Advisor

Melody E. Valdini

Date of Award

8-7-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Political Science

Department

Political Science

Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 85 pages)

Abstract

More than twenty legislatures reserve a portion of seats for ethnic minority groups, often in an attempt to prevent violent conflict and redress historical oppression. The intention of reserved seats coincides with indigenous group objectives--to achieve political representation while maintaining autonomy. Yet the formation and electoral success of indigenous parties does not always follow adoption of a reserved seat system. I explain this inconsistency by taking reserved seats as a necessary but insufficient condition of indigenous party formation, and arguing that two additional conditions must be met to motivate indigenous groups to form a viable party: the failure of the existing party system to respond to group interests and the failure of grievance resolution mechanisms to fairly adjudicate disputes between indigenous groups and the state. I compare this model of indigenous party formation to three case studies--Colombia, New Zealand, and Taiwan--each with a reserved seat system for indigenous peoples but nonetheless exhibiting different levels of indigenous party formation and success. This research makes three significant contributions: it explores how indigenous groups strategically balance autonomy and participation; it suggests reconsidering how indigenous party formation and reserved seats are conceptualized by rational choice approaches; and it points to new ways of thinking about how elites can manipulate reserved seats to cultivate state legitimacy and enforce minority group assimilation.

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/30504

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