Culture, Conflict and Community: Rituals of Protest or Flairs of Competition

February, 2004

Most of the studies that advance theories about the social conditions of cultural conflict draw their conclusions by examining high profile case studies. Such studies focus on the unique and varied confluence of factors that come together in a particular time and place and create sparks and often full-blown fires around an artistic or cultural work. However, unless researchers look at many communities side-by-side, it is impossible to draw firm conclusions about links between the presence of conflict and certain underlying social conditions. The research reported here goes beyond single case studies and compares 48 communities in an effort to understand why some communities are more contentious than others when it comes to fighting over art and cultural expression.

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