Monday, May 29, 2017

Daniel Little on proliferation of hate and violence

with special reference to Hindu-Moslem riots Proliferation of hate and violence. It is partly a review of a recent book The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India by Paul R. Brass but also has links to several general studies. One excerpt from the article:
"The presence of a small number of "hot connectors". It appears to be the case that attitudes of intolerance are infectious to some degree. So the presence of a few outspoken bigots in a small community may spread their attitudes to others, and the density of local social networks appears to be an important factor in the spread of hateful attitudes. The broader the social network of these individuals, the more potent the infective effects of their behavior are likely to be. (Here is a recent post on social-network effects on mobilization; link.)

There is a substantial degree of orchestration in most of these mechanisms -- deliberate efforts by organizations and political entrepreneurs to incite and channel the emotions of fear, hostility, and hate among their followers and potential followers. Strategies of recruitment for extremist and hate-based parties deliberately cultivate the mindset of hate among young people and disaffected older people (link). And the motivations seem to be a mix of ideological commitment to a worldview of hate and more prosaic self-interest -- power, income, resources, publicity, and influence. 

But the hard questions remaining are these: how does intolerance become mainstream? Is this a "tipping point" phenomenon? And what mechanisms and forces exist to act as counter-pressures against these mechanisms, and promulgate attitudes of mutual respect and tolerance as affirmative social values?"
Coming back to India, the article links to a 2013 study 
Which says in the conclusion "Since, the riots of 2002 Gujarat, the incidence of Hindu-Muslim violence has decreased drastically, so the question that could really be posed, therefore, is whether the incentives have been changing for the state governments, local political leaders, and even individuals who may once have beneÖted or harmed from the dreadful Hindu- Muslim riots in India or is there any creation of interethnic civic engagements that is actually playing a role in the prevention of violence in a sustained basis."
That was in 2013, it would be interesting to study the results since then. Abstract of the article:
"We utilize a unique data set on Hindu-Muslim riots at the state-level in India to in- vestigate the determinants. We base our estimation on Negative Binomial procedure that controls for the count data characteristic of the dependent variable. Five major Öndings emerge. First, political competition and presence of right-wing Hindu nationalist parties in a given Indian state seems to have a positive and statistically signiÖcant impact on the number of communal riots; second, if the state legislative assembly has a majority of either a coalition government or regional or left-wing parties, it has exactly the opposite e§ect; third, we Önd no evidence of a negative impact of economic development per se on communal violence; fourthly, the greater proportion of the Muslim population, higher is the number of communal riots; lastly, past violence seems to have a positive recurring e§ect on the current events."

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