FIRST I AM MY TRIBE: AN INVESTIGATION OF ETHNIC IDENTITY IN A NATIONAL SAMPLE OF AFGHANS
Warren, Zachary J.
Identity centrality is important to the study of intergroup conflict because it defines identity priorities for ingroup/outgroup affiliation. A key question in understanding identity centrality, particularly for ethnic conflict, is whether resource needs such as competition for limited resources are the primary drivers of identity centrality, or if other considerations such as identity needs and degree of ethnic diversity also play a role. To investigate, three studies were conducted in Afghanistan between 2013-2015, a region of ongoing ethnic conflict, including 28,111 nationwide survey interviews and 125 in-depth interviews. Study 1 reveals a robust association between ethnic identity centrality and increased support for violent insurgent groups, and resource inequalities are significantly associated with both. In study 2, conditions of ethnic diversity are found to decrease ethnic identity centrality; as provinces grow more diverse, Afghans appear to emphasize sectarian identities less, and superordinate identities more. Finally, using in-depth interviews, study 3 finds that social identity needs as well as ideology are cited as justifications for identity centrality generally, and distinctness for ethnic identity centrality in particular. Three implications for policymakers are described in detail.
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