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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Stability in deeply divided societies: escaping ethnic-based armed conflict in Guinea
Author:Bah, Mamadou Diouma
Periodical:African Identities (ISSN 1472-5851)
Geographic term:Guinea
Subjects:ethnic relations
conflict prevention
political conditions
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/14725843.2016.1143800
Abstract:This paper examines the interaction between ethnic politics and conflict management in Guinea. The country belongs to the category of nations characterized in the literature as 'deeply divided societies' which, according to much literature, constitute a high-risk variable for ethnically induced armed conflicts. Yet Guinea has not succumbed to large-scale violence, giving rise to the question as to why armed conflict has not been a feature in Guinea despite its population being deeply divided along ethnicity and regional affiliation. The paper explores how various constructions of identity have been actively used by political agents to sustain stability through delicate ethnic balancing in a society characterized by its deep ethnic divisions. It is concluded that in contrast to findings in much of the existing literature where deep ethnic division is strongly linked with the onset of large-scale violent civil conflicts, Guinea's deep ethnic divisions has been actually an impetus for stability rather than unrest. However, events in recent times indicate that, the use of various forms of identity construction by political elites to serve their own interests and ward off threats to their power is likely to go wrong as the nation moves to multi-party democracy, thereby posing a real danger to the country's stability. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]