Psychological Boundaries and Ethnic Conflict: How Identity Constrained Choice and Worked to Turn Ordinary People into Perpetrators of Ethnic Violence During the Lebanese Civil War

  • Lina Haddad Kreidie
  • Kristen Renwick Monroe


Why do ordinary people commit ethnic atrocities? To understand the psychology of ethnic violence we constructed a pilot project based on narrative interviews with five ordinary people who participated in acts of ethnic violence during the Lebanese Civil War. The interviews present striking evidence that identity constrains choice for all individuals, regardless of their particular ideological or socioeconomic demographic background. Our findings challenge both the rationalist approaches of realistic conflict theory and rational choice and the institutional claims of consociational democracy and suggest the tremendous power of identity and perceptions of self in relation to others to constrain political actions.

ethnic violence identity moral choice narrative 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lina Haddad Kreidie
    • 1
  • Kristen Renwick Monroe
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Social Science, University of CaliforniaIrvine

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