Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Andreas Wimmer -- State Capacity, Civil Society, and Nation Building. A Global Analysis

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

McKinney Conference Room

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"State Capacity, Civil Society, and Nation Building. A Global Analysis," with Andreas Wimmer, Professor of Sociology, University of California Los Angeles.

Why have some states been captured by specific ethnic elites and their clienteles, excluding all others from access to government power? Conversely, what explains political inclusion across ethnic divides or, in other words, successful “nation building”? I argue that high state capacity to deliver public goods and well developed civil society organizations reduce ethno-political exclusion because they produce more encompassing networks of political alliances less aligned along ethnic cleavages. Both contemporary state capacity and civil society development are in turn related to levels of state building achieved during the 19th century. Such long-term factors of endogenous political development are more important for explaining ethnic power structures than political institutions (including democracy) or the legacies of colonial rule. This is shown on the basis of a cross-national dataset covering all countries since 1945.

Location: McKinney Conference Room, Watson Institute, 111 Thayer Street.