Threatened Majorities: The Security Dilemma and Counterviolence: Soham Das (The University of Texas at Dallas) Abstract: When marginalized groups organize protests and violent activities against majorities, the behavioral pattern of the majorities is affected as well, and it is essential to analyze the conflict through the lens of the majorities for a balanced understanding of civil conflict. Not much research has been done on that before, and this paper fills the gap by analyzing the perceived threat and the security dilemma of the majorities. The majorities’ apprehension about minorities comes from several sources. First is, an asymmetrical change in demographics against the current majority population, i.e., the greater population growth of the minority groups. Second is, favoritism of some political parties towards a minority ethnic community for their electoral benefits. Third is, revolutionary propaganda against the majority community by minority leaders and rebel groups. Fourth is, growing local mobilizations against the majorities, and finally, the events of repression against the majorities’ diaspora in neighboring countries. This paper analyzes the security dilemma of the dominant ethnic groups, who feel threatened about their socioeconomic control and their dominant status because of the above-mentioned factors and thereby engage in violence. The spatial-temporal domain of the study is Indian subcontinent, and the paper uses process-tracing methodology from 1975 to 2015 on the Hindus of India, and Bengali Muslims of Bangladesh to analyze the relationship between the perceived threat to the majorities and the events of violence against the minorities.
Is Federalism a Response to Societal Diversity? Understanding the Diverging Outcomes of Canadian and Cameroonian Federalism.: Patrick Desjardins (York University) Abstract: Cameroon and Canada are both multi-national and multi-lingual countries, the only two in the world with both French and English as their only official languages. The two countries are also among the few who are members of both the Commonwealth and La Francophonie, with both countries having dual French and British colonial heritages. Why then did Cameroon de-federate while Canada continues to maintain federal political arrangements? Socio-cultural explanations for the origins of federal political arrangements (Erk 2008, Gagnon, Smith 2010) argue that federalism is a consequence of underlying social factors, and federal institutions are thus intended to preserve and reinforce this underlying social difference. Yet, If the socio-cultural theory of the origins of federalism is correct, we would expect to see the continued maintenance of federal political arrangements in Cameroon given its underlying socio-cultural and linguistic diversity. How can this puzzle be explained? This paper argues that it is legislative and institutional politics, first and foremost, which determine whether or not a country adopts, or abandons, federal arrangements. It seeks to demonstrate this claim by employing Broschek’s (2010) understanding of federalism as a multilayered political order characterized by both an ideational and an institutional layer, identifying the differing organization and sequencing of legislative politics in Canada and Cameroon as the reason for the divergent federal trajectories of each country. In short, Canadian federalism was a response to the inability to form stable legislative majorities, whereas Cameroonian de-federalization was the consequence of staggering and successive legislative majorities.