Politicization of Ethnicity and Related Phenomena

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-8-131-138
P. Oskolkov (petroskolkov@yandex.ru),
Institute of Europe, Russian Academy of Sciences (IE RAS), 11/3, Mokhovaya Str., Moscow, 125009, Russian Federation

Received 22.12.2020.

Abstract. In the article, the phenomenon of the politicization of ethnicity is analyzed, together with the related phenomena, i.e. ethnopolitical mobilization (including pan-ethnic mobilization and demobilization), ethnicization of politics and of other social fields for political ends. The author works within the framework of constructivist and ethnosymbolist approaches. The nature, dynamics and actor structure of the processes are considered, and an attempt is made to conceptualize them correctly. The author points at the interconnectedness of the phenomena in the terminological field of the political science as well as at the necessity to distinguish them and adapt ethnopolitical strategies to their variations. The politicization of ethnicity is defined as an attachment of political functions to the ethnic identity. Ethnopolitical mobilization is different in that it has a particular goal. Main factors stimulating ethnopolitical mobilization are: dissatisfaction of a group with different aspects of its status, political opportunities, material and non-material resources available, activities of ethnopolitical elites. Pan-ethnic mobilization employs the wider group identity involving not only actors’ own ethnic group but also other groups close to it within a linguacultural cluster. The ethnicization of politics is defined as the inclusion of ethnic components into the political process. Though both politics ethnicization and ethnicity politicization are typical of majority as well as minority groups, the ethnicization of politics is usually conducted “from above” employing memory archetypes and socially significant symbols. Other social identities, namely religion, sport affiliation, etc. are prone to be ethnicized for political goals, but this process has some important constraints. For instance, religion can be ethnicized if a territorially close ethnic group has other religious affiliation or is less devote; ethnicization of sport depends on a specific historical context. Especially the ethnicization of social discrepancies has a conflict potential and is to be prevented by relevant ethnopolitical management.

Keywords: ethnicity, politicization of ethnicity, ethnicization of politics, ethnopolitical mobilization, ethnic policy, ethnosymbolism

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For citation:
Oskolkov P. Politicization of Ethnicity and Related Phenomena . World Eonomy and International Relations, 2021, vol. 65, no. 8, pp. 131-138. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-8-131-138

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