UBC Theses and Dissertations
Ethnicity and politics : the case of the Turkish minority of Bulgaria Makarinov, Serguey Vassilev
This thesis is a study of the relationship between ethnicity and politics in a democratic society. Taking Bulgaria and its Turkish minority as a test case, the thesis reflects on how the presence of ethnic minorities affects governmental and political structures, how or under what conditions minority groups benefit from their ability to influence, or to integrate into, the political system, and, vice versa, how the existing constitutional and political structures affect the minorities' political choices. The thesis reviews the cleavages pertaining to language, religion, race, origin, and culture, which serve to identify Bulgaria's major ethnic groups. Two analytical models are utilized in order to test whether the political conditions are favorable to a change in the interethnic relationship from assimilation under the authoritarian regime to integration by accommodation of the Turkish minority under the new, democratic rule. The first model -- the concept of communication and social mobilization of Karl Deutsch — is used in the evaluation of the integrative capacity of the Turkish minority to accommodate to the present political reality. The second one — the consociational model of stable democratic government in plural societies of Arend Lijphart -- is utilized in the assessment of the possible outcomes resulting from the mounting ethnic pressures on Bulgaria's unitary character. The thesis arrives at the following general conclusions: first, under democratic conditions, the impact of ethnicity on Bulgaria's politics has increased; the presence of minorities has affected the parties (toward perpetuating the nationwide ideological divide), the electoral system (toward less vote fluidity), and the governmental structures (toward interethnic coalition building). Second, the constitutional framework of the country is conducive to interethnic moderation and elite coalescence; integrative behavior is rewarding for the Turkish minority, despite Bulgaria's constitutional ethnocentrism. And third, partial federal solutions in the ethnically mixed regions appear to be a conceivable option in the future.
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