Defining a Minority at Risk
MAR focuses specifically on ethnopolitical groups, non-state communal groups that have "political significance" in the contemporary world because of their status and political actions. Political significance is determined by the following two criteria:
Many group traits can contribute to the sentiments and interests that lead to collective action by ethnopolitical groups. The possible bases of communal identity include shared language, religion, national or racial origin, common cultural practices, and attachment to a particular territory. Most communal identity groups also share a common history, or myths of shared experience, that often include their victimization by others. No one of these is essential to group identity. Fundamentally what matters is the belief--by people who share some such traits and by those with whom they interact--that the traits Set them apart from others in ways that justify their separate treatment and status.
Since the strength and political significance of group identities change over time, the numbers of groups meeting the two general criteria also change. In 1998, such groups (275 in 116 countries) made up 17.4% of the world's population. These numbers reflect the application of seven rules:
MAR groups are categorized as one of six types:
These are regionally concentrated peoples with a history of organized political autonomy with their own state, traditional ruler, or regional government, who have supported political movements for autonomy at some time since 1945.
These are conquered descendants of earlier inhabitants of a region who live mainly in conformity with traditional social, economic, and cultural customs that are sharply distinct from those of dominant groups.
These are ethnically or culturally distinct peoples, usually descended from slaves or immigrants, most of whom occupy a distinct social and economic stratum or niche.
These are culturally distinct peoples, tribes, or clans in heterogenous societies who hold or seek a share in state power. Disadvantaged communal contenders are subject to some degree of political, economic, or cultural discrimination but lack offsetting advantages. Advantaged communal contenders are those with political advantages over other groups in their society. Dominant communal contenders are those with a preponderance of both political and economic power.
These are communal groups that differ from others principally in their religious beliefs and related cultural practices, and whose political status and activities are centered on the defense of their beliefs.
These are segments of a trans-state people with a history of organized political autonomy whose kindred control an adjacent state, but who now constitute a minority in the state in which they reside.
These are groups that do not meet traditional at-risk criteria, and therefore do not fit other group-type designations. Coded under NSF selection bias grant.
Selecting MAROB Organizations
The project developed a set of criteria for the inclusion of organizations into the MAROB dataset. These are as follows:
Organizations were selected on the basis of their basic longevity. This was operationalized in the following manner: The first year that an organization is mentioned in a source as being active, it is put on a "watchlist" for potential inclusion. Once the organization is mentioned in sources for three consecutive years, it is included in the dataset, coded from the first year of the three consecutive years. If an organization included in the dataset disappears from source material for five consecutive years, it is no longer coded for following years. If after that time, it is again mentioned for three consecutive years, it is again included but as a separate organization.