This chapter examines the European experience of ethnic-state conflict in relation to the biases to be found in the political and social science literature on some questions. It considers the revival of ethnic nationalism and some of the new theoretical interpretations that have been placed upon it, in an attempt to isolate some of the important factors that may be relevant in the African context. The chapter explores the special case of South Africa which raises additional issues about the dynamic interaction between ethnic groups and state institutions. Apart from direct connections between developments in Europe and Africa, it is possible to isolate a number of major factors that appear to be closely linked to the rise of ethnonationalism in Europe and that may have some relevance for the African scene. These factors are: centralization, the functional efficiency of the state unit, the quest for community, and resource allocation and relative deprivation.