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Competition Theory of Ethnic/Racial Conflict and Protest

Olzak, Susan. 2013. “Competition Theory of Ethnic/Racial Conflict and Protest.” In David A. Snow, Bert Klandermans, Donatella della Porta, and Doug McAdam (eds.) The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social and Political Movements. Oxford UK: Blackwell Publishers.

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Competition theory of race and ethnic conflict specifies three mechanisms under which racial/ethnic conflict and protest occurs. The first reflects a familiar “racial threat” argument, suggesting that the magnitude of response by dominant groups depends on the timing and size of the incoming group and on the clarity of ethnic distinctions made between newcomers and residents (Blalock 1967). Thus, particularly large and concentrated waves of newcomers perceived as ethnically or racially distinct are especially likely to receive a hostile response. Furthermore, as migration and immigration of distinct ethnic and racial populations surge, the potential for protest or violence directed against ethnically distinct newcomers becomes more likely (Koopmans & Olzak 2004).

The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social and Political Movements
2013