Ethnopolitical Conflict, Misperceptions And Miscommunication In

Ifat Maoz*, Donald Ellis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Ethnopolitical conflicts are defined as ongoing states of hostility and opposition between two or more ethnic and/or national groups of people. This article discusses phenomena commonly observed by social and political scientists of misperceptions, biased construals, and miscommunication that occur between the two opposing sides in deeply set ethnopolitical conflicts. The first part of this article describes major characteristics of ethnopolitical conflict that are closely related to psychological and communicative processes that are highly typical of such conflicts. The second part of this article describes misperceptions and biased construals in conflict such as 'the mirror-image phenomenon', and the 'hostile media effect'. The third part of the article discusses miscommunications in conflict that include cycles of perpetual argument, and other processes related to communication codes in ethnopolitical conflict. Finally we conclude by briefly outlining the role of communication in peace building and conflict resolution.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Violence, Peace, and Conflict
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9780123739858
StatePublished - 2008


  • Biased construals
  • Communication codes
  • Cycles of argument
  • Dialog
  • Ethnopolitical conflicts
  • Hostile media effect
  • Ingroup bias
  • Intergroup hostility
  • Intractable conflicts
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • Miscommunication
  • Misperceptions
  • Peace building


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