Identity as an Institution and the Origins of Ethnic Orders

  • 5 Jun 2018

    12:30-14:00, Clay Room, Nuffield College

  • Political Science Seminars   Add to Calendar
Speaker: Thomas Pepinsky

Government Department, Cornell University

This event is part of the Political Science Seminar Series.

This presentation outlines an institutional framework for studying ethnic identity that unites constructivist theories of ethnic politics and with the literature on equilibrium institutions. I propose that ethnic identity is best understood as a social institution, and use this framework to provide theoretical microfoundations for a conception of identity that is emergent, intersubjective, situational, and contested. To motivate this discussion, I draw on the case of Malays in contemporary Malaysia. The larger project is a book-length study of the political economy of ethnic orders, drawing primarily on materials from Malaysia and Indonesia. 

The Political Science Seminar Series is convened by Desmond King and Ben Ansell. For more information on this or any of the seminars in the series, please contact