Ethnic voting is a feature of many multiethnic democracies the world over. The existence of an identity group does not guarantee the electoral solidarity of group members. Besides the desire to corner state resources, relations of fear and prejudice between groups are identified as prominent motivations for ethnic voting. But how members of a group treat each other, how they exercise their preferences and prejudices towards fellow group members also matter to group solidarity in elections, especially when a substantial number of the interactions that people have are with in-group rather than with out-group members. In this presentation, drawing on a survey of over 5200 voters conducted across two very different political contexts in India, Amit Ahuja will discuss the effect of one such prejudice—the universal bias against dark skin color—on attitudes towards the electoral solidarity of caste groups.
Amit Ahuja is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research focuses on the politics of inclusion and exclusion in South Asian multiethnic societies, specifically within the context of ethnic parties and movements, military organizations, intercaste marriages, and skin color preferences. His publications include Mobilizing the Marginalized: Ethnic Parties without Ethnic Movements (Oxford University Press, 2019) and a second monograph in progress on Building National Armies in Multiethnic States.
Sponsored by the IHC’s South Asian Religions and Cultures Research Focus Group and the Department of Political Science