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By Jóhanna Kristín Birnir

This ebook asks what distinguishes peaceable plural democracies from violent ones and what distinguishes violent ethnic teams from peaceable ones in the similar democracy. opposite to traditional knowledge, it means that ethnic teams and their political calls for aren't inherently intransigent and that violence isn't an important corollary of ethnic politics. The e-book posits that ethnic identification serves as a reliable yet versatile details shortcut for political offerings, influencing occasion formation and improvement in new and maturing democracies. It moreover argues that political intransigence and violence expressed by way of a few ethnic teams stem from situations exogenous to ethnic affiliations. specifically, absolute regulations on ethnic entry to the administrative produce stipulations less than which ethnic workforce incentive to take part in peaceable electoral politics is eradicated. a few case reviews and statistical research of all electoral democracies considering that 1945 are used to check and aid the formal argument.

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For instance, Chandra (2004) discusses the determinants of ethnic party success. In short, she argues that access to patronage as limited by the electoral system determines successful ethnic recruitment. Rather than predicting a deterministic pattern of electoral competition, however, she holds that ethnic groups redefine themselves in response to access barriers. Similarly, Wilkinson (2004) argues that where local electoral competition is significant, elite parties within ethnic groups use polarizing antiminority events to encourage members of their wider ethnic category to identify with their party and the majority ethnicity rather than a party identified with economic redistribution or some ideological agenda.

For instance, Estonians in Estonia before 1990 were arguably members of an “ethnic” group that defined themselves in opposition to the then dominant Russian group; today, however, most analysts would classify these two groups in Estonia in reverse. The Russians now constitute the “ethnic” group while Estonians belong to the dominant group, which politically is internally divided along several nonethnic fault lines. ethnicity in the literature Given the observation from social identity theory that people can be expected to differentiate into ethnic groups, the question then becomes, What effect does ethnic diversity have on democratic electoral politics?

In the mobilization literature, Powell (1982) argues that national cleavages provide a natural base for political leaders who seek to mobilize support. The nature of group affiliation, however, hinders the compromises necessary for successful political coexistence. He contends that on ethnic or religious issues common ground is difficult to discover because the benefits are indivisible or because compromise would involve intense costs to one or the other party. For example, conflicts regarding language of instruction in schools, conflicts over religious education, parades, and other cultural manifestations all represent a zero-sum game.

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