a1 Koç University in Istanbul, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How do state policies that regulate the relationship between ethnicity and nationality change? This article examines the dynamics of persistence and change in state policies toward ethnicity. In order to better comprehend the nature of political contestation over these state policies, the author first develops a new typology, “regimes of ethnicity,” and categorizes states as having monoethnic, multiethnic, and antiethnic regimes. These regimes are defined along dimensions of membership and expression. Second, he develops a theory of ethnic regime change. He explains the persistence and change in policies related to ethnicity and nationality in Germany, the Soviet Union/post-Soviet Russia, and Turkey since the 1950s by reference to the presence or absence of three independent variables: counterelites, new discourses, and hegemonic majority. He argues that if counterelites representing constituencies with ethnically specific grievances come to power equipped with a new discourse on ethnicity and nationality and garner a hegemonic majority, they can change state policies on ethnicity. These three factors are separately necessary and jointly sufficient for change. Reform in the German citizenship law, removal of ethnicity from Russian internal passports, and the beginning of public broadcasting in Kurdish and other minority languages on state television in Turkey are examined as major changes in state policies.
(Online publication February 10 2011)
Şener Aktürk is an assistant professor in the Department of International Relations, College of Administrative Sciences and Economics, at Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey. He is currently working on a book manuscript on regimes of ethnicity and has published articles on ethnicity and nationalism in various journals.
* I thank M. Steven Fish, J. Nicholas Ziegler, George W. Breslauer, Yuri Slezkine, Prerna Singh, Dmitry Gorenburg, Leonardo Arriola, Akasemi Newsome, Adnan Naseemullah, and three anonymous reviewers for World Politics, who read and commented on previous drafts of this article. Earlier versions of this article also benefitted from presentations at the comparative politics colloquium at the University of California, Berkeley, and the research workshop in comparative politics at Harvard University. The field research for this article was made possible by the John L. Simpson Memorial Research Fellowship in International and Comparative Studies from the Institute of International Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.