Files in this item



application/pdfDanail_Koev.pdf (2MB)
(no description provided)PDF


Title:The determinants of ethnic minority party formation and success in Europe
Author(s):Koev, Danail
Director of Research:Leff, Carol S.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Leff, Carol S.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Pahre, Robert D.; Svolik, Milan; Bernhard, William T.
Department / Program:Political Science
Discipline:Political Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):ethnic politics
ethnic parties
European politics
parties and elections
Eastern Europe
Western Europe
social identity theory
European Union
kin state
right-wing populism
political opportunity structure
party organization
Abstract:Why do some ethnic minority groups in Europe form political parties of their own in order to obtain political representation, whereas others choose to work within the confines of established, mainstream political parties? Further, why do some ethnic minority parties (EMPs) achieve electoral success, whereas others fail? In addressing these questions, I incorporate insights from history and social psychology to develop an original theory of EMP emergence and success. I argue that an ethnic minority group’s historical background influences its political engagement strategies through sociopsychological processes. I propose that native groups (those that inhabited the territory of the modern-day state in which they reside prior to that state’s establishment) and groups with historical experiences of autonomous self-rule are more likely to form ethnic minority parties, and that EMPs formed by such groups are more likely to enjoy electoral success. I argue that groups possessing one or both of these characteristics are more likely to exhibit the traits of positive distinctiveness and shared grievances, contributing to the development of a salient collective political identity. Ultimately, groups that perceive themselves as native to their state and that have enjoyed autonomy are more likely to feel entitled to the unique form of representation provided by an ethnic minority party, and more likely to generate sufficient electoral support to sustain such a party. In contrast, groups lacking these traits are likely to either have non-politicized identities or to approach the political process from an individual, rather than collective, perspective. This makes them more prone to seek participation in established, mainstream political parties. In addition to this original theory, I consider existing theories regarding the role of the political opportunity structure and the role of international organizations such as the European Union. I test my predictions with a mixed-methods approach combining a large-N, cross-national quantitative analysis with a detailed case study focusing on Bulgaria. The quantitative portion of my analysis uses an original dataset of European elections in the period 1990-2012. I test my predictions regarding the determinants of EMP entry and success using generalized linear mixed models, finding substantial support for the influence of the two historical variables. For the qualitative case study, I performed a month of field research, conducting semi-structured elite interviews with leading Bulgarian political figures with expertise in the country’s ethnic politics. I sought to determine why the country’s Turkish minority has produced one of the most successful ethnic parties in Europe, whereas the country’s Roma population remains without a notable political party. The case study confirms many of the findings of the quantitative analysis and allows a deeper exploration into the complex causal mechanisms behind EMP emergence and success.
Issue Date:2014-09-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Danail Koev
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-09-16
Date Deposited:2014-08

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Item Statistics