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Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India Paperback – 1 Apr 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 2nd Revised edition edition (1 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300100132
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300100136
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 15.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,106,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A lasting contribution to our understanding of how to tackle the roots of communal violence in India." -- Radha Kumar, Foreign Affairs

"An important breakthrough in understanding the problem of ethnic conflict globally." -- Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, as quoted in the New York Times

"An outstanding work of social science, one of the most important studies of ethnic violence to appear in many years." -- Samuel P. Huntington, author of The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order

About the Author

Ashutosh Varshney is associate professor of political science at the University of Michigan.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
In this book I seek to establish an integral link between the structure of civil society on one hand and ethnic, or communal, violence on the other. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 9 reviews
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Groundbreaking research 2 Jun. 2004
By Ronald Kraybill - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've worked and taught in the field of peacebuilding for 25 years and consider this book the single most important research that has been done in the field. Varshney breaks new ground in conducting indepth research into why some cities in India into fell into violence and some did not during times of high national tension.
He presents clear and extremely useful findings about what is useful and what is not useful in resisting violence. Specifically, his research shows that creating structures that bring people together to work for a common cause or benefit(such as Hindu-Muslim traders cooperatives, joint community development committees, peace committees, etc.) has a marked effect in reducing violence.
I present Varshney's findings in a variety of settings worldwide and find audiences always highly responsive. My students love the book and find Varshney's ideas so clear and insightful that the often refer back to him later.
This book in my view is an example of scholarship at its best: well-designed, provocative, clear in its conclusions. On top of that is it unusually lucid in writing style. I consider it a "classic" - a book that will endure for many years and that deserves to be on the shelf of any serious student of ethnic or religious violence.
You can read the first and last few chapters and get the real benefits of the book.
Ron Kraybill
Professor of Conflict Transformation
Eastern Mennonite University
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
grear research ..fresh approach and certainly unbiased 11 May 2009
By inza - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me make it clear that I am neither a Hindu nor a Muslim, so am surprised when people call Varshney's research biased against Muslims, I am not sure how anyone could get that out of this book...if anyone for the sake of argument wanted to make a case for this book being biased there would be one for it being biased against Hindus!( which it is not either to be fair). But I guess if you are looking for Islamophobia you find it anywhere just as people promoting Islamophobia find reasons to be Islamophobic.. sad but true. Also this book is clearly in the genre of an optimistic search for ethnic peace..which makes it a tad bit 'innocent' but honestly that is the only reason I would read a book about ethnic conflict.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Excellent book!! 10 July 2008
By jnuwaala - Published on
Format: Paperback
This very compelling book tells the story of Hindu-Muslim violence in India not by relying on a hunch, or ideological predisposition, but by drawing on hard data. Tightly written, the book will make you think about ethnic violence in a systematic and intelligent manner. The author's significant argument that civil society is implicated in preventing riots in certain Indian cities has important implications both at the personal as well as the political level. For it makes us ask ourselves, as citizens how does our participation or non participation in civic life impact Hindu-Muslim relations in our cities? Furthermore, how can the state and international agencies encourage and entrench the kind of civic behavior that diminishes the prospect of conflict turning into riots? Should be read by all concerned citizens.
8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
a work of excellence 1 Oct. 2002
By julliette binoche - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Varshneys research is particulary impressive because of the concise research method that he upholds. I am pleased that he has studied both peaceful and violent cities--giving his research model a basis for comparison. I have purchased 20 copies of Ethnic Conflict and Civic life and have circulated the work among my friends. Varshney's work gives us hope for world peace. this is the work of utter genius. very impressive research. particulary interesting was his intricate methodology of janwars in conflict. I highly recomment this book.
a beintot,
9 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Book does not deserve schlorship 30 April 2007
By Hanif - Published on
Format: Paperback
Mr. Varshney seems to have some agenda with this book.This book with it emphasis tries to blame muslims for the instigators of all riots . May I suggest another book called "The production of Hindu muslim violence "by Paul Brass . This book is more balanced and deals very well the real issues of riots . Infact Mr. Varshney was so critical of this book that he misquotes the authors intention and harshly critisizes his schlorly work in his review with the Times of India.In reply, Mr. Brass posts his objections and analysis about criticism from Mr. Varshney in a poignant and subtle manner.
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