Instrumental and Constructivist Conceptualizations of Ethnicity: Implications for Latin American Social Movements Research
Instituto de Estudios Internacionales de la Universidad de Chile
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Within the realm of comparative politics ethnicity has been conceptualized as both a fixed category individuals are born into, as well as a relatively fluid identity that can be made politically salient by different actors. The latter perspective corresponds with instrumental and constructivist conceptualizations of ethnicity that seeks first and foremost to answer the question: ‘Under which circumstances will ethnicity become activated and affect citizens’ political behavior?’ Beginning in the 1990s, Latin American social movements began to ‘play the ethnic card’, which culminated with the first indigenous candidate ever to win a presidential election in the region in 2005. Applying research designs based on instrumental and constructivist conceptualizations of ethnicity could significantly advance the study of Latin American social movements.
This is the author accepted manuscript.