Hostile Hosts: Ethnic Power Relations and Violence against Refugees.
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This thesis aims to connect the phenomenon of pre-existing ethnic exclusion in host states to state violence against refugees. Ethnic discrimination has been a relevant precursor to various violent civil wars, communal conflicts, and political campaigns throughout the 20th and 21st-century. States that govern under highly discriminatory contexts recognize the potential for instability they face, and so must take actions to signal their ability to effectively use force. Preemptively attacking the ethnic groups they discriminate against, however, may be detrimental to their interests, as it may serve to legitimize the grievances of those marginalized ethnic groups. Attacking refugees, in my theory, could serve as an attractive way to signal the state’s ability to use force. Analyses leveraging POSVAR, a new dataset on violence against refugees, as well as the Ethnic Power Relations data, provides some support for my hypothesized relationship. By connecting ethnic power relations to repression against refugees, this project allows another look into the strategies a state may use to preserve its existence in the face of internal threats. It also charts out potential avenues for future research related to violence against migrant groups, and suggests the need for more comprehensive data collection on refugee-related violence.