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Posner: Institutions and ethnic politics in Africa

Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I even say who wrote them. If you have more recent summaries to add to this collection, send them my way I guess. Sorry for the ads; they cover the costs of keeping this online.

Posner. 2005. Institutions and ethnic politics in Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Part 2

Puzzle

Ethnicity is multidimensional in Zambia. On the one hand, people can choose to see ethnicity in terms of their tribal membership (there are over 6 dozen tribes). On the other, they can associate themselves with one of four language groups. [To me this sounds nested, not multidimensional.] Under what conditions are Zambian politics a competition among tribes vs a competition among language groups? In other words, what makes each type of identity salient?

Why ethnic voting (ch 4)

People vote with their ethnic group "because of the widespread expectation that politicians will channel patronage resources to members of their own ethnic groups." This is backed by survey data, focus groups, elite interviews, and content analysis of speeches, newspapers, and other sources. As a result, politicians make frequent ethnic appeals, and voters make ethnic votes.

Why tribal vs linguistic voting (ch 5)

This seems to depend on political institutions. Since institutions change the boundaries of the political arena, they also change the choice. Tribal identities have tended to dominate during one-party rule, but linguistic identities have tended to dominate under multi-party rule.

Research on similar subjects

Tags

Posner, Daniel (author)Political ScienceComparative PoliticsVotingEthnic ConflictEthnicity

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