Methodological Nationalism in Global Studies and Beyond
Presented: The 24th World Congress of Philosophy, Beijing, China, August 13-20, 2018
Co-authored with Kenneth Keulman
Global studies, or the study of globalization, is a diverse field of research, with different disciplinary focuses and with some national versions. Russian Alexander Chumakov constructed it as a philosophical discipline, while in the US academia it is considered an empirical inquiry at the intersection of area studies, international studies, and international relations. This paper focuses on American global studies (AGS), pointing out the heavy epistemological burden AGS inherited from the field of knowledge dominated by international studies (IR), which enshrines both methodological and political nationalism. IR makes claims to be the sole theory originator in this field, but it may be criticized for several methodological and ethical issues (such as unwarranted simplifications that purge empirical contents to the point of unfalsifiability, antiquated epistemic ideals, Western and hegemonic biases, besides methodological nationalism), thus alternate theorizations are highly desirable. Chumakov’s philosophy is one alternative, but seems to be somewhat disconnected from the reality of today’s casino capitalism, perpetually generating nationalisms, and we fail to see the badly needed socio-cultural closing of the world coming in the continuation, not in opposition to today’s economic and political closed-ness of the world.
Communal Political Mobilization: The Need to Distinguish between Minority and Majority Parties
Presented: International Political Science Association’s 24th World Congress, Poznan, Poland, July 23-28, 2016
Co-authored with Kenneth Keulman
There is an ongoing scholarly dispute about the consequences of communal political mobilization, yet not all communal mobilization is created equal. We hypothesize that parties of national majorities and parties of national minorities significantly differ with regard to 1° issue positions; 2° axiological framing of the issues; and 3° rhetoric. As for the issue positions, majority-nationalist parties tend to situate on the right of the political spectrum, while minority parties are leftist or centrist. Minority parties are also more internationalist and less militaristic, and in Europe, more supportive of European integration. As for the axiological framing, majority nationalism anchors its choices in the conservative values of tradition and national interest, while minority activism relies on a human rights framework. The rhetoric of majority nationalist parties is, at least potentially, more incendiary than the rhetoric of minority parties; the latter avoid negative references to other communal groups. Unfortunately, the empirical raw material does not allow for bold generalizations about the reasons for being of communal parties and the consequences of these parties’ presence in the electoral system. Our empirical efforts substantially draw on the MARPOR project, one of the rare ventures in political science that distinguishes between types of communal parties (namely, between “nationalist” and “ethnic and regional” parties). Content analytic work in support of the axiological and rhetorical differences between the two party groups was carried out on a sample of six majority and six minority party programs from the UK.
From International Relations to Postnational Global Studies
Presented: International Political Science Association’s 24th World Congress, Poznan, Poland, July 23-28, 2016
Co-authored with Kenneth Keulman
International relations frequently experienced its share of internal, foundational debates, and lately also had to weather strong criticism for its Western bias. This paper focuses its critique on two important assumptions of the discipline. One is the over-valuation of nation, nation-state and national allegiance, to the detriment of sub-national groups, transnationalism, and allegiances such as communal (ethnic, religious), as well as ideology-driven partisanships. Data show that more than 40% of the world’s population do not belong to a majority (above-50%) communal group in their country, and the salience of national identity is decreasing. Regional blocs may alter the ways we think about nation-building and policies to manage diversity, but these tasks should be explicitly included in the agenda of IR. Another epistemological issue with the discipline as we know it, is the lack or neglect of bridge laws, which connect between different levels of phenomena. Waltz’s realism has repudiated these studies, and even if lately the IR realist approach has had its heyday in legal studies rather than in political science, IR has not revised its inherited aversion of “mixing images”. Types of IR liberalism promoted a vision of two-level games, but, except for a few trade-policy themed studies, have not elaborated on explaining either the clustering of domestic preferences or the affinity between specific domestic groups and foreign-policy choices. Subsequently, we have little dependable knowledge, e.g., about domestic support for regional integrations, WTO, or responsibility to protect (R2P).
Constitutional definition of the demos and inter-ethnic relations
Presented: International Studies Association’s Annual Convention in Atlanta, March 16-19, 2016
The paper aims at revealing some conceptual differences inherent in the world’s active constitutions as they relate to defining the country’s population. The basic classification question asks whether the population of the state (“demos”) is conceptualized as a communally homogeneous or heterogeneous entity. An inquiry into the texts of more than 167 constitutions evidenced a wide gamut of answers, and an emerging trend towards endorsing the accommodation of diversities, as opposed to expecting and aiming at, homogenization. A descriptive section presents the constitutional conceptualizations of the countries’ ethnic makeup, then these concepts are studied in their relationship with the pertinent policy choices, and contemplated in their causal context connecting the objective country features, such as communal fractionalization and development level, with the resulting constellations of communal cooperation versus hostility.
The ultimate complexity of predicting inter-group behavior: A case for the necessity of large-N studies, even if they are doomed
Presented: Midwest Political Science Association’s Annual Conference in Chicago, April 3-6, 2014
Intra-state communal conflicts, among groups delimited by group markers such as ethnic, racial, or religious, were studied from a multitude of perspectives and several determinants of them were identified. Political science contributed 4 main types of explanations, involving primordialist incompatibility, inequality & injustice, rivalry, and opportunity for greedy elites. This paper argues for the usefulness of focusing on the political institutions that may increase the political status of minorities, and works on assembling a comprehensive list of these, ranging from proportional representation systems through territorial & functional autonomies to integration into armed forces. Since political institutions are our best chance to interfere with the build-up of hostility and prevent violence, we have to invest in an overarching database of all institutional and policy features affecting minority-majority relations. The necessity and value of testing the performance of these institutions on a cross-national large-N sample, in the presence of controls, is emphasized in the context of the persisting dispute between the opposing constitutional engineering proposals promoted by Lijphart and Horowitz. Preliminary results have been presented.
The Non-incorporation of Innovation: Obstacles beyond Paradigmatic Opposition
Presented: The 23rd World Congress of Philosophy, Athens, Greece, 4-10 August 2013
A specific problem of progress in social science is the failure of certain cognitive achievements to garner substantial support and supplant less efficient research practices. The phenomenon can be conceptualized as a failure of diffusion of innovation, but because of the specific context, here the term of non-incorporation is preferred. The analysis of three concrete cases (the constructivist approach to ethnicity, a typology of intra-state conflicts, and the consequentiality of inequality for inter-group relations) shows that resistance from opposing paradigms cannot fully explain the neglect of these proposals. They rather seem to have fallen victim to an epistemology that places more premium on parsimony than on adequacy. In a final analysis, however, the value of simplicity has been boosted by three strong, influential paradigms, each fostering an emphatic self-consciousness of parsimony: the free-marketeer economics, rational choice theory, and (neo)realism in international relations. Because of their concerted pressure toward simplifying, the simple warnings that deter abuse of Occam’s Razor in natural sciences are inefficient in some social science domains. Here stronger measures are needed to assure fair chances to complex solutions, such as a serious appreciation of adequacy (accuracy and completeness) versus parsimony, and/or moral penalty on simplification.
Economic Inequality and Inter-Group Relations: Analyses Based on the Minorities at Risk Dataset
Presented: The Thirteenth International Conference on Diversity, Darwin, Australia, 26-28 June 2013 (virtual presentation)
The paper develops arguments that suggest the role of inter-group economic inequality in breeding inter-group hostility, while addressing opposing opinions forwarded in the literature. After an overview of the main explanations of inter-group conflict, the paper endeavors to provide empirical support for its advocated causal claim. The methodological choice is a large-N cross-national research design, which culminates in multivariate regression models and tests several potential determinants of the inter-group conflict that have been promoted thus far. The empirical work is based on two previously existing datasets focused on data about communal groups. They are well-known in the profession as the Minorities at Risk (MAR, of Gurr and co-authors) and the Ethnic Power Relations (EPR, of Cederman and co-authors) data. The compiled dataset spans 1999 through 2009, but original MAR coding is available for 2004-06, and EPR coding for 1999-2005 only. In order to extend available data on a larger set of observations, the paper applies a multiple imputation procedure carried out by King et al.’s AMELIA software. Results based on both the original data and the multiply imputed datasets are reported. Basically, they support the impact of economic inequality on inter-group hostility, measured either as group grievance or violent conflict.
Inter-group Economic Inequality as a Predictor of Inter-group Hostility: Results Based on a New Dataset
Presented: Midwest Political Science Association’s Annual Conference in Chicago, April 11-14, 2013.
The role of inter-group inequality in bringing about hostility and conflict has increasingly been acknowledged, and studied in various forms. Gurr & al inquired about group disadvantages, Cederman & al about political inequality, while Stewart & al (2008) forwarded hypotheses about the joint impacts of political and economic inequality. This paper focuses on the latter, and shows the consequentiality of horizontal economic inequality for inter-group relations in multivariate regressions controlling for the main predictors promoted in the literature. The models are formulated to explain violent conflict between groups, and the traditional omnibus models are doubled with an alternative two-step explanation that involves group grievances as an intermediary step. The dataset (EPR_MAR_EXT) is compiled from the Ethnic Power Relations and Minorities at Risk data, completed with information from the Minority Rights Group International’s World Directory of Minorities and other sources. It features a measure of horizontal economic inequality that was mostly pieced together based on the large-sample surveys conducted by the UNICEF (MICS) and USAID (DHS), national statistics, and the demographics recorded by scholarly opinion surveys.
The Diversity of Political Behavior
Presented: The Twelfth International Conference on Diversity, Vancouver, Canada, 11-13 June 2012
Political science has typically been wary about within-state diversity, fearing its collision with democracy and statehood. Yet, in some fortunate constellations, such as in developed and democratic countries, inter-communal violence does not occur, and minorities do not contemplate overtly secessionist agendas. This paper looks at the diversity of political behavior displayed in democratic settings, as brought about by lingering differences between the life quality of majorities and minorities /immigrants. It argues that non-majorities display significantly different opinions on some salient features of statehood than their respective majorities. Specifically, it brings evidence for the claims that: (i) People belonging to indigenous ethno-cultural minorities, as well as to immigrant groups, suffer more from an experience of little political efficacy than do their majorities. (ii) Minorities and immigrants are much more prone to complain about feeling discriminated against, than people belonging to majorities. (iii) Non-majorities are more supportive of further immigration to their country, and of ethno-cultural diversity. (iv) Minorities and immigrants tend to situate to the left of their majorities on the political Left-Right scale. (v) Despite a feeling of less political efficacy, non-majorities in the EU tend to welcome and support the above-national political forums. For long, geographically concentrated minorities have typically fought for decentralization, which provides them with a kind of autonomy. But lately minorities in the EU have grown disposed to delegate decision to the Community level and support further integration. The findings presented are based on the European Social Survey’s Cumulative File, including data from all four rounds between 2002 and 2008. The amendments to classical statehood patterns supported by minorities in Europe, the continent originating the nation-state model, are deemed relevant for countries of the Third World struggling with more chronic ethnic cleavages. (Note: this is a remake, based on new data, of a paper first presented at the ISA 2006 annual conference.)
Linking inter-group inequality and conflict: still a good idea, even on country level
Presented: International Studies Association’s Annual Convention in San Diego, April 1-4, 2012
Of the factors affecting the likelihood of conflict between communal groups, some, such as greed (Collier &Hoeffler 2004), opportunity for insurrection (Fearon &Laitin 2003), power relations (Cederman &Girardin), and inclusive democracy (Reynal-Querol 2005), have received their inspired defense. Suspected, but either dropped or dismissed (Lichbach 1989), has been the economic inequality between groups. Those who worked with group-level data, primarily Gurr et.al, have been more sympathetic toward the role of “comparative disadvantages,” but others tended to adhere to the idea that a slowly changing variable is not a good explanans for sudden outbursts of violence. Yet, theoretically, psychology supports the idea that intergroup inequality fosters intergroup animosity, and this may easily be triggered in/by accidental circumstances, while empirically, inter-group inequality can be shown to be consequential for the inter-group relations. Thus far we have had the MAR data only for testing the inequality-conflict nexus. Recently, however, a country-level measurement of intergroup inequality has been achieved. The Fund for Peace’s quest for a Failed State Index produced a subscore measuring group-level inequalities in 177 countries. This variable (“uneven development”) is shown here as having highly significant impact on bellicosity/peacefulness variables (WGI’s political stability, Global Peace Index), even in the presence of controls.
Can you do quantitative research on your own? – The challenges of producing a custom-tailored database on ethnic relations
Presented: Midwest Political Science Association’s Annual Conference in Chicago, March/April 2011
While famous hypotheses and causal models are generally single-authored, the databases with which the hypotheses are tested tend to be collective products. In the field of minority-majority relations and intergroup conflict research, we have two established datasets with global reach: the Minorities at Risk and the Ethnic Power Relations. In an effort to test the hypothesis that the comparative welfare of the groups is a main explanans of the group relationships, I merged these and added variables from datasets developed outside the political science field, such as the USAID’s Demographic and Health Surveys and the UN’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys, and imported data from credible, but not expressly academic sources, such as the Minority Rights Group International, IWGIA, and the representatives of certain minority groups. It seems that there are neither unambiguous rules of database-building nor organizational infrastructure facilitating professional feedback to database builders (e.g., where could someone post a database in order to get real-time feedback to it, before investing time and energy in data analysis? And how can polite and constructive feedback be provided to the authors of the datasets? (Updated versions of the dataset are now available on the “Peace and Conflict” page.)
Actors and contexts: Hierarchical analyses of multilevel identities
Presented: Midwestern Political Science Association’s Annual Conference in Chicago, April 2010
Co-authored with Kenneth Keulman
The paper reviews the individual-level and country-level variables that have been used to explain support for European unification. It makes attempts to build multi-level models in which the country dummies are replaced by measurable country variables. (This was an early version of the concluding chapter of European Identity: Its Feasibility and Desirability.)
Peace and Conflict in Intergroup Relations
Presented: International Studies Association’s Annual Convention in New Orleans February 17-20, 2010
The paper examines the relationships among communal groups defined by ethnic, racial, linguistic, caste, and religious group markers. Because of data availability, its scope is restricted to majority-minority relationships, measured with the grievances publicly articulated by the representatives of minorities, as specific unilateral measures of a dyadic relation. A cross-national quantitative analysis relying on variables taken from various datasets (MAR, WIID, QOG, Norris, CIRI, KOF) aims at establishing the probable causes of group conflict. The main groups of explanatory variables are: (i) differences in the comparative welfare of the groups, (ii) developmental levels, (iii) particularities of the majority-minority structure, and the nature of the group markers, (iv) stimulants of minority political mobilization such as kindred, IGO, NGO support, (v) the political institutions in place. While the analysis provides support for the impact of many factors listed in these groups, maybe most notably for the role of inequality, a prima facie “perverse” result is that higher GDP and more democracy are associated with more minority grievances. A closer analysis shows that violent forms of minority activism occur in less developed countries, while development and democracy lead to law-abiding forms of protest.
A statistical perspective on rival theories of crime
Presented: British Columbia PSA 2009 Annual Conference, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC, May 1-2, 2009
Abstract: Crime is omnipresent in all societies, but its levels vary in function of a number of social circumstances, including the policies chosen. This paper looks into the theories that inform criminal policy making. It derives testable hypotheses from these outlooks, while facing the challenge that there are many levels and many contexts, in which claims about crime are expressed. The two basic types of theorization about crime seem to be one individualist and one social. The first brand believes that transgressions can and/or should be curbed by severely enforcing punitive laws. The mainstream social outlook goes back to Durkheim and Merton, and suggests that when crime rates go up, this reflects a failure of the whole society to offer ethical models that can be, or are worth to be pursued. The hypotheses drawn from competing models are tested with cross-national data, and with an additional smaller sample of the 50 US states. Data show a shocking “modernization” effect: property crime is much more frequent in wealthier states. Yet, violent crime, and mainly homicide rates go down with development, and less inequality (as measured with the Gini index) has a definite impact on reducing murder rates. The deterrence model gets little support.
Dynamic perspectives on party support for the EU
Presented: Midwestern Political Science Association’s Annual Conference in Chicago, April 2008.
Thus far, Europe’s integration has been fueled by particular interests rather than by an overarching European identity. But political science’s approach to studying the impact of interests at the level of parties has not shed much light on interest articulation in this domain. There have been proposed divergent hypotheses about the relationship between the Left-Right dimension and support for the EU. Hix&Lord (1997), as well as Taggart&Szczerbiak (2004) provide support for independence of the two. Kreppel&Tsebelis (1999) argue that the Left is more supportive, while Hooghe&al. (2002) trace the main dividing line between mainstream and extremist parties, where the mainstream parties are all supportive, though their support varies along issue domains. Yet, the problem of party positions on integration is further complicated by a long-noticed discrepancy between elite views and voter views. The main purpose of this paper is to establish time series of party support for the EU on the basis of three types of available data: 1) Coder-based content analysis carried out by the Manifesto R.G./Comparative Manifestos Project (for 1950-1998) and the Euromanifestos Project (1979-2004); 2) Expert survey results made public by Marks &al. (1984-2002); and 3) Public opinion surveys within the European Election Studies series, in which respondents were asked to rank parties on certain issues (1979-2004). Data converge on a historical trend of increasing general support for the integration project, and the growing involvement of the mainstream Left over the decades, with the most spectacular rise in the 90s when, on the other side, various measures show a relatively stagnating support from the political Right. The evolution of the extremes is asymmetrical, the far-left being more prone to revise its anti-Europeanism than the far-Right. The work with public opinion surveys offers the possibility to measure the distance between a party’s elites and supporters, a gap assumed to vary with the length of EU membership, stability of the party system, and the salience of the integration issue. In addition, analyses confirm the assumption of historical change from a peculiar perspective. The dynamic during which the PES overtakes the EPP-ED in their enthusiasm for the EU is slowly followed by the public perception. People still tend to associate support for the EU with right-wing positions, even if in 2004 the popular vote places the PES-parties as the most integrationist party group.
Ideological correlates of support for the European Union
Presented: International Studies Association’s Annual Conference in San Francisco, March 2008.
Abstract. Explaining support for European integration has long been a challenge for theorists. Utilitarian explanations involving personal or national benefits from the EU do not fail to receive empirical support, but regularly lead to weak models only. In order to account for a larger portion of variation, we should consider ideational factors as well. Ideational factors, however, come in many types, many versions, and on many levels of human consciousness. Political psychology may increase awareness about the relevance of personality type and of socialization to inter-group relations. Studies in political culture emphasize the relevance of trust and sense of efficacy. Explanations of political behavior do routinely include ideology and religiosity among the explanatory factors. Empirical value research in the Inglehartian tradition looks for the impact of cognitive mobilization and post-survival values on support for the integration. As in the case of utilitarian explanations, in the case of the ideational explanations as well, a multitude of theoretically sound predictions tends to receive empirical support, regularly consistent, but weak support. This paper reviews the main ideational explanations and reaffirms the impact of left-wing ideology, and religiosity, mainly of Catholic faith, on support for integration. Further, the impact of efficacy, tolerance, and general trust level is illustrated. But the central endeavor of the paper is to derive testable hypotheses from the overview of the main ideological standpoints related to nation and the opportunities for post-national evolution. It argues that if people have different opinions about what a nation is (for instance, some endorsing ethnocentric, while others, civic meanings), they probably have different opinions about what the citizenry of the superpolity is like, and whether it will grow homogenous enough to form a legitimating demos. The main scenarios of post-national evolution are labeled cosmopolitan, international, universalist, and hyphenated (multi-layered). As currently no data is available to test the impact of these constructions on support for European unification, or on European identity, I make an attempt to operationalize them along two underlying dimensions. Individualism and traditionalism are suggested to be the two most relevant dimensions. (For instance, the tension between primordialist nationalism and consent to post-national development are pertinent to the dimension of traditionalism. All post-national evolution schemes with the sole exception of cosmopolitanism, are built on a less individualistic comprehension of human beings than typical nationalism.) The impact of traditionalism and individualism on support for unification and European identity can be tested with opinion survey data. The paper presents findings based on the European Social Survey’s second round and on Eurobarometer 64.2. In conclusion, these findings are framed with reference to the limits set by data availability. There are also some concerns formulated with regard to the methodological status of these ideational variables as intervening variables between objective interests and particular behavior. The impact of an ideational variable may be deemed relevant and systematic if it is backed by associated interests. Because of complexity issues, the wide array of social interests motivating individuals is best expressed in (collective) political ideologies. Thus the relevance of traditionalism and individualism for pro-Europeanism is embedded in their relevance for the whole landscape of political ideologies.
Utilitarian Explanations of Support for the European Union
Presented: Midwestern Political Science Association’s Annual Conference in Chicago, April 12-15.
Abstract: Accepting the basic insight of utilitarianism that people are utility-seeking beings and their attitudes are strongly influenced by perceived interests, we may still be at a disarray with regard to which interests are the most consequential for shaping support for the European integration. Mainstream rational choice theory deploys socio-economic status (SES)-related factors (such as age, wealth, education), while for international relations realism, national loyalties have the most influence in shaping people’s attitudes toward the European Union. (Citizens are deemed to support the EU to the extent that the EU benefits their country.) Findings based on EB54.3 (2002), EB62 (2004) and ESS I (2002) show some divergence of Europeans’ constructions of self-interest and national interest. Beliefs that decisions taken in the EU are good for the respondent personally and for their country are correlated at 0.76, yet in parallel models the perceived national interests have the same impact on support for the EU than the perceived self-interests. Further, people in the Union are almost as wary about national institutions as about communitarian bodies when it comes to accommodating their personal interests. Finally, data on people’s willingness to delegate decision-making competences to the above-national fora across policy domains reveal that Europeans are more prone to give up national control over foreign policy and defense issues than control over healthcare and welfare issues. That is, national identities are a powerful predictor of attitudes toward European integration, and most people are likely to support it only if they perceive the EU as accommodating national interests. Yet, national interests for many lie with sovereignty over social redistribution issues, rather than with sovereignty over security decisions. Overall, the paper contends that the interferences between personal and various kinds of collective identities and interest constructs have not yet been explored. Actually, direct survey questions have targeted the national, and to a lesser extent, the personal interests only, and neglected questions about the EU’s accommodating regional, minority, or SES-group interests.
Diversity and the Salience of Nationalism: Nationalism between Minorities and Supranationalism in the EU
Co-authored with Kenneth Keulman
Presented: Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN) 12th Annual Convention, Columbia University, April 12-14, 2007, New York.
Abstract: This paper is an inquiry into the causes of variation of nationalist attitudes. Nationalism has been measured with opinion survey data, relying on the International Social Survey Program’s 2003 round (33 countries) and Eurobarometer 62 of 2004 (25 countries). This empirical set-up allowed for a synchronic review of the cross-country variation only, but the findings are framed in concerns about tangible diachronic trends detected within the European Union, such as the historically decreasing salience of nationalism. The factors tested for their impact on nationalism were diversity (as measured by various fractionalization indices), the presence of “ranked” minorities (with a lower welfare as compared to that of the plurality nation), existence of sizeable co-ethnic groups abroad (as in the case of Ireland and Hungary), the salience of struggle for independence, of territorial losses, and of international tensions. The analyses lead to the findings that while diversity in general depresses nationalism and enhances pro-European attitudes, the presence of “ranked” minorities reduces pride in and attachment to Europe. Concerns for co-ethnic groups abroad also affect nationalism, specifically they boost it significantly, but – at country level – not to the detriment of European allegiances. Finally, international frictions increase nationalism and reduce Europeanism. Theoretically, the paper endorses the vision that nationalism is a historically changing phenomenon, and part of a larger multi-layered socio-territorial identity complex. Its salience as a collective identity hinges on the depth of the social cleavages and tensions that make belonging to a certain group socially and politically relevant. Its relationships with other layers of the socio-territorial complex, for instance, with a European identity, may be more or less conflictual. Besides globalization, the last decades’ great challenges to nationalism have been the increasing diversity within states (more visibility of old historical minorities and the occurrence of new, “ranked” minorities). While multiculturalism acclaims diversity, social psychology and political science research (since Tajfel and up to Alesina and Putnam) have had more skeptical views of it, because heterogeneous settings are less cooperative than homogenous ones. With the finding that within-country diversity reduces nationalism, but enhances Europeanism, this paper helps to harmonize the positive and negative assessments. The last section of the paper comments on the limits posed by the sample. While it is very plausible that “simple” diversity affects in-group and out-group attitudes in another way than “ranked” diversity all over the globe, the data does not allow for generalization for other geographical regions and other types of societies than those relatively wealthy. For further research, the paper suggests taking into consideration the plurality nations’ concerns for their co-ethnic groups abroad, and also an analytic tool for measuring ethnic peace within countries based on the similarity of the nationalism of plurality-nations and the patriotism of minorities (by comparing their type, salience, and strength).
Common Origin, Common Power, or Common Life: The Changing Landscape of Nationalisms
Presented: International Studies Association’s Annual Conference in Chicago, February/March 2007.”Economic Inequality and Inter-Group Relations: Analyses Based on the Minorities at Risk Dataset,” The International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations: Annual Review, Vol.13, (2013) pp. 1-21.
Abstract: Socio-territorial psychic constructs, such as national identities, are perhaps the most important psychic phenomena for political science, with their strength so consequential for wars and inter-ethnic conflicts. Yet, political science joined in the scholarly preoccupation with socio-territorial identities only recently, when the functionalist dreams about the formation of a European identity started to become true. At that point in time the biggest debate of the field between primordialist and constructivist positions was largely concluded, with the intellectual pre-eminence of the constructivists, but with their findings not sufficiently incorporated in the theoretical and methodological frames of the discipline. The construction of the EU has faced political scientists with two identity-related problems: (i) whether the socio-territorial identities can be conceptualized as being multi-layered (nested, hyphenated, with non-conflictual relationships among the components), and (ii) whether the higher levels of these identity constructs can be confined to civic aspects (e.g. to a Habermasian constitutional patriotism), as opposed to traditional nationalisms relying on assumptions of common origin, and shared culture. The most entrenched classification of nationalisms relies on an obvious difference between the kinds of nationalisms endorsed by the Irish and Germans, on the one hand, and the French and white immigrant countries like the US, on the other. These versions are generally labeled “ethnocultural,” involving the consciousness of a shared ancestry and history, and “civic,” relying on the idea of belonging to the same state. My arguments are that if we take the constructivist theses seriously, we should look behind this phenomenologically obvious dichotomy. I posit that if civic nationalisms are focused on states, with the changing meanings of state in a globalizing and integrating world, the contents of civic nationalisms are due to change, as well. On the basis of the ISSP 2003 and Eurobarometer 57.2 (2002) surveys, a schism within the “civic” approach to nationalism can be supported. Both confirm the existence of three principal components of nationalism, which can be labeled “ethnocultural,” “great-power-civic” and “welfare-civic.” While the great-power-civic approach is concerned with and takes pride in the country’s military strength, international influence, sovereignty, and national character, the welfare-civic approach takes a more civilian stance and it is concerned with common rights, fair treatment of groups, social security, and welfare within the country. EB 57.2 (which asked about European identities, as well) supports the hypotheses that (i) People tend to construct their supra-national identity layer according to the molds for their national identity (which does justice to T. Risse’s “marble cake” model of socio-territorial identities), and (ii) the relationship between national loyalties and European identity hinges on the type of nationalism preponderant in member states.
Self-Interest and Self-Identity: Explaining Hispanic Political Attitudes
Presented: Midwestern Political Science Association’s Annual Conference in Chicago, April 20-23.
Abstract: The two largest minorities in the US, African Americans and Hispanics, display some salient divergences from the political attitudes and voting patterns of the white majority. This paper follows previous trials to introduce group consciousness in the explanation of these particularities. The findings, based on the 2002 National Survey of Latinos conducted by International Communications Research, support that group consciousness is a significant explanatory variable of Hispanic political attitudes, and the usual SES indicators (such as income and education) are very weak competitors. It is other demographic variables whose impact is more substantial. Length of stay in the US, and mainly belonging to the second or a later generation of immigrants, seem to have a polarizing effect on group consciousness. On the one hand, the original national identities of the immigrants are effaced, and an American identification strengthens. On the other hand, longer stay in the US favors the development of a minority Latino consciousness, clearly associated with a Democratic Party inclination. The data support that Latinos tend to vote for Democrats because of their belonging to a disadvantaged group, rather than because of their belonging to a Mexican or Argentinian culture. The paper provides information on the pace of change of identities, as well as on their changing impact on political attitudes.
Political Implications of Ethno-Cultural Minority Identity
Presented: International Studies Association’s Annual Conference in San Diego, March 22-25, 2006.
Abstract: Ethnic and ethno-cultural minorities in Europe, mainly within the EU, rarely contemplate overtly secessionist agendas today. Yet, they display significantly different opinions on some salient features of statehood than their respective majorities. The paper brings evidence for the claims that: (i) People belonging to indigenous ethno-cultural minorities, as well as to immigrant groups, are much more prone to complain about feeling discriminated against, than people belonging to majorities. (ii) Minorities are more convinced than majorities that religious, custom, and language diversity is to the advantage, rather than to the detriment of a country. (iii) Minorities suffer more from an experience of little political efficacy than do their majorities. (iv) Despite a feeling of less political efficacy, minorities in the EU tend to welcome and support the above-national political fora. For long, geographically concentrated minorities have typically fought for decentralization, which provides them with a kind of autonomy. But lately minorities in the EU have grown disposed to delegate decision to the Community level and support further integration. These choices occur in spite of minorities’ lower scores on political efficacy measures, when low efficacy is significantly associated with the choice of lower decision levels. The findings presented are based on the European Social Survey’s 2002 round and the first version of the 2004 ESS round. The amendments to classical statehood patterns supported by minorities in Europe, the continent originating the nation-state model, are deemed relevant for countries of the Third World struggling with more chronic ethnic cleavages.
European Identity as a Common Good
Presented: World International Studies Committee (WISC) First Global International Studies Conference, Istanbul Bilgi University, August 24-27, 2005.
Abstract: The shared values perspective, most often used by the European Union (EU) to define itself as a community, came into existence at the intersection of universalist thinking and the multiculturalist option for accommodating particularisms. These two traditions involve sharply divergent political philosophies of legitimacy. Debates around the democratic deficit of the EU carry the burden of having to bridge this gap, in conditions when the future evolution of the EU toward more federalism (with universalist attitudes and constitutional patriotism) versus more intergovernmentalism (the actual, far-from-perfect interpretation of multiculturalism) is still in suspension. Against this background, the paper analyzes the EU’s efforts to legitimize supranational institutions by fostering a common European identity. It suggests that empowering social groups is a more efficient political counterbalance of an alienating central power in a super-polity, than is accommodating state sovereignty. The visualization of social components and their interaction may strengthen horizontal ties within a society. Further, the groups’ political activity is related to the process of deliberative democracy, which is concerned with an informed citizenry, tries to avoid a plurality vote, and aims at consensual decisions.
Between Necessity and Constructed-ness: The Chances of Supranational Identities
Presented: Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN) 10th Annual World Convention, Columbia University, April 14-16, 2005, New York, NY.
Abstract: The paper intends to develop a theoretical framework for studying the dynamics of territorial identities, with a focus on the interplay between national and supranational. Ethnification and nationalization, as two processes inherent in the international state system, create large groups of people, some of them titular of the country in which they live, while others not. The groups, subjected to influences coming from the wider social environment, such as psychology, culture, economy, history and Zeitgeist, domestic balance of forces, and other ideologies, form their collective identities, always strategic and never dissociated from a perception of collective self-interest. After reviewing these factors, concerns about directions of movement, and our ability to assess the directions of movement, both empirically (measuring allegiances) and normatively (attaching values to them) are formulated.
Increasing Tolerance or Increasingly Selective Intolerance?
Presented: Southwestern Political Science Association (SWPSA) Annual Convention, March 24-26, 2005, New Orleans, LA.
Abstract: According to GSS, Americans showed a slightly decreasing tendency to deny the political rights of five target groups during 1976-1998. Although practically we cannot distinguish between a society in which people exercise tolerance because they are maximally committed to civil liberties (are “absolute tolerant”), and a society in which no one hates anybody to the extent of limiting their rights, for theory and predictions it makes sense to test whether tolerance is a multivalent personality trait, or is situational and group-related (possibly bringing about “pluralistic intolerance”). In a half-confirmatory and half-exploratory research, I replicated Mondak and Sanders’s (2003) finding with the joint 1998 and 2000 GSS data. The proportion of “absolute tolerants” is 21.23%, but the interpretation of this fact remains open to discussion. First, there is a social desirability effect at work, and second, the “pluralistic intolerance” hypothesis has also received support.
Gender Gap, Class Gap, or Cultural Gap?
Presented: Mississippi and Louisiana Political Science Associations Annual Convention, 25-26 February 2005, Belhaven College, Jackson, MS.
Abstract: Of the four main theories of the political gender gap, such as female morality, women’s socioeconomic status, Carroll’s autonomy thesis, and the impact of feminist ideas, this paper focuses on the first explanation. Relying on the 1994 International Social Survey on “Family and Changing Gender Roles,” it attempts to delineate a women’s morality along three main lines of inquiry: 1. Which of the gender, socioeconomic, and cultural gaps has most impact on the seven attitude variables selected for this study? 2. Is gender an exogenous specifying variable to mediate the impact of institutional settings, or it is the existing social givens that specify the extent to which women’s and men’s opinions differ? 3. Within the complex context of a country, which are the most important dimensions shaping women’s distinctive attitude choices?
The New World Borders: Minorities and Migrants in the Nation State System
Co-authored with Kenneth Keulman
Presented at: Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN) Special Convention, July 2004, University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland.
Abstract: The paper intends to address a problematic aspect of the contemporary nation-state system: the issue of minority and migrant populations. Although national states have been functional throughout the 17th to the 20th centuries, the international system based on them may be challenged today. Among these challenges, the increasing visibility of, and concern for, minorities may shed light on weak points of this international status quo. For instance, the nation-state doctrine has counted on the increasing assimilation of minorities and growing homogeneity of citizenry, thus it has not endeavored to find new formulas for the coexistence of different groups within a state. Consequently, policies designed to push minorities toward assimilation were tolerated, even if they involved cultural and political restraints on minorities. Further, there was a general agreement that giving precedence to a state against its minorities serves international stability better than does listening to minority requests. Finally, the economic situation of minorities was not adequately taken as an issue deserving political attention. The paper argues against the optimistic view that economic development and democracy are a general panacea for minority complaints. On the basis of empirical data accumulated from the Minorities at Risk Data Generation and Management Program (MARGENE), it may be argued that besides deficiencies in the political and cultural equality of minorities, most minorities (802,245,000 people in 2000), are less well-off than the majorities in the same countries, and this difference is deepening rather than lessening in the developed countries. The most urgent and severe needs of minorities cannot be treated on an individualistic basis, but only by taking into account the systematic effects of the larger society on them. Closest to an ideal is “pillarization” in The Netherlands, a pluralist political system with the decision-making routine allowing for negotiation of allocations to different groups. But there are arguments that not even this pluralism is the perfect solution. It works only in welfare societies and in the presence of international institutions, or when facilitated by international public opinion that might affect state action. In addition, registration of group membership may collide with human rights considerations, and is at odds with the interests of transnational migrants asking for allocations on the basis of individual rights. If minorities make visible the systematic disadvantages that may occur within nation- states, transnational migration is a symptom of inequalities among states. Thus far the flux directed from poorer and less democratic states toward richer and more democratic ones, has contributed to mitigating tensions. But there is no guarantee that receiver countries will welcome migrants. All their formal declarations point toward the fact that they want to maintain their right to arbitrate each case individually and do not accept any duty arising from structural tensions in the international system that influence people to leave their home countries. Finally, the paper elaborates on whether today’s valid international standards, like the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities (1992), and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, adopted by the General Assembly in 1990 (but not yet signed by 20 countries), do answer our best moral intuitions about social fairness with regard to the condition of minorities and migrants.
Predicting Prediction−The Is and Ought of Empirical Value Research
Presented: 21st World Congress of Philosophy, 2003, Istanbul, Turkey.
Abstract: The search for living (relevant and significant) values in societies has become increasingly widespread and institutionalized through the last decades. The paper argues that there are serious theoretical limitations (biases) inherent in the most widespread survey techniques, which jeopardize their very reason for existence: to foresee directions of social and political change. In fact the predictions made on the basis of these techniques manage to reach partial confirmation, but none are uncontested on theoretical and/or empirical grounds. Starting from the statement that empirical value inquiry continues to be very fragmented, the paper proceeds from critiques formulated on the basis of a hermeneutic analysis of survey methods to a comparison of these critiques with other attempts in the social sciences to treat the phenomenon of value. The third section of the paper relates the moral outlook of these surveys to another moral outlook seemingly operative nowadays: a global ethical vision. The section concludes that the value surveys fail to grasp both the ways values are organized and their dynamic because of their bias toward a Developmentalist ideology of world progress.
Value and Science
Presented: Annual online conference of the Objectivists, organized around enlightenment.super-saturated.com by Dr. Carolyn Ray, April 21, 2001.
Values and Their Collisions: Outlines of a Value Typology Based on Decision Theory’s Social Motives
Presented: 20th World Congress of Philosophy, August 1998, Boston, MA.