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POLI 322 sept 7.docx

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 322
Narendra Subramanian

POLI 322 – Lecture Notes September 7, 2012 -censuses suggest that everyone belongs to just one religious group/language group/etc. -so censuses make cultures seem more clearly divided than they are -European colonizers gave a lot of attention to Culture as a way of understanding local society  did this because they felt they were so culturally different -this form of classification is not just a thin over-layer over society; it has some effect on what happens in society -however, this form of “official” society influences what happens  e.g. if colonial officials give attention to religious classification, they also signal in the process that if you make demands on behalf of the religious group you have a better chance of getting a response -that signal gave people incentives to make demands on behalf of these groups -even influenced the way people saw themselves -in a sense, censuses shove people in cubbyholes and make them feel like they belong exclusively to one group -also influenced social and political movements  movements developed to mobilize members of groups -the way cultural differences affected society changed after colonization 3 types of cultural differences: 1. Religion -in all of South Asia, Hindus and Muslims are the largest percentage of the population -Hindus have significant majorities in South Asia, India, and Nepal, and a significant minority in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan -Muslims are the majority in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Maldives, and have a significant minority in India  they are officially 95% rather than 97% because there is a small group who are part of a different religion but believe themselves to be Muslim -Christians are minorities everywhere  India: officially there is only 2%, but there has been considerable conversion amongst lower castes in the past few years -there are different patterns of religious composition in the different countries -in most countries there are significant religious minorities, despite the fact that there is a significant majority  this allows for more accommodation for the minorities -officially, minority accommodation probably goes furthest in India (though there is more to it than the official story) -religious minorities are accommodated the least in Nepal and Bhutan, and more conflict over majority/minority relations in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh -Maldives and Pakistan have such small minorities that there is not much room for significant conflict, and religious conflict is not “centre stage” Formation of Religious Groups -Hinduism: several loosely related belief systems of South Asian origin  “Hindu”: residual category in India -Islam: came through trade, migration, conquest, conversion  from Arab world, Central Asia  first millennium: groups moved from the Arab world  end of first/start of second millennium: groups from Central Asia moving to what is now Pakistan/Nepal/Bangladesh -Christianity: trade conquest, conversion  from Arab world, Europe  first wave was groups from the Arab world migrating  second wave was European colonization -Buddhism, Sikhism: from local reform initiatives  som
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