Identity And Social Conflict Analysis Essay

Huffman argues that identities are complex matter. Identities are historically bound and socially constructed element and it can be changed in time to time. Every individual has own selfidentity that defined by own experiences, and cultural practices. Huffman discussed about four theoretical approaches to understanding the role of identities in conflict. Here, I would like to discuss about theory of protected social conflict in the context of Nepalese conflict, which I have experienced in my own life.

Nepal is one of the developing country in the world, and suffering from the internal political conflict throughout the decade long civil war. The civil war thrown by the Nepal Communist Party (Maoist) from 1996 and came on the peace agreement in 2006. The political conflict has been turned in to the violence and about seventeen thousand people have been killed and estimated 100,000 people were displaced. After the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2006, major political parties came to the twelve-point peace agreement and over thrown the 250 years long monarchy.

In addition, all political parties have been agreed for the constituent assembly election in 2008. Currently, Nepal is in a process of post conflict settlement phase, even though, conflict among the parties are still remain. Conflict is existing among the different groups because of identical crisis and social injustice. The major identity groups are dDalit (so called lower caste), minority religious groups and lower class Madhesi people. Dalit is one of the identity group, who has been discriminated thorough out the history because of existing caste system.

This group does not have right to participate in public functions, such as religious ceremonies in temple, marriage, and other. They even don’t have right to touch so called higher caste people. Second, minorities religious groups have been seeking identity in the politics because they have been marginalized by majority Hindus. For example, Muslim and Christian community has very low representation in politics and policy level.

Third, socially, economically and politically repressed ethnic Madhesis people are also seeking their fair share in politics and development. dentical groups are involved in violent and nonviolent conflict in the current post conflict settlement phase. Dalit and religious identity groups are involved in nonviolent means of conflict. However, the Madhesi people have been involved in violent conflict, which killed some innocent people, as well as highly impacted in Nepalese economy. According to the Reuters news, about 50 people have been killed in police shooting and arson attacks by protesters who are demanding the entire southern plains region as one federal province.

Huffman describes three concepts of understanding identity and social conflict. First, a theoretical concept, identity is used to understand various aspects of identification processes and explain their impact on social relationship and social conflict. Edward E Azar describes the violent events as Protracted Social Conflict (PSC), which means social conflicts happen when communities are deprived of the satisfaction of their basic needs on the basis of the communal identity. The deprivation is the result of a complex chain involving the role of the state and international relations.

In addition, initial conditions (colonial legacy, domestic historical setting, and the multi-communal nature of the society) play important roles in shaping the genesis of protracted social conflict (Azar). According to Azar, Protected Social conflicts have three different characteristics, such as Genesis, Process Dynamics, and Outcomes Analysis. Genesis refers to a set of conditions that are responsible for the transformation of non-conflictual situations into the conflictual situation. Azar says that there are four key factors in this practice.

The four preconditions are communal content, deprivation of human needs, government and the state role, and international linkages. Nepalese conflict is closely related to this theory because people have been dominated by state, and policy. Power is the control, influence and exercise of authority over others, which allow authority to dominate people, and use exercise their power on their own will. When people misuse their power and create boundaries between different groups, there is always a chance to have conflict. The disparity would be created through the power.

Every single group of people has their own interest to achieve their goal. To achieve their goal, they have to have power and the power struggles often make their way to personal interactions and cause conflict. Nepal is prefect example, who has been facing a significant level of conflict because minority ethnic groups have been struggling for their rights and political autonomy. The government has failed to address the agenda of their people, which lead to them for one decade long civil war as well as structural and cultural violence.

Social inequality results from power struggle between groups. The groups could be ethnic, racial, class and ideological. Most of the conflicts escalate because of inequality, power and its dynamics in a relationship are fundamental to any approach to working with conflict. Basically, imbalance and misuse of power create conflict within a society and the state. Conflict between minority groups and government can be shown as simple, however, it would be a critical problem in the long run. The best way to solve the problem is conflict transformation before its turning to the violent act.

The transformation of the inequality within a state or society can be difficult task, however conflict analysis and peace building process can take some action for the conflict resolution. In Nepalese context, first, the government has to have dialogue with their people; dialogue has huge power in conflict transformation. When you sit together, you can have human interaction with serious feelings, and you also have to negotiate with some give and take. Second, all parties should have valid perspective and legitimate demand for power.

Which means, you should create win-win situation, where no one feels as a looser. The inequality and power disparity is mutual problem in Nepal, so you should create an environment, where all parties feel mutual responsibility. Based on Burton’s idea that conflict analysis and resolution can help to analyze the situation and link with the Basic Human Need Theory for the further consideration. The final way of conflict resolution technique refers to, have mediator for the conflict transformation.