Anthropological and Ethnographic Approaches

Authored by: Paul Richards

Routledge Handbook of Civil Wars

Print publication date:  February  2014
Online publication date:  February  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415622585
eBook ISBN: 9780203105962
Adobe ISBN: 9781136255786


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This chapter explores the contributions that anthropology might make to unravelling the causal mechanisms of civil war. It will not attempt a comprehensive review of the anthropological literature on civil wars but instead limits itself to three tasks: a discussion of the ways in which anthropologists approach key terms (civil war, ethnicity, religion); a commentary on the methods anthropology brings to the inter-disciplinary table (namely the so-called ethnographic approach); and a case study intended to illustrate how quantitative and qualitative approaches to social phenomena might be linked in the analysis of the socio-economic causes of civil wars.

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