Ethnic Politics in Ranked and Unranked Systems
an Exploratory Analysis
This article explores how ethnic politics may operate differently in societies with “ranked” versus “unranked” ethnic systems, where ethnicity and class correlate closely versus very little. It focuses on two hypotheses suggested, but not tested, in Donald Horowitz's Ethnic Groups in Conflict. Their plausibility is explored in seven brief case studies of electoral politics in South America and Southern Africa. The analysis suggests that theories of ethnic politics that fail to take class into account are problematic for the study of ranked societies in particular.