ECEC: Ethnic Struggle, Coexistence, and Democratization by Professor Sherrill Stroschein
Problems of democracy are magnified in societies divided on ethnic religious lines, particularly where groups are mobilized into parties. Due to majority rule, minorities should be less willing to endorse democratic institutions where they persistently lose elections. These problems should hamper democratization, but Eastern Europe contains several states that navigated these problems during the 1990s. In Romania and Slovakia, sustained protest and contention by ethnic Hungarians in Romania and Slovakia brought concessions on policies that they could not achieve through the ballot box. Ethnic protest in these states made each group accustomed to each others claims, and aware of the degree to which each could push its own. Ethnic contention became a de facto deliberative process that fostered a moderation of group claims, allowing democratic consolidation to slowly and organically take root. Such moderation took place even after a violent riot between Hungarians and Romanians in 1990, showing promise for other democratizing states.
Dr. Sherrill Stroschein is a Senior Lecturer in Politics in the Department of Political Science at University College London, where she directs the MSc in Democracy and Comparative Politics. She was previously an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies and an Assistant Professor at Ohio University. Her publications examine the politics of ethnicity in democracies with mixed ethnic or religious populations. This talk is grounded in research for her book Ethnic Struggle, Coexistence, and Democratization in Eastern Europe (Cambridge 2012).