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POLI 227 Lecture Notes - Jordan River, Consociationalism, False Consciousness

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 227
Rex Brynen

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Feb 6th
Politics of Cultural Pluralism
Ethnic Differences (real or imagined) can have a significant impact on politics- political
mobilization may occur along ethnic lines and political cleavages can be drawn along ethnic lines
Patterns of ethnic relations (Handelman)
1) Relative harmony
- Integration, multiculturalism (i.e. Canada)
2) Uneasy balance
- Competition for political and economic power
3) Enforced hierarchy
4) Systematic violence
- Ethnic riots, pogroms, civil war, seperation, irredentism, border disputes (i.e. India and
Pakistan dispute over Kashmir)
It is important to note that most ethnic/religious differences do not result in violence
There is no significant linear correlation between ethnic pluralism and civil war onset- there is
some evidence of a curvilinear relationship though, where ethnic violence is most common
when there is a small number of competing ethnic groups rather than a large number or a
relatively homogeneous group
Problem with examining cultural violence is the base rate fallacy and selecting on the dependent
variable (we look at cases where there is violence due to ethnic cleavages and ignore the cases
where ethnic differences do not lead to violence)
Identities can become politicized on seemingly insignificant lines (i.e. Jordanian/Palestinian
divide comes from which side of the Jordan river you come from)
Sources of politicization
Primordial cultural identities
- Deeply seated, rooted in culture, slow to change
- This view doesn’t account for the fact that identities are easily mutable
Common experience
- Reason Palestinians feel Palestinian is the common experience of the Arab/Israeli
Class and communalism
- Marx- ethnic identity as a result of false consciousness
- Liberals: coincident and cross-cutting cleavages (show how ethnic identities and class
often intersect)- mutually reinforcing which makes the identities more
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