The Diversity of Political Behavior: Some Implications of Communal Identities

By Agnes Katalin Koos.

Published by The International Journal of Community Diversity

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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 a long time, 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 decisions 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.

Keywords: Minority Political Attitudes, Immigrant Political Attitudes, Diversity in Political Science

The International Journal of Community Diversity, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp.1-16. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 380.908KB).

Dr Agnes Katalin Koos

PhD Candidate/Sessional Instructor, Political Science Department, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada

I have just finished my doctoral program in political science at Simon Fraser University. Previously I earned an MA from the University of New Orleans, also in political science, and a graduate certificate in applied statistics from Penn State. My undergraduate work was done in East Europe - I am a Hungarian born in Romania, from where my sustained interest in minority and diversity issues. Within the political science field, I specialize in Comparative Politics and International Relations.