Critical Comparisons in Politics and Culture by John Bowen, Roger Petersen

By John Bowen, Roger Petersen

Prime anthropologists and political scientists are introduced jointly during this quantity to discuss the matter of comparability, taking over quite a few issues from nationalist violence and exertions moves to ritual kinds and non secular practices. The members criticize traditional kinds of comparative strategy, and introduce new comparative thoughts, starting from summary version construction to ethnographically dependent equipment. They characterize a large choice of theoretical positions, from rational selection conception to interpretivism, and the problems are clarified within the reduce and thrust of dialogue.

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Despite these similarities in historical experience, the nationalist revival movement in Catalonia has been relatively peaceful, with terrorist groups effectively marginalized by the Catalans themselves, while the nationalist revival movement in Basque Country has been bloody. National revivals and violence 27 The Basque terrorist organization, ETA (Euskadi and Freedom), had up till 1990 been responsible for about 780 deaths, an endless string of kidnappings, and bombings of power stations, tourist centers, and state property.

Another anthropological study that focused upon the ``culture of opposition'' in Franquist Catalonia saw labor unions and the church as the major organizations in village life. Some emphasis was put on the scouting clubs (which were supported by the church) and mountain groups; so it would be fair to say that Catalan village life had some potential, albeit less than that in Basque Country, for triggering a violent opposition group ( Johnston 1991: ch. 4). The anthropological evidence suggests that the social conditions for a commando-like structure were more supportive in Basque Country than in Catalonia, but this doesn't necessarily mean that it would have been impossible in Catalonia (we don't know the thresholds), nor does it mean that violence was a logical outcome of the Basque social structure.

Algeria, Basque Country (in Spain), Nazi Germany, Northern Ireland, Serbia, Somalia and Vietnam are gruesome examples. Yet the aims of comparable movements, similar in goals and apparently similar in context, have been resolved by relatively peaceful means. Quebec, Andhra Pradesh, Flanders, Italy and Catalonia are shining exemplars. This paper will employ the tools of game theory and the comparative method in political science (Lijphart 1971; Skocpol and Somers 1980; Collier 1991) to address the question: why are some nationalist movements peaceful in strategy and outcome while others create carnage?

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