Journal of Historical Political Economy > Vol 4 > Issue 2

Trajectories of Violence against Ethnoreligious Minorities

Kerice Doten-Snitker, Santa Fe Institute, USA,
Suggested Citation
Kerice Doten-Snitker (2024), "Trajectories of Violence against Ethnoreligious Minorities", Journal of Historical Political Economy: Vol. 4: No. 2, pp 255-279.

Publication Date: 08 Jul 2024
© 2024 K. Doten-Snitker
Gender and ethnicity,  Bayesian models,  Civil conflict,  Comparative political economy,  Comparative politics,  Government,  Political economy,  Political history,  Religion and politics,  Social movements
Group-targeted violencemobilizationstate capacityreligious organizations


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Case Details and Specific Hypotheses 


How are popular violence and state violence against ethnoreligious minorities related? Insomuch as they might have similar political correlates, they are separate processes, of mobilization versus policy-making. Political mobilization theories connect popular violence to policy choices by policy-makers, predicting that popular violence precipitates state violence. Theories of political development interpret popular violence as an indication of state weakness, which should then mean that popular violence substitutes for state violence. The symbolic view of ethnoreligious difference poses that popular violence fulfills a ritual and boundary-maintaining function and is thus repeated without demand for or the occurrence of state violence. This paper compares antisemitic pogroms and expulsions in medieval Germany as expressions of popular violence and state violence. Analyses evidence an interaction between political mobilization and state capacity. Where the local state was strong, the state was more likely to respond to popular violence with state violence, and violence also escalated to the point of genocide more often. When incorporated into the government, religious organizational capacity to make violence a ritual limited state violence; when outside of the government, it facilitated state-led ethnoreligious cleansing. Any history of popular violence, whether proximate or not, conditions states to target ethnoreligious minorities with violence. State strength is no panacea for popular violence but in fact can facilitate group-targeted violence.



Journal of Historical Political Economy, Volume 4, Issue 2 Special Issue: Religion and Culture within Historical Political Economy
See the other articles that are part of this special issue.