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ethnic democracy

  A mode of conflict regulation in which a particular ethnic or national segment of a polity enjoys a hegemonic position and status within a multicultural polity (cf. multiculturalism), justified on the basis of its claim to have a privileged ancestral relationship to its political homeland, and in which this self-selective group regards minority ethnic groups as having relatively less claim and as not being fully loyal (cf. ethnicity). Such a regime also contains elements of democracy and should therefore not be confused with a system of social apartheid: thus individual civil rights exist universally throughout its territory, and certain collective rights are extended to ethnic minorities. It also differs from a consociational form of ethnic management. Current examples of polities regarded as ethnic democracies include Israel, Estonia, Latvia, and Malaysia. (GES)

Suggested Reading Smith, G. 1996: The ethnic democracy thesis and the citizenship question in Estonia and Latvia. Nationalities Papers 24 (2): 199-216. Smooha, S. 1990: Minority status in an ethnic democracy: the status of the Arab minority in Israel. Ethnic and Racial Studies 13 (3): 389-413. Yiftachel, O. 1993: The concept of \'ethnic democracy\' and its applicability to the case of Israel. Ethnic and Racial Studies 15 (1): 125-36.



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