Why do ethnic groups adopt violent means? In the 1990's, ethnicity emerged as the principle source of organized violence around the world. Ethnic wars were no longer internal conflicts between substate actors; instead they challenged state sovereignty and taxed the international community's ability to respond.
Efforts to understand ethnic conflict remain divorced from the study of systemic change and the declining authority, capacity, and legitimacy of weak multiethnic states. This work proposes that the phenomenon of ethnic violence must be understood through a multilevel approach and that finding a solution to ethnic violence is possible only if we have a clear understanding of the sources that spark such violence in the first place.