Flashcards in 21: Politics in Ethnically Divided Societies Deck (10):
What was the standard view of democracies in ethnically divided societies in the 50s and 60s?
There must be cross-cutting cleavages (i.e. things that unite people like class, language, culture etc.). Therefore democracy will not work in ethnically divided societies.
Rabushka and Shepsle (1972): "is the resolution of intense but conflicting preferences in [a deeply divided] society manageable in a democratic framework? We think not"
"it may be difficult, but it is not at all impossible to achieve and maintain stable democratic government in a plural society"
Fearon's definition of an 'ethnic group'
1. membership in the group is reckoned primarily by descent by both members and non-members
2. members are conscious of group membership and view it as normatively and psychologically important to them
3. members share some distinguishing cultural features (e.g. language, cultures, religion)
4. These cultural features are held to be valuable
5. The group has a homeland or at least remembers one
6. The group has a shared and collectively represented history, that has some basis in fact
7. The group is potentially "stand alone" in a conceptual sense - that is, it is not a caste or caste-like group (e.g. European nobility or commoners)
How multiethnic is the UK?
UK: 0.344 on the fractionalisation index
white british 80.5%
white other 5.5%
London: 0.738 on the fractionalisation index
white british 44.9%
white other 14.9%
(according to 2011 census)
How do you measure ethnic fractionalization?
Fearon 2003: Fractionalization Index: 0-10 where:
- 0 is a completely homogenous society - i.e. a single ethnic group
- 1 is a completely heterogeneous society - i.e. multiple ethnic groups.
Theories of how ethnic identity arises and how institutions should respond
Primordial (Smith 1991): National and ethnic groups are ancient, natural, permanent and objective phenomena. Institutions and policies have little ability to modify these identities and should instead seek to accommodate ethnic identity.
Constructivist (Anderson 1983): National and ethnic groups are constructed via collective histories and experiences, such, such as civil wars, national building. Institutions and policies have some/weak effects on identity formation. Institutions should be used to create a united political identity (Assimilation)
Instrumentalist (Posner 2004): Ethnic identification is chosen by individuals in response to changing economic and political incentives (e.g. the political mobilisation of one group). Institutions and policies have strong effects on identity formation.
What does Posner demonstrate in his 2004 paper
Posner (2004) uses the natural experiment of arbitrary social division during colonialism to show that "political salience of a cultural cleavage depends not on the nature of the cleavage itself but on the sizes of the groups it defines and whether or not they will be useful vehicles for political competition".
He used the example of the Chewas and Tumbukas, societies that were split by the arbitrary Zambia/Malawi border during colonialism. In Zambia both groups were small relative to the country as a whole but in Malawi both groups were significant relative to the country as a whole (Chewas slightly bigger). There was conflict between the groups in Malawi but not in Zambia.
What are the problems of majoritarian democracy
Lijphart (1985): "The core problem of majoritarianism is its potential for 'majority dictatorship' and the permanent exclusion of ethnic minorities"
Sisk (1996): "Simply put, simple majority rule results in minimum winning coalitions that tend to exclude a significant minority; when minority preferences are intense and there is little chance of the minority becoming majority, a recipe for conflict exists"
Outline Lijphart's 'Consociationalism'
Based on primordial view of ethnicity (i.e. that ethnic identities are permanent)
Ethno-political instability can be prevented through the institutionalised guarantee of political representation for all major ethnic groups in a society.
Ethnic groups should:
- sharing of executive power (each group is represented in cabinet)
- Group autonomy in education, language rights etc.
- Proportionality in parliament, civil service, policy etc.
- mutual veto on big issues
Therefore: federalism, PR, power-sharing executive