Ethnic bargains, group instability, and social choice theory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article makes two arguments: first, it argues that theories connecting ethnic group mobilization with democratic bargaining are based, often unwittingly, on primordialist assumptions that bias them toward overestimating the intractability of ethnic group demands. Second, it proposes a synthesis of constructivist approaches to ethnic identity and social choice theory to show how we who study ethnic mobilization might build theories that rely on the more realistic and more powerful assumption of instability in ethnic group boundaries and preferences. It illustrates the promise of this approach through a study of the language bargain struck in India's constituent assembly between 1947 and 1949.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-362
Number of pages26
JournalPolitics and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Political Science and International Relations


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