chapter  1
General Introduction
ByJohn Mukum Mbaku, Pita Ogaba Agbese, Mwangi S. Kimenyi
Pages 32

This chapter suggests is that sustained violent ethnic conflict is not only the result of immediate local causes and conditions. In all three countries (South Africa, India and Sri Lanka), sustained conflict occurs between groups that espouse some sort of ethnic or sectarian political agenda. Another common element among them is their experience of colonial rule, particularly British rule. The literature on ethnic identities and conflicts is dynamic and this comparative study attempts to add to it by situating ethnic conflicts within the framework of authoritarian states and proposing a linkage between the character of these states and the character of ethnic organizations. It suggests that under these states ethnic interactions and relations are nurtured and deepened, becoming the currency of everyday life. The colonial administration was both intrusive and absent, setting the stage for the invention of the ethnic group as an abiding and politically salient entity in modern state systems.