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Crafting State-Nations

India and Other Multinational Democracies

Alfred Stepan, Juan J. Linz, and Yogendra Yadav

Publication Year: 2010

Political wisdom holds that the political boundaries of a state necessarily coincide with a nation's perceived cultural boundaries. Today, the sociocultural diversity of many polities renders this understanding obsolete. This volume provides the framework for the state-nation, a new paradigm that addresses the need within democratic nations to accommodate distinct ethnic and cultural groups within a country while maintaining national political coherence. First introduced briefly in 1996 by Alfred Stepan and Juan J. Linz, the state-nation is a country with significant multicultural—even multinational—components that engenders strong identification and loyalty from its citizens. Here, Indian political scholar Yogendra Yadav joins Stepan and Linz to outline and develop the concept further. The core of the book documents how state-nation policies have helped craft multiple but complementary identities in India in contrast to nation-state policies in Sri Lanka, which contributed to polarized and warring identities. The authors support their argument with the results of some of the largest and most original surveys ever designed and employed for comparative political research. They include a chapter discussing why the U.S. constitutional model, often seen as the preferred template for all the world’s federations, would have been particularly inappropriate for crafting democracy in politically robust multinational countries such as India or Spain. To expand the repertoire of how even unitary states can respond to territorially concentrated minorities with some secessionist desires, the authors develop a revised theory of federacy and show how such a formula helped craft the recent peace agreement in Aceh, Indonesia. Empirically thorough and conceptually clear, Crafting State-Nations will have a substantial impact on the study of comparative political institutions and the conception and understanding of nationalism and democracy.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

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pp. vii-ix | DOI: 10.1353/chapter.728

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pp. xi-xix | DOI: 10.1353/chapter.729

The territory of the world today is divided into 195 states; 192 of them are membersof the United Nations, and their boundaries are internationally recognized byother states.1 Such internationally recognized states are presumed to have theright to exercise authority over the population within their borders, whether thepeople are citizens, subjects, or even foreigners. In many cases, this authority has...

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1 Comparative Theory and Political Practice: Do We Need a ‘‘State-Nation’’ Model as Well as a ‘‘Nation-State’’ Model?

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pp. 1-38 | DOI: 10.1353/chapter.730

One of the most urgent conceptual, normative, and political tasks of our day is tothink anew about how polities that aspire to be democracies can accommodategreat sociocultural, even multinational, diversity within one state. The need to think anew arises from a mismatch between the political realities of the world welive in and the old political wisdom that we have inherited. The old wisdom holds...

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2 India as a State-Nation: Shared Political Community amidst Deep Cultural Diversity

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pp. 39-88 | DOI: 10.1353/chapter.731

India would appear to be one of the most difficult cases for our argument that multiple but complementary identities and democratic state-nation loyalties are possible even in a polity with significant ‘‘robust multinational’’ dimensions as well as intense linguistic and religious differences. For many of its citizens, India is a nation-state; for others, it is what we call a state-nation. However, as we discussed in chapter 1, India also has some unmistakable dimensions of a multinational society.

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3 Four Indian Cases That Challenge State-Nation Theory?

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pp. 89-115 | DOI: 10.1353/chapter.732

In the last chapter we produced substantial aggregate evidence of public opinion that we believe supports the state-nation model. But have we neglected salient failures, which, if examined carefully, would present inconvenient facts for state-nation theory? We hope that others will submit our theory to full-blown analytictests. Here, however, we want to meet this fair objection by taking a preliminary...

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4 Tamils in India: How State-Nation Policies Helped Construct Multiple but Complementary Identities

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pp. 116-143 | DOI: 10.1353/chapter.733

There is an extremely long tradition in democratic social analysis that more or lessargues that the term multinational democracy is an oxymoron.1 In chapters 2 and 3 we presented compelling evidence to challenge that tradition, even in one of the world's most culturally diverse polities. Until now, except for our discussion ofsome of the most distinctive features of the Indian polity, we did not go very far...

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5 Tamils in Sri Lanka: How Nation-State Policies Helped Construct Polar and Conflictual Identities

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pp. 144-172 | DOI: 10.1353/chapter.734

There is an extremely long tradition in democratic social analysis that more or less argues that the term multinational democracy is an oxymoron.1 In chapters 2 and 3 we presented compelling evidence to challenge that tradition, even in one of the world’s most culturally diverse polities.

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6 Ukraine: State-Nation Policies in a Unitary State

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pp. 173-200 | DOI: 10.1353/chapter.735

Thus far in this book, we have presented nation-states and state-nations as sharply contrasting ideal types for how to nurture democratic political communities. We have also noted that a characteristic political institution of the state-nation ideal type is federalism, indeed asymmetrical federalism. However, theoretically and empirically, we can imagine geopolitical and domestic contexts where neither full...

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7 Federacy: A Formula for Democratically Managing Multinational Societies in Unitary States

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pp. 201-256 | DOI: 10.1353/chapter.736

The major subject of this book has been how states can democratically manage multinational societies. We developed an ideal-type model, which we called a state-nation, as a possible way to respond to this challenge, and then demonstrated how some countries such as India and Spain have approximated empirically...

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8 The U.S. Federal Model and Multinational Societies: Some Problems for Democratic Theory and Practice

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pp. 257-276 | DOI: 10.1353/chapter.737

The purpose of this chapter is to explore the question: How appropriate or inappropriate is U.S.-style federalism in robust multinational societies if our goals are democracy, reasonably inclusive social welfare policies, and relative political tranquility? We ask this question because, even though we argued in chapter 1 that the United States was multicultural but not multinational, many readers may...


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pp. 277-296 | DOI: 10.1353/chapter.738


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pp. 297-308 | DOI: 10.1353/chapter.739

E-ISBN-13: 9780801899423
E-ISBN-10: 0801899427
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801897245
Print-ISBN-10: 0801897246

Page Count: 336
Illustrations: 2 maps, 7 graphs
Publication Year: 2010