Constructivist Theories of Ethnic Politics

ISBN : 9780199893171

Kanchan Chandra
520 ページ
170 x 233 mm

Most research on the effect of ethnicity on economic and political outcomes is driven by the " assumption that ethnic identities are fixed. But " research across the social sciences and humanities tells us that ethnic identities change over time, and are often a product of the very political and economic phenomena that they are used to explain. Constructivist Theories of Ethnic Politics is a first cut at rebuilding theories of the relationship between ethnicity, politics and economics on a fortified constructivist foundation. It proposes a new conceptual framework for thinking about ethnic identity. It uses this framework to synthesize constructivist arguments into a set of propositions about how and why ethnic identities change. It translates this framework - and the propositions derived from it - into a new, combinatorial language. And it employs these conceptual, constructivist, and combinatorial tools to theorize about the relationship between ethnicity, politics and economics using a variety of methods. The conceptual tools provided here open new avenues for theory building by representing the complexity of a constructivist world in an analytically tractable way. The theoretical arguments challenge the bad name that ethnic diversity has acquired in social scientific literature, according to which it is associated with regimes that are less stable, less democratic, less well-governed, less peaceful and poorer than regimes in which the population is ethnically homogeneous. Taking the possibility of change in ethnic identity into account, this book shows, dismantles the theoretical logics linking ethnic diversity to such negative outcomes. Indeed, ethnic diversity can sometimes serve as a benign force, strengthening rather than threatening democracy, preventing rather than producing violence, and inhibiting rather than accelerating state collapse or secession. Even more importantly, it defines new research agendas by changing the questions we can ask about the relationship between ethnicity, politics and economics.


1. Introduction
Kanchan Chandra
Part 1: Concepts
2. What is Ethnic Identity: A Minimalist Definition.
Kanchan Chandra
3. Attributes and Categories: A New Conceptual Vocabulary
For Thinking About Ethnic Identity
Kanchan Chandra
4. How Ethnic Identities Change
Kanchan Chandra
5. A Language for Thinking About Ethnic Identity Change
Kanchan Chandra and Cilanne Boulet
Part 2: Models
6. A Baseline Model of Change in an Activated Ethnic Demography
Kanchan Chandra and Cilanne Boulet
7. Modeling the Evolution of an Ethnic Demography
Maurits Van der Veen and David Laitin
8. How Fluid is Fluid? Ethnic Demography and Electoral Volatility in Africa
Karen Ferree
9. Ethnicity and Pork: A Virtual Test of Causal Mechanisms
David Laitin and Maurits Van Der Veen
10. Constructivism and Ethnic Riots
Steven Wilkinson
11. Identity, Rationality, and Emotion in State Disintegration and Reconstruction
Roger Petersen
12. Deploying Constructivism for the Analysis of Rare Events: How Possible is the Emergence of "Punjabistan?"
Ian Lustick


Kanchan Chandra is Associate Professor of Politics at New York University.