The Model of Ethnic Democracy

Smooha, Sammy


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Dokumentart: Bericht / Forschungsbericht / Abhandlung
Institut: ECMI - European Centre for Minority Issues
Schriftenreihe: ECMI working paper // European Centre for Minority Issues = Working paper
Bandnummer: 13
Sprache: Englisch
Erstellungsjahr: 2001
Publikationsdatum: 08.10.2009
Originalveröffentlichung: (2001)
SWD-Schlagwörter: Nationale Minderheit , Demokratie
DDC-Sachgruppe: Politik
BK - Basisklassifikation: 89.42 (Staat und Bürger), 89.35 (Demokratie), 89.50 (Politische Prozesse: Allgemeines)
Sondersammelgebiete: 3.6 Politik und Friedensforschung

Kurzfassung auf Englisch:

The classical model of the liberal-democratic nation-state is on the decline in the West as a result of globalization, regionalization, multiculturalism, the institutionalization of universal minority rights and the rise of minority ethnonationalism. While western countries are decoupling the nation-state and slowly shifting toward multicultural democracy, some other countries are consolidating an alternative form of a democratic state that is identified with and subservient to a single ethnic nation. This type of political regime, “ethnic democracy,” combines the extension of civil and political rights for all permanent residents with an institutionalized ethnic ascendancy of the majority group. The core ethnic nation controls the state and uses it to further its national interests and to grant its members a favored status. The non-core groups are accorded individual and collective rights and allowed to conduct a struggle for change, but treated as second-class citizens and placed under control. In this paper the model of ethnic democracy is presented in a full and in a mini version. The model consists of three parts: features of the regime, the circumstances leading to it and the conditions contributing to its stability. The criticisms against the general model, relating to its alleged illegitimacy, instability and inefficiency, are discussed and answered. Ethnic democracy is also distinguished from civic democracies (individual liberal democracy, republican liberal democracy, multicultural democracy, consociational democracy) on the one hand, and from quasi- or non-democracies (control, Herrenvolk democracy, ethnocracy), on the other. The mini-model of ethnic democracy is applied in detail to Israel, which serves as an archetype and a springboard for its initial formulation. It is applied in a condensed form to Slovakia and Estonia, and is illustrated very briefly by Northern Ireland (1921-72), Poland (1918-35) and Malaysia. It is posited that the model of ethnic democracy is particularly valid for democratizing states that attempt to manage their divided societies without giving up structured majority dominance. Some countries in Central Eastern Europe are strongly disposed to this strategy. More applications of the model are needed in order to develop it further.

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