Cover image for Ethnic conflict and civic life : Hindus and Muslims in India
Ethnic conflict and civic life : Hindus and Muslims in India
Varshney, Ashutosh, 1957-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven, CT : Yale University Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
ix, 382 pages : illustrations, charts ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS422.C64 V37 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This timely book, updated for the paperback edition, examines how civic ties between Hindus and Muslims in different Indian cities serve to contain, or even prevent, ethnic violence. It is of interest not only to South Asian scholars and policymakers but also to those studying multiethnic societies in other areas of the world.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The explosion of ethnic conflict in the post-Cold War era has given rise to a variety of theories attempting to explain this phenomenon. Using multiple sources of data on Hindu-Muslim conflict in India, political scientist Varshney (Univ. of Michigan) critiques existing theories and offers an original alternative explanation. Most theories of ethnic conflict, he argues, fail to explain why such conflict occurs in some areas of a country but not others. Indian data on religious conflict reveals that such conflict tends to occur in urban, not rural, areas, and in some large cities, but not others. By comparing three pairs of cities, Varshney explains why some cities are prone to conflict while others are not. The key variable, he argues, is the critical role played by interethnic civil networks or civic life in promoting communal harmony and limiting polarization. Varshney's analysis is an example of social science at its best. Brilliantly conceived and executed, this study will be valuable to policy makers, scholars of comparative politics, South Asianists, and those concerned with the management of ethnic conflict. All academic levels and collections. S. A. Kochanek emeritus, Pennsylvania State University, University Park Campus