Government Professor Published in Academic Journal

Ronnie Olesker, assistant professor of government, was recently published in the International Journal of Conflict Management.

The article, “Divided Societies and identity boundaries: a conflict analysis framework,” was co- authored with Angela Kachuyevski, assistant professor of political science at Arcadia University, provides a new framework to analyze conflicts in societies divided by ethnic identities.

Olesker and Kachuyevski examine three cases: the Palestinian minority in Israel, and the Russian minority in Ukraine and Estonia.

Click here to view the journal online.



– The purpose of this paper is to develop a conflict analysis framework that better captures the complexity of conflicts in divided societies by including the differing perceptions of identity boundaries between ethnic majorities and minorities in divided societies.


– The analysis draws on the social boundaries and societal security literatures to develop a typology representing four dyads of perceived identity boundaries that illustrate the different dynamics of ethnic relations in divided societies.


– The exploratory cases illustrate how the perceptions of identity boundaries have implications for conflict dynamics that call for different conflict management strategies.

Research limitations/implications

– The empirical cases serve to illustrate the application of the theoretical framework. Policy makers devising conflict management strategies in these deeply divided societies are likely to err if differing perceptions of social boundaries are not taken into consideration. Thus, the authors provide explicit policy recommendations for conflict management in each of the dyads presented in the typology.

Practical implications

– Using the framework that incorporates differing perceptions of identity allows analysts to account for the impact of external actors in shaping and maintaining identity boundaries and allows for a consideration of the possible differing interpretations of the boundary held by different groups as well as the implications this has for conflict analysis and management.


– The authors develop a model that accounts for the perceptions of both the majority and the minority of the identity boundaries that separate divided societies. They account for the implications for conflict dynamics and thus for conflict management strategies of differing perceptions of identity boundaries, which provides a perspective that is both theoretically significant and policy relevant, as most policy makers assume that ethnic minorities and majorities see the social boundary between them in similar terms.