Despite the political upheavals, conflicts, war and genocide generated by unequal and unjust minority-majority relations, the term minority people entered social science terminology for the first time in 19321 • According to Davis (1979: 2), minority studies were initially largely confined to the study of race/ethnic relations, culture, and religion, and it was only during the late 1970s that minority-dominant majority relations began to gain analytical and political significance. Three factors contributed to the increased interest in minority studies during this period: 1) the anti-colonial movement and the recognition of what Carpenter (1990) calls the 'South as a Conscious Minority'; 2) the maturation of the civil rights movement; 3) the genocide committed against the Jewish and Gypsy minorities in Europe between the First and the Second World Wars. In the international arena, it took the United Nations almost 44 years after the adoption of the UN Declaration on Human rights to adopt the Declaration on the Rights ofPersons Belonging to Ethnic, Religious, and Linguistic Minorities (December 18, 1992). Ironically it was the Representative ofYugoslavia who introduced the Draft Resolution (UN Doc. E/CNA/1992/L.16) to the UN Commission on Human Rights for approval.

, , , , , ,
Erasmus University Rotterdam
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Salih, M. (2000, September 21). Majoritarian tyranny in a world of minorities. Retrieved from