Peace through Stadium: Olympic Games, Nationalism, and Civil War

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2017

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Beardsley, Kyle

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Abstract

Although the previous literature has extensively debated the role of nationalism in civil conflicts, few studies have addressed how different types of nationalism might affect the occurrence of civil conflicts. In this study, I distinguish two types of nationalism—inclusive and exclusive—and examine their impact on the likelihood of civil war. I argue that both inclusive and exclusive nationalism can have pacifying effects that are produced by distinct mechanisms in each case. In particular, inclusive nationalism will reinforce national identity and national unity, leading to a reduced likelihood of civil conflicts. Meanwhile, exclusive nationalism creates a window in which the likelihood of interstate wars increases by distracting attention away from domestic grievances, which, in turn, decreases the likelihood of civil war. In this study, I use a nationalism-­‐‑inducing sporting event—the Summer Olympic Games—as the impetus for creating surges in nationalism, and I test the effects of the Games on the likelihood of civil war in a given country. An analysis of an original dataset on Summer Olympic Games and civil war from 1946 to 2015 confirms my theory that nationalism induced by the Summer Olympic Games reduces the likelihood of civil conflicts.

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Chen, Bidan (2017). Peace through Stadium: Olympic Games, Nationalism, and Civil War. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/15244.

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