Prof. Dr. David Siroky

Summer Semester 2012


Prof. Dr. David Siroky (Arizona State University)

David S. Siroky is Assistant Professor of Political Science in the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science and M.A. in Economics from Duke University and was then Henry Hart Rice Fellow at Yale University before arriving at ASU. Siroky's research is concerned with three themes. The first focuses on group formation and dissolution, ethnic conflict and civil war dynamics. The second theme concerns the relationship between political change and instability, and the third is research methodology, especially efforts to integrate statistical modeling, particularly non-parametric approaches, with formal theory and qualitative information. He is working on a book about secession that joins these research interests.

More Information

The first public lecture of Prof. Siroky will be on June 27th at the Institute Colloquium of the Department of Political Science. The time is 18.00 o'clock an the topic "Principles of Group Formation and Varieties of Political Violence".

An Abstract: Why are some countries prone to ethno-nationalist conflict, while others are plagued by revolutionary-class warfare? This is a question that has seldom been raised and hardly examined empirically. In this paper, we present a social-structural theory to account for the variable incidence of these two forms of political instability. Ethnic and revolutionary wars result from two distinct principles of group formation-ethnicity and class-and since each individual is simultaneously a member of an ethnic group (or many such groups) and a particular class, these two principles of group formation vary in the degree to which they are substitutes or complements. The degree of intergroup stratification and segmentation determines the relative salience of each principle of group formation in any society. Most important, each principle of group formation is associated with a characteristic form of political mobilization: a society divided into two hostile classes is ripe for revolution, but a society divided into two hostile ethnic groups is more likely to be threatened by secession. When between-group inequalities are low, but within-group inequalities are high, we expect class to serve as the dominant principle of group formation. Provided that the relevant groups manage to overcome the free rider problem, we expect more revolutionary than secessionist conflicts. When between-group inequalities are high, but within group inequalities are low, ethnicity should be the dominant principle of group formation and secessionism the primary basis of group conflict. The collective action mechanism that links the salient principle of group formation and the type of political instability operates through the group's financial, political and organizational capacity. Our initial test of some of the theory's empirical implications on household-level, group-level and country-level panel data from more than three-dozen developing countries yields promising results.

Research Workshop: "The Violation of Human Rights in New Europe: A Cross-National Analysis"

Hosts: Prof. Dr. Arne Niemann and Dr. Petra Guasti / Department of Political Science at the University of Mainz