The theme of this paper is on one of the most elementary questions in the study of ethnicity and nationalism, namely how to approach and assess ethnic boundaries'. Should we perceive them as an advantageous or a pernicious tool in politics? To answer that question, we need a reference point; advantageous or pernicious in relation to whom? I will here use those people(-s) who are so marginalized that their voices are practically silenced, and the way in which the political reconstruction, conversion, or deconstruction of ethnic boundaries is favorable or not to them; the margins of the margin. Do ethnic boundaries, and particularly their political usage, illuminate and create preconditions for uplifting, visualization or in any other way favor the margins of the margin? And if yes, how does one handle the element of violence which is involved in the politicization and defense of such boundaries? On the contrary, if we suggest that ethnic boundaries should be deconstructed, how do we deal with the causes of ethnic boundary construction? In order to illuminate these problems, two approaches will be critically discussed and applied: Post-Colonialism and Conflict Resolution.

Author Bio(s)

Bent D. Jørgensen is a reseacher and lecturer at Department of Peace & Development Research, Göteborg University, Sweden. His main teaching and research interests include development studies, Southeast Asia, and conflict resolution.


conflict resolution, ethnic margins, nationalism, politics, postcolonialism, violence

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