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Ethnic Politics and Identity

Module Code: POU44202

Module Name: Ethnic Politics and Identity 2019-20

  • ECTS Weighting: 5
  • Semester/Term Taught: Semester 2
  • Contact Hours: One 90-minute seminar per week
  • Module Personnel: Lecturer - Dr. Dino Hadzic
  • Office Hours: TBA

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Describe how the study of ethnic politics and identity has developed over time.
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different theoretical approaches to the study of identity formation, salience, and change.
  • Understand how institutional design and elite behavior can both reflect social divisions and contribute to them.
  • Appreciate the role group identity (as both a cause and consequence) plays in various political processes such as nation building, violence, and electoral competition.

Module Learning Aims

This module aims to introduce students to the numerous ways in which group identities are important to the study of politics. Students will gain a thorough understanding of how groups shape and are shaped by various political processes.


Module Content

This module examines the politics of identity within and between groups. The module is roughly divided into two parts. The first explores various theoretical approaches to the study of political and social identities. The second will cover what role group identities play in various political processes such as nation building, violence, and electoral competition. Throughout the semester, we will address some of the most enduring questions in the comparative study of identity: why are some group identities politically relevant while others are not, and why does that change over time? Does electoral/political competition simply reflect social divisions or can the former exacerbate (or even create) the latter? How can political institutions and elites make inter-group conflict more or less likely?

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Recommended Reading List

Anderson, Benedict. 2006. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Verso Books.

Chandra, Kanchan. 2004. Why Ethnic Parties Succeed: Patronage and Ethnic Head Counts in India. Cambridge University Press.

Chandra, Kanchan, ed. 2012. Constructivist Theories of Ethnic Politics. Oxford University Press.

Posner, Daniel N. 2005. Institutions and Ethnic Politics in Africa. Cambridge University Press.

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Assessment Details (TBC)

Draft assessment structure: essay 40%, 90 minute examination 60%

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