Theories of modernization imply the demise of ethnic competition. This is true of sociological theories, in which specific, differentiated, "rational" interests are held to displace generalized, diffuse, "primordial" ties. Despite the predictions of these theories of social change, ethnic competition strongly endures. It is a feature of politics even in the most modern of nation-states. Theories of social change predict the demise of ethnic grouping. A major contribution of the study of African politics is to document the falseness of this prediction. Modernization and ethnic conflict do intersect, both empirically and intellectually. Ethnic groups should be distinguished from tribal groups, and the origins and dynamics of the former should be considered independently of what is known and asserted about traditional political behavior in Africa. Ethnic groups persist largely because of their capacity to extract goods and services from the modern sector and thereby satisfy the demands of their members.