Constructivist Theories of Ethnic Politics

Paperback | October 16, 2012

EditorKanchan Chandra

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Most research on the effect of ethnicity on economic and political outcomes is driven by the "primordialist" assumption that ethnic identities are fixed. But "constructivist" research across the social sciences and humanities tells us that ethnic identities change over time, and are often aproduct 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 synthesizeconstructivist 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 therelationship 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 whichit 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 logicslinking 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 thequestions we can ask about the relationship between ethnicity, politics and economics.

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Most research on the effect of ethnicity on economic and political outcomes is driven by the "primordialist" assumption that ethnic identities are fixed. But "constructivist" research across the social sciences and humanities tells us that ethnic identities change over time, and are often aproduct of the very political and economic phe...

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

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Kobo ebook|Apr 28 2016

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:496 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:October 16, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199893179

ISBN - 13:9780199893171

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Table of Contents

1. Kanchan Chandra: IntroductionPart 1: Concepts2. Kanchan Chandra: What is Ethnic Identity: A Minimalist Definition3. Kanchan Chandra: Attributes and Categories: A New Conceptual Vocabulary For Thinking About Ethnic Identity4. Kanchan Chandra: How Ethnic Identities Change5. Kanchan Chandra and Cilanne Boulet: A Language for Thinking About Ethnic Identity ChangePart 2: Models6. Kanchan Chandra and Cilanne Boulet: A Baseline Model of Change in an Activated Ethnic Demography7. Maurits Van der Veen and David Laitin: Modeling the Evolution of an Ethnic Demography8. Karen Ferree: How Fluid is Fluid? Ethnic Demography and Electoral Volatility in Africa9. David Laitin and Maurits Van Der Veen: Ethnicity and Pork: A Virtual Test of Causal Mechanisms10. Steven Wilkinson: Constructivism and Ethnic Riots11. Roger Petersen: Identity, Rationality, and Emotion in State Disintegration and Reconstruction12. Ian Lustick: Deploying Constructivism for the Analysis of Rare Events: How Possible is the Emergence of "Punjabistan?"