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Crafting State-Nations

, 336 pages

3 line drawings

January 2011



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Crafting State-Nations

India and Other Multinational Democracies

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.

Alfred Stepan is the Wallace Sayre Professor of Government at Columbia University. His books include Democracies in Danger, Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation, and The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes, all also published by Johns Hopkins, the last two with Juan J. Linz. Juan J. Linz is Sterling Professor Emeritus of Political and Social Science at Yale University. In addition to the works coauthored and coedited with Professor Stepan, Professor Linz has published works on democracy, democratization, and comparative politics, including Sultanistic Regimes, also published by Johns Hopkins. Yogendra Yadav is the codirector of Lokniti and a Senior Fellow with the Center for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi, India. He has written articles for Hindi- and English-language newspapers and magazines, is a member of the editorial collective of the monthly Hindi-language magazine Samayik Varta, and is the general editor of Lokchintan Granthamala, a four-volume series on social science published in Hindi.

"Useful and important."

"For its conceptual innovation, erudition, and real-world applicability, this book deserves to be widely read... The authors tell us that the goal of their analysis is "to expand our collective political imaginations" (p. xiv) about how to combine democracy and ethnic diversity. They have brilliantly succeeded in meeting that goal."

"This book offers a compelling account of "state-nation" -ism as a political model."

"Remarkably erudite and conceptually innovative, Crafting State-Nations will reconfigure the debate on nations and nationalism, and on the relationship between national diversity and political institutions. The authors have brilliantly succeeded in expanding our political imaginations."

"The book makes a very timely and important intervention to understanding nationalism and democracy in the study of comparative politics."

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