Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

The Foundations of Ethnic Politics
Separatism of States and Nations in Eurasia and the World


Part of Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics

  • Author: Henry E. Hale, George Washington University, Washington DC
  • Date Published: October 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521719209
Average user rating
(1 review)

£ 21.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Despite implicating ethnicity in everything from civil war to economic failure, researchers seldom consult psychological research when addressing the most basic question: What is ethnicity? The result is a radical scholarly divide generating contradictory recommendations for solving ethnic conflict. Research into how the human brain actually works demands a revision of existing schools of thought. Hale argues ethnic identity is a cognitive uncertainty-reduction device with special capacity to exacerbate, but not cause, collective action problems. This produces a new general theory of ethnic conflict that can improve both understanding and practice. A deep study of separatism in the USSR and CIS demonstrates the theory's potential, mobilizing evidence from elite interviews, three local languages, and mass surveys. The outcome significantly reinterprets nationalism's role in CIS relations and the USSR's breakup, which turns out to have been a far more contingent event than commonly recognized.

    • New theory of ethnic identity and politics, more soundly grounded in psychology research than existing theories
    • Revises received wisdom on USSR's break-up, which turns out to be much less inevitable than usually thought
    • Pioneers psychology-based theory on the role of ethnicity and nationalism in international relations
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Hale's overall discussion maintains a high level of intellectual sophistication. Historians and political scientists will benefit from his thorough research …' Europe-Asia Studies

    'The Foundations of Ethnic Politics improves our understanding of how ethnic identities emerge and become politically activated in the context of national secessionism … this attribute is highly welcome in the context of a literature that has become highly complacent.' The Journal of Politics

    'Henry Hale … breaks fresh ground in The Foundations of Ethnic Politics, positing a relational theory of ethnicity at the centre of which is an acknowledgement that 'uncertainty reduction is a fundamental human motivation driving the near-universal tendency for humans to divide themselves into groups' (p. 35). … This is an important book that will shape all future writing on the subject.' Political Studies Review

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    12th Sep 2018 by Dijon

    i want to learn some acknowledge about cross-border ethnic groups.thanks for your kindness.

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2008
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521719209
    • length: 298 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 156 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • contains: 6 b/w illus. 7 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Note on transliteration
    1. Introduction
    Part I. Theory with Worldwide Examples:
    2. The need for a microfoundational theory of ethnicity
    3. A relational theory: ethnicity is about uncertainty, whereas ethnic politics is about interests
    4. A theory of national separatism in domestic and interstate politics
    Part II. Case Comparisons: Separatism in Eurasia:
    5. Ethnicity: identity and separatism in the USSR 1917–91
    6. Central state policies and separatism
    7. Framing: manipulating mass opinion in Ukraine and Uzbekistan
    8. Institutionally mediated interests: the political economy of secessionism
    9. Ethnicity and international integration: the CIS 1991–2007
    10. Quantitative evidence: micro-, macro- and multilevel
    Part III. Conclusion:
    11. Toward a general theory of ethnic conflict and solutions

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Ethnic Conflict
    • Junior Workshop on Ethnic Politics
    • Nationalism
    • Origins and Evolution of Modern Thought: Western and Eastern Traditions
    • Secession
    • Uniting states
  • Author

    Henry E. Hale, George Washington University, Washington DC
    Henry E. Hale (Ph.D. Harvard University, 1998, born February 5, 1966) is Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University. His work on ethnic politics, regional integration, democratization, and federalism has appeared in numerous journals, ranging from Comparative Political Studies to Europe-Asia Studies to Orbis. His first book, Why Not Parties in Russia?: Democracy, Federalism and the State (Cambridge University Press, 2006), was selected a winner of the Leon D. Epstein Outstanding Book Award by the Political Organizations and Parties section of the American Political Science Association (APSA). His Divided We Stand (2004) won two awards, including the APSA Qualitative Methods Section's 2005 Alexander L. George Award for best article in qualitative methods. The National Science Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research have funded his research. He has also been the recipient of a Fulbright research scholarship, a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, and a Peace Scholarship from the US Institute of Peace.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.