Elections, Ethnic Parties, and Ethnic Identification in New Democracies: Evidence from the Baltic States

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8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper explores the conditions under which democratic elections encourage citizens to identify with ethnicity. We argue that there are two mechanisms through which elections strengthen ethnic identification. First, the stronger ethnic parties are, the more intensive, ethnically exclusive political campaigns they carry out as an election approaches, resulting in strengthening citizens’ ethnic identity. Second, ethnic party mobilization drives members of other ethnic groups to develop stronger identity to their own ethnicity because such mobilization poses a serious political threat to the out-group members. Data analysis of approximately 18,000 respondents in five waves of the New Baltic Barometer supports the hypotheses. A case study of Latvia follows to illustrate that ethnic party mobilization for elections creates ethnic cleavages among the public.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-146
Number of pages23
JournalStudies in Comparative International Development
Volume51
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun 1
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Election campaigns
  • Elections
  • Ethnic identity
  • Ethnic parties
  • The Baltic states

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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