Ethnocracy is a form of
governmentwhere representatives of a particular ethnicgroup(s) hold a number of government posts disproportionately large to the percentageof the total populationthat the particular ethnic group(s) represents and use them to advance the position of their particular ethnic group(s) to the detriment of others. The minorityethnic groups are systematically discriminatedagainst by the stateand may face repressions or violations of human rightsat the hands of state organs. Ethnocracy can also be a political regime which is instituted on the basis of qualified rights to citizenship, and with ethnic affiliation (defined in terms of race, descent, religion, or language) as the distinguishing principle. Generally, the raison d'êtreof an ethnographic government is to secure the most important instruments of state power in the hands of a specific ethnic collectivity. All other considerations concerning the distribution of power are ultimately subordinated to this basic intention. Ethnocracies are generally considered to be non-democratic in nature.
Ethnocracies are characterised by their control systemndash the legal, institutional, and physical instruments of power deemed necessary to secure ethnic dominance. The degree of system discrimination will tend to vary greatly from case to case and from situation to situation. If the dominant group (whose interests the system is meant to serve and whose identity it is meant to represent) constitutes a small minority (20% or less) of the population within the state territory, extreme degrees of institutionalised suppression will probably be necessary to sustain the status quo. The other side of the coin might well be a system of full-fletched democracy (inclusive and competitive in Robert Dahl's terminology) for the privileged population, making up what Pierre van den Berghe (1981) calls "
Herrenvolk democracy" (with reference to apartheid South Africa). This is a system of ethnocracy which offers democratic participation to the dominant group only.
In his book "Ethnocracy: Land and Identity Politics in Israel/Palestine", Israeli geographer Oren Yiftachel refers to a strategy of "Judaization" as the primary manifestation of ethnocracy in
Israel/Palestine. [cite book
title=Ethnocracy: Land and Identity Politics in Israel/Palestine
publisher=University of Pennsylvania Press
isbn=978-0-8122-3927-0] . Similar references have also been made to the
Palestinian Territories[Arkush, Allan 1949-, Ethnocracy Land and Identity Politics in Israel/Palestine (review) Israel Studies - Volume 12, Number 3, Fall 2007, pp. 161-167] .
Ethnocracy indicates a specific principle of power-distribution in a society. In his book "
Power-Sharing in South Africa" ISBN 0-87725-524-5, Arend Lijphartclassifies contemporary constitutional proposals for a solution to the conflict in South Africainto four categories:
majoritarian(one man, one vote)
* non-democratic (varieties of white domination)
* partitionist (creating new political entities)
consociational(power-sharing by proportional representation and elite accommodation) (1985:5)
Not surprisingly, Lijphart argues strongly in favour of the consociational model and his categories illustrates that, on the constitutional level, state power can be distributed along two dimensions: Legal-institutional and territorial.
Along the legal-institutional dimension we can distinguish between sectarianism(power centralised according to membership in a specific group), pluralism (power-distribution among defined groups according to relative numerical strength), and universalism (power-distribution without any group-specific qualifications). The three main alternatives on the territorial dimension are the unitary state, "intermediate restructuring" (within one formal sovereignty), and partition (creating separate political entities).
Historian Christoffe Jaffrelot argues in his landmark work "Pakistan. Nationalism without a Nation" that contemporary
Pakistanis essentially little more than a Punjabi racial ethnocracy. He refers to the phenomenon as the "Punjabization of Pakistan". Christophe Jaffrelot, Pakistan: Nationalism Without A Nation, Zed Books (May 17, 2002),ISBN 1842771175] He observes systemic ethnic and cultural irredentismin Pakistan that intentionally minimizes and disparages non-Punjabis (such as the Sindhi, Baluchor Pukhtunethnic minorities). The Pakistani government machinery is heavily dominated by Punjabis, and systemic discrimination, as well as underrepresentation, against non-Punjabis in the country is the norm. Endemic and systematic discriminationagainst the Baluchhas given rise to Baluch freedom fighters such as Nawab Akbar Bugtiand the Balochistan Liberation Army, which seeks to build an independent Baluch republic free from discrimination against them. Other ethnic and sectarian strife in Pakistan that has its roots in racism, or perceptions of race, are the Muhajir Urdumovement, and Pashtun nationalism.
Ugandaunder military strongman Idi Amin Dadahas also been described as an ethnocracy favouring certain indigenous groups over others, as well as for the ethnic cleansing of Indians in Uganda by Amin. [Soldiers and Kinsmen in Uganda: The Making of a Military Ethnocracy by Ali A. Mazrui. Author(s) of Review: Rodger YeagerThe International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. 10, No. 2 (1977), pp. 289-293.doi:10.2307/217352]
* [http://www.statsvitenskap.uio.no/ansatte/serie/notat/fulltekst/0193/ Politics of Ethnocracies: Strategies and Dilemmas of Ethnic Domination] Nils A. Butenschøn
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