Graduation Year


Publication Date

Spring 2013


Most theories of nationalism focus on majority nationalism and do not provide an adequate explanation of the inaction of most ethnic minorities. The first part of this paper adopts the political process model from social movement theory to study the factors that prompt linguistic minorities to mobilize on ethno-national grounds. Using a large-N statistical model with data drawn from the Minorities at Risk (MAR) database, the results indicate that group capacity, a favorable opportunity structure, and strong issue framing facilitate ethno-national mobilization. The second part of the paper employs a most similar system design to compare Uzbek language minorities in Central Asia with the Uyghur linguistic minority in China. The focused-structured comparison confirms and extends the findings of the political process model. In short, isolated communities, an apathetic Uzbek state, and cross-cutting identities have created unfavorable conditions for ethno-national mobilization among Uzbek minorities. Much the opposite has been the case for the Uyghur minority in China.


Political Science