to remove the plague of Mau Mau from thousands of Kikuyu detainees (Rosberg, C. G. 1966, p.334). Christian missions such as the ‘Church of the Torch’ were used for these purposes. Christian missions had been established by many denominations, including the Church of Scotland decades earlier to convert the Kikuyu to Christianity and teach them British traditions (Russell, D. 1917-1955). During The Emergency, many Kikuyu were Christians, but they also recognized their tribal culture. The Protestant missions which operated in Kenya disallowed the ability “of selective change,” which would allow for the adherence to specific practices in both the Kikuyu and British or Christian traditions (Rosberg, C. G. 1966, p.105). This ostracized the Kikuyu by forcing them to choose between Christianity and Mau Mau, perpetuating the belief that Mau Mau was a religion. By the settlers, Mau Mau was understood to be “a return to paganism and the work of the Devil” (Lewis, J. 2007, p.206). Leakey believed Mau Mau could be practiced like a religion and passed between settlements and ethnicities like an infection, and that those under its influence were more similar to animals than humans (Lewis, J. 2007, p.206). In October 1953, Thomas Askwith was put in charge of a program to reform members of Mau Mau, aided by anthropologist Louis Leakey (Elkin, C. 2005, p.104). He claimed that the Mau Mau oaths were against ancient Kikuyu tradition and would be invalid if the individual “confessed” and took part in a “traditional cleansing ceremony” (Elkin, C. 2005, p.107). Askwith’s rehabilitation program was called the Pipeline and was designed to alter the mentality of groups, rather than that of individuals (Elkin, C. 2005, p.109).

As the government became more and more fearful of Mau Mau’s bearing on Kikuyu society, the human rights violations they committed escalated (Thomas, M. 2014, p.219). These human rights violations were not limited to “over a thousand hangings after preemptory trial, mass population removal, lethal beatings, sexual torture, and a network of detention” camps (Thomas, M. 2014, p.219). In one of Kenya’s main three detention camps, Mageta, which was placed on an island off Kenya’s coast, detainees were worked to death or until they conceded to being part of the Mau Mau movement. Detainees were assigned pointless tasks that involved arduous manual labor such as “uproot[ing] huge trees [and] carry[ing] heavy loads on three-mile journeys” (Itote, W. 1967, p.121). Kikuyu were unable to hold land in all but “2,000 square miles” between upwards of a million individuals, on the other hand, 30,000 colonists held “12,000 square miles” of prime agricultural land (Newsinger, J. 2002, p.61). Unemployed, impoverished, desperate people inhabited the overpopulated Kikuyu reservation (Newsinger, J. 2002, p.61). There was a hierarchy on the reserves, which created a “landlord class” that would back the government, while the landless majority was being swallowed by economic hardships. At the conflict’s maximum extent, 77,000 Kikuyu were held captive in detention camps (Newsinger, J. 2002, p.73).

In the total conflict, British and European losses only amounted to thirty-two settlers, whereas, the Kikuyu loses settled above ninety percent. These Kikuyu casualties arose from the infighting between the Mau Mau members and the Home Guard. At the end of The Emergency, when Mau Mau was considered to be militarily defeated, General George Erskine accepted that the movement still existed and its goal would be to last longer than the government imposed by the British, in which they ultimately succeeded (Odhiambo, A.E.S, Lonsdale, J. 2003, p.3).


A Nation with a Forged National History

‘Jomo’ Kenyatta changed his name from Johnstone, which he considered to represent the British colonization (Murray- Brown, J. 1972, p.196). This was indicative of the path he would take as the first Prime Minister of Kenya. Kenyatta had been a leader, or attempting to be one, from the early stages of The Emergency. Many Kikuyu saw him as an opportunity-seeker lacking in ability to change their plight (Kershaw, G. 1997, p.250). He very nearly began a revolt in 1938 by alluding that the people of Kenya should not aid the British in their war until the British could provide proof that they would uphold their claims to “democracy and freedom” (Murray- Brown, J. 1972, p.203). While the Colonial Office had not previously interfered with Kenyatta’s actions, a Colonial Office memorandum containing the sentiment “Mr Kenyatta is becoming increasingly mischievous” was published following his statement (Murray- Brown, J. 1972, p.204). The Governor of the colony went so far as to call him the “African leader to darkness and death” (Bennett, G. 1963, p.153).

Kenyatta’s KAU was made illegal in June 1953 on allegation that Kenyatta was promoting the Mau Mau at reputable meetings to reputable people and turning them against the British government (Murray- Brown, J. 1972, pp.240-55). For example, when the Duke of Gloucester was sent by Her Majesty to inaugurate Nairobi as a city, previous adherents of the KAU began to tell the public their land, in addition to the previously confiscated land, would be taken over by the British settlers (Leakey, L.S.B. 1952, p.95). Cries to “‘save the land,” made relations with the Kikuyu very tense due to their confinement on the Kikuyu reserve (Leakey, L.S.B. 1952, p.95).

The eventual arrest of Kenyatta was brought about as a statement against barbaric acts on the settlers in the White Highlands including the murders of those whom surprised mass oathing ceremonies. Kenyatta was arrested on allegations that he was leading the Mau Mau. His arrest galvanized the people of Kenya and made them less afraid of the government’s repression and encouraged unity to fight against the British. Mau Mau members ceased their in-fighting and senseless violence and understood Kenyatta’s message that “the time for umoja” or unity, had come for the Kenyan people, not just the Kikuyu (Kershaw, G. 1997, p. 248). Kenyatta was tried for leading the KAU with knowledge of its connections to Mau Mau. Even though these allegations were false, Kenyatta was still convicted in 1953 (Murray- Brown, J. 1972, p.273). Upon his release, Jomo Kenyatta was regarded “as Mzee, the elder, or Baba Taifa, father of the nation” and instantly became an integral part of Kenya African National Union” (Branch, D. 2011, p.3).

Kenyatta created a new national history that forgot the origins of Mau Mau and constructed a new one that included an entire nation fighting for independence (Odhiambo, A.E.S, Lonsdale, J. 2003, p.1). Kenyatta appealed to the people of Nairobi to look back on a different history, one where they communally participated in the fight “for uhuru,” which is Bantu Swahili for freedom or independence (Odhiambo, A.E.S, Lonsdale, J. 2003, p.4). Kenyatta “continued to criminalize Mau Mau, condemning it as a disease which needed the strong medicine of hard work and honesty to cure” (Odhiambo, A.E.S, Lonsdale, J. 2003, p.11).

Everyone involved with The Emergency understood that removing Mau Mau from the discussion would help facilitate nationhood and “peace” not only between Kenya and Britain, but also between ethnicities and the Kenyan forces the Mau Mau fought against (Kershaw, G. 1997, p.259). Recalling Mau Mau in independent Kenya is easily problematized as it included the history of fighting within the population of Kenya. The memory of Mau Mau is in continuous evolution, being shaped by the individual memories from different spatio-temporal contexts, and thus continues to avoid becoming one solidified notion. As many individuals who had oathed to Mau Mau identified more closely to smaller subgroups, and each of these subgroups had different aims and purposes, it must be expected that many narratives, even contradictory ones can be formed (Odhiambo, A.E.S. and Lonsdale J. 2003, p.252).

In order to accurately remember Mau Mau and the reasons it began and ended, the people of Kenya must also remember the violence and human rights violations that existed throughout The Emergency. Instead, Kenyatta encouraged “superficial remembering” in order to not relive the entire truth, but portions of the truth that lead to a nationalistic feeling of unity. Prior to Kenya’s independence, the British were already sculpting the memory of Mau Mau during The Emergency, describing the movement as illegal, anti-white, tribal, uneducated, and “anti-Christian” (Odhiambo, A.E.S. and Lonsdale J. 2003, p.254).

Kenyatta hoped to detach himself from Mau Mau throughout and after the insurgency. The Kikuyu hoped Kenyatta would sympathize with them given his own experience of detainment. Kenyatta, as the first President of Kenya, could not assist former insurgents as this would cause conflict among the former Home Guard, settlers, Kenyans not involved in The Emergency, and the British government. Kenyatta told all of Kenya, despite their ethnicity, history of repression, or geography that “we all fought for Uhuru” (Odhiambo, A.E.S. and Lonsdale J. 2003, p.255-6) and “Harambee,” which implies a unified effort in nation building, which could not have been further from the truth. The formally “endorsed amnesia” led to misrepresentations of The Emergency including blatantly untrue statements from political leaders during rallies that were accepted as fact, even by those who took part in the fighting (Odhiambo, A.E.S. and Lonsdale J. 2003, p.256). Despite the illusion that Kenyatta helped to create, Mau Mau was an integral part in the conceptualization of “Kenyan nationalism” (Odhiambo, A.E.S. and Lonsdale J. 2003, p.260).

Kenya’s flag is symbolic of this newfound rhetoric that unifies Kenya through nationalism and represents the struggle to become an independent state for the Kenyan people. The flag is separated into black, red, and green bands. The “black third” of the flag represents the Kenyan people, the “red third the blood lost in the struggle for freedom;” but this represents all Kenyan people, not just the insurgents, and the green section represents the fertile land, which is one of the reasons Kenya was so attractive to the British. The white border signifies umoja, unity, “and the shield” is a symbol of the new nation’s willingness “to defend its hard-won freedom” (Branch, D. 2011, p.23). Thus, the flag illustrates Kenyatta’s vision of a Kenya that was fought for by unified population with a promising future of remembering a nationalistic history.









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William Chambliss defined state crime as ‘acts perpetrated by states or government bureaucrats in the pursuit of their job as representatives of the governments’ (Chambliss, 1989). There are various other definitions of state crime, all of which have limitations. Discuss.

Between “1900 [and] 1987 over 169 million people [were] murdered by governments” (Green, P. and Ward, T. 2004, p.1). In order to prosecute state crimes such as human rights violations and environmental crime, state-organized crime must be denoted. Firstly, the state must be defined as a legitimate and sovereign entity. A state can be depicted as a “public power” with a set of individuals prepared to use force to create and expand “prisons and institutions of coercion of all kinds and agencies which levy taxes” (Green, P. and Ward, T. 2004, p.3) or as Webber claimed “in terms of specific means… namely, the [legitimate] use of physical force” (Whyte, D. 2009, p.13). A legitimate state is one that behaves according to the laws set down for its citizens and itself and has laws that are perceived as “justified… beliefs” (Green, P. and Ward, T. 2004, p.3). Thus a state must have a legitimate “monopoly… [over] the legitimate use of force within a given territory” (Whyte, D. 2009, p.13). This “monopoly” on the use of force to maintain political and economic power led Whyte to claim, “there is no head of state… who… is not virtually a criminal” (2009, p.25) as the prosecution of the individual or of the state may be “contrary to the interests of the enforcing agency” (Green, P. and Ward, T. 2000, p.102). Further, crime must be defined as “murder, rape, robbery, burglary, theft, drug offenses and… fraud” or “an act in violation to the law” (Chambliss, W. J. et al. 2010, p.13). This definition of crime clearly refers to crime on the individual level, but provides a point from which to postulate how states can perpetrate such acts. This may answer St Augustine’s inquiry “What are states without justice but robber bands enlarged?” (Green, P. and Ward, T. 2004, p.1).

After conceptualizing a concise definition of both the legitimate state and individual crime, it is possible to analyze Chambliss’s definition of state-organized crime. The implications of defining state-organized crime are vast, including the “fram[ing],” “investigation,” and “prosecution” of law, the way in which research is conducted, and whether or not “mutual legal assistance across national borders is… rendered” (Allum, F. and Gilmour, A. 2012, p.8). Chambliss denoted state-organized crime as “acts defined by law as criminal and committed by state officials in the pursuit of their job as representatives of the state” (1989, p.184). However, there is a multitude of definitions of state-organized crime, perhaps as many “as there are writers on the subject, and little consensus” between them (Ebbe, O. N. I. 1999, p.30). Defining state-organized crime is easily problematized as each definition has limitations, or risks excessive breadth (Green, P. and Ward, T. 2000, p.101). Chambliss’s 1989 definition, Green and Ward’s definition, and their individual limitations and overarching limitations will be discussed in this paper.


The Chambliss 1989 Definition

Chambliss acknowledged there are multiple ways in which scholars approach conceptualizing state crime. State crime is often initially thought of as “war crimes, genocide and terrorism,” but state crime has a much larger scope than these “high profile” “atrocities” (Chambliss, W. J. et al. 2010, p.13; 23). Two independently standing definitions which have broadened the lens through which state crime can be viewed include: state behaviors that have “been prosecuted at a national or international level… or have violated national or international law” and “all of the harms and social injuries” that are a product of the link between political and economic gain (Chambliss, W. J. et al. 2010, p.13). Only acts that “violate existing criminal law and are official policy” are included under the denotation of state-organized crime (Chambliss, W. J. 1989, p.184). Chambliss’s own definition of state crime, one that hinges on the individual perpetrators within the state is discussed in his 1989 article (Chambliss, W. J. 1989, p.184). It is not a crime committed on the international level to benefit individuals who hold government office, or the crimes against local populations by the police because these are not the “institutionalized policy of the state” (Chambliss, W. J. 1989, p.184). He postulates that “the legal prescriptions and the agreed goals of state agencies,” conflict with each other and cause state crime on an institutional level (Chambliss, W. J. 1989, p.184). He also notes that conflicts lie in “political, economic, and social relations,” which change with both geography and time (Chambliss, W. J. 1989, p.201).

Chambliss’s definition has limitations, despite its applicability. “Post-colonial and feminists theorists have argued that UN-sponsored international law” is merely a representation of the political will “of white, Western, liberalism” instead of a global representation for the rights and representation of entire populations (Kramer, R. C., and Michalowski, R. J. 2005, p.447). Laws are created and sculpted by political and monetary motives “rather than straightforward codification of universal social norms” (Chambliss, W. J. et al. 2010, p.14). Thus, laws are created for those who hold power and whom stand to suffer from the prosecution of the state. It is therefore unlikely that the state will be prosecuted, or have a precedent of prosecution as it would be against these individuals interests.

Chambliss evaluated juridical, organizational deviance, and social harm or injury “models for defining state crime” according to their “strengths and weaknesses” (Chambliss, W. J. et al. 2010, p.20). Firstly, the juridical model is heavily based on laws and judicial power to define state-organized crime. While this is the most likely of the three to be funded for research, and the most empirical, Chambliss admits that the juridical model narrows the opportunities to prosecute state crime as states regularly fail to prosecute “their own political and economic wrongdoing” (Chambliss, W. J. et al. 2010, p.20). Secondly, the organizational deviance model is based upon sociological norms and is, therefore, not hindered by “laws… created by politically animated entities” (Chambliss, W. J. et al. 2010, p.20). However, this approach necessitates an activist audience that is less inclined towards prosecuting a “straightforward law violation” (Chambliss, W. J. et al. 2010, p.20). Thirdly, the social injury and harm model has the “broadest analytic scope,” which can be used to “address political-economic intersections” (Chambliss, W. J. et al. 2010, p.20). The interaction between politics and economic benefit is part of almost every aspect of culture, but its analysis largely rests upon the agenda of the researcher. Much of the research in the field of international relations is funded by government contracts, which will create a biased outcome on all occasions (Walters, R. 2007, p.24).

Chambliss warned “judicial framework” model could hinder “state crime analysis” as it may become more about the exceptions to law than the provisions (Chambliss, W. J. et al. 2010, p.18). For example, the trials at Guantanamo Bay were called into question by Amnesty International, but the United States (US) rebutted that it is under no obligation to adhere to the United States Constitution, which includes the right to “public trial” and “all the guarantees necessary for his defense” in Cuba as the US Constitution only applies on US soil and that the trials do not violate the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Chambliss, W. J. et al. 2010, p.18). As the United Nations has not prosecuted the United States, Guantanamo Bay is perceived as legal in international law. Kramer and Michalowski expound upon this by stating that Chambliss’s 1989 definition constricted the prosecution of state crimes to specific “harms that political states had chosen to criminalize” and, as states rarely prosecute themselves, is ineffective (2005, p.447). Chambliss later amended his definition to incorporate acts that “violate international agreements and principles established in the courts and treaties of international bodies,’” but this does not aid in cases such as that of Guantanamo Bay (Kramer, R. C., and Michalowski, R. J. 2005, p.447).

Sellin postulated crime should be thought of as a “violation of ‘conduct norms’” rather than a violation of “rules” as per the Chambliss’s organizational deviance model (Chambliss, W. J. et al. 2010, p.15). This concept has been used to justify the prosecution of actions on many levels, which are not “expressly prohibited by law”, but are significantly close to crimes recognized by law and are perceived by “social movements [and]… sub-segments of populations” as criminal (Chambliss, W. J. et al. 2010, p.15). However, entire populations are rarely able to maintain “a consensus… on… societal norms,” which may cause criminal prosecutions to be controversial in the eyes of many, especially regarding state-organized crime that crosses state borders (Rothe, D. L., and Mullins, C. W. 2011, p.vii). This definition is particularly helpful in the prosecution of states, as it does not stipulate precedents of law violation or the violation of law itself. While this definition is hard to prove legally, it is successful in preventing states from creating laws of convenience.


Green, P. and Ward T. Definition

According to Green and Ward, state-organized crime can be denoted as “state organizational deviance involving the violation of human rights” (2004, p.2). In this definition, deviance is defined as the violation of societal norms, which is closely joined with both Chambliss’s social injury and harm model and organizational deviance model (Green, P. and Ward, T. 2004, p.4). Organizational deviance must “integrate structural, organisational and social psychological factors,” or perhaps more clearly, include “pressure for goal attainment, availability, and perceived attractiveness” (Green, P. and Ward, T. 2004 p.6). The model of organizational deviance also includes “corporate crime, organized crime, and… crime by… non-profit bodies” as well as crime committed by states (Green, P. and Ward, T. 2004, p.5). State level deviance is determined by academics who analyze the behavior of the international system at the international, state, and individual level and are capable of finding norms imbedded in laws and behavior (Green, P. and Ward, T. 2004 p.1). Some of these norms include those that “define universal human rights [and]… principles of justice” (Green, P. and Ward, T. 2004, p.2). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights defined the norms of human rights through the United Nations, making human rights the “best available global standard for distinguishing between legal and illegal state actions” (Kramer, R. C. and Michalowski, R. J. 2005, p.447). However, as the state is able to escape prosecution of social injury by using the law, one must question whether or not human rights law is the “will of the powerful” or is only acted upon when convenient for the state (Chambliss, W. J. et al. 2010, p.14).

Cox claimed, “global hegemony” is illustrated by states that “lay down general rules… for [less populated or less developed] states” through a series of normalized behaviors and institutions (Green, P. and Ward, T. 2004, p.9). Thus, the behaviors from which states deviate from to commit state crime are created by the larger, more powerful states in the international system. The distinction between St Augustine’s “robber bands” and unjust states is that states are able to claim what is and is not just through the judicial system and determine “who is a robber and who is a tax-collector” (Green, P. and Ward, T. 2004, p.1). Therefore, if a state is able to use legitimate force to enact a law that it has created, it may commit a crime on the international level before committing one on the state level (Kramer, R. C. and Michalowski, R. J. 2005, p.447). For example, “Adolf Eichmann was a model law-abiding citizen of the Third Reich… arranging the extermination of Jews even in the face of ‘criminal’ orders to the contrary” (Green, P. and Ward, T. 2000, p.102). He was deliberately committing an international crime as an individual on the state level, but was not violating domestic law. A further limitation of this definition lies within the varying definitions of deviance. Becker argues deviance is created through the “application of a rule to an act” (Green, P. and Ward, T. 2004, p.4). The audience must choose to “accept a certain rule as a standard of behaviour… [and] interpret the act… as violating the rule” before the act is considered sufficiently deviant (Green, P. and Ward, T. 2004, p.4). As many populations have little to no say in the prosecution of state crime, one might question how the International Criminal Court, or said power, can claim that an act is deviant according to their standards. Chambliss also noted this limitation on the nature of organizational deviance, as it requires an activist audience to prosecute the crime (Chambliss, W. J. et al. 2010, p.20).


Overarching Limitations

In this paper, Chambliss’s and Green and Ward’s definitions and limitations to state crime have been discussed, however, there are further definitions that must be remarked upon. The analysis of state crime must include research into the linkages between states and non-state groups “such as paramilitary groups, militias, private contractors, corporations and transnational financial bodies” according to Stanley (2007, pp.169-70). This is essential in the analysis of human rights violations as individuals, organizations, and states perpetrate these violations and thereby committing state-organized crime (Stanley, E. 2007, p.168). Thus, one must consider whether crime on the international level is restricted to state crime, or is inclusive of third party crime. Chambliss notes that state-organized crime is similar to the generic “criminality of police and law enforcement agencies” (1989, p.204). This is due to clashing institutional demands and aims of both states and intrastate agencies. One critical demand on the state is to “provide a climate and a set of international relations that facilitate… [the] accumulation… of capital,” as this “determines… power, wealth, and survival” as a modern capitalist state (Chambliss, W. J. 1989, p.202). Garland notes, the 21st century governance is inclined towards “economic forms of reasoning,” but this is made more poignant by Chambliss’s claim that research on state crime is an essential of the discipline of international relations in the 21st century (Garland, D. 2003, p.457) (Barak, G. 1991, p.10).

A cohesive definition that is agreed upon within the discipline of international relations has yet to be reached as every definition contains limitations. Upon defining the state, crime, and deviance, the area may be explored academically. In order to prosecute a state for committing a crime, the juridical hemisphere must align with that of those who are victims. Chambliss chose to describe state-organized crime as “acts defined by law as criminal and committed by state officials in the pursuit of their job as representatives of the state;” however, he recognized that by synthesizing a definition he imposed limits on how the state could be prosecuted for crimes committed (1989, p.184). Green and Ward’s definition restricts state crimes to exclusively deal with crime involving human rights violations which precludes the prosecution of the state from environmental crime, state-corporate crime, and further types of crime that are sure to exist within the international system. The process of defining state-organized crime is a paradox, as the definition will both create an opportunity for state-organized crime to exist and allow it to be prosecuted.



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