In recent decades, societies the world over have experienced accelerated processes of social and political change, bringing individuals to the centre of political attention, with parties and elites no longer representing the homogenous interest of groups as they once did. Societies integrated through hierarchical organisational structures, core ideologies, and related belief systems were all decried to be the fact of the past. And yet, in Europe and elsewhere, we witness the growing importance cultural identities of core ethnic group are assuming in nation-state politics. Increasingly, political parties, civil society groups and social movements mobilise resident publics around what is often perceived as the interests of domestic majority publics. On the other hand, more and more states choose to provide compactly settled minority groups special opportunities to pursue their group-specific interests, whether in language training, culture-sensitive education, history of their community, and religious practices.
From this perspective, the Centre engages in comparative political analyses and works closely with stakeholders to assess how political institutions shape, frame, and change perceptions and preferences in ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse societies. The staff at the Centre continuously brings their research expertise and policy advisory experience into teaching, creating informative, dynamic, and engaging curriculum for doctoral, research taught, and undergraduate students.
The Centre for the Study of Ethnic Conflict cooperates closely with other departments in the faculty and across the university through the Institute for Conflict Transformation and Social Justice. The Centre has three priority development areas: