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Lecture 4

POLI 1P95 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Consociationalism, Imagined Communities, Instrumentalism


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POLI 1P95
Professor
Sanjay Jeram
Lecture
4

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January 14: Theories
Quick Review
Irish Protestants and Irish Catholics:
racially very similar
same language
religion more important than any other shared attributes
Hutus and Tutsis:
more differences than just religion
Ethnicity as a concept as so complex and multifaceted- may look different
Nation: collective consciousness that desires for a state.
territory and political aspirations
Nationalism:
territory and ethnicity are necessary, but not sufficient.
Theories/Research Traditions:
Based on modernity, industrialization, urbanization and media- these things which have helped
people form an identity with people who share character traits with. This would have been
impossible in the pre-modern age.
1. Essentialism/Primordialism: Most traditional and criticized of the theories
“man is a national, not a rational” (Connor 1994)
weaknesses:
variations (time and space)
Old and new hostilities
biology cannot explain everything: Example, Chinese in Malaysia- those groups
have only recently come into contact, if biology determined who you hate, the
groups would have sought each other out sooner.
Malleability: groups change
The “psychology of emotion” (Peterson 2002)- tried to revive Essentialism, by testing
brain waves in people
fear hatred, resentment and rage are “biological”- humans are naturally
predisposed
if ethnic conflicts are driving people to fear - it’s not necessarily just biology, there
is evidence that ethnic conflicts register fear in people
2. Instrumentalism:
nothing to do with biology- everything to do with political agenda and self interest of inds
and groups (resources)
Elites manipulate masses- with something to gain
scholars look to the main actors in a conflict
ethnicity “masks” other interests
Weaknesses:
why mobilize via ethnicity?
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