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Rioting for Representation: Local Ethnic Mobilization in Democratizing Countries

December 5, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Ethnic riots are a costly and all too common occurrence during political transitions in multi-ethnic settings.  Why do ethnic riots occur in certain parts of a country and not others? How does violence eventually decline? Drawing on rich case studies and quantitative evidence from Indonesia between 1990 and 2012, this book argues that patterns of ethnic rioting are not inevitably driven by inter-group animosity, weakness of state capacity, or local demographic composition.  Rather, local ethnic elites strategically use violence to leverage their demands for political inclusion during political transition and that violence eventually declines as these demands are accommodated. The book breaks new ground in showing that particular political reforms—increased political competition, direct local elections, and local administrative units partitioning—in ethnically diverse contexts can ameliorate political exclusion and reduce overall levels of violence between groups.

Join us in-person in the FedEx Global Education Center at UNC Chapel Hill, or register to join us over Zoom by clicking here.

Prof. Risa Toha is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Wake Forest University and on leave from Yale-NUS College in Singapore. She is broadly interested in ethnic politics, political violence, and political economy of development, with a regional focus on Southeast Asia. This talk is based on her recent book from Cambridge University Press of the same title.

This lecture is presented as part of the “Bringing Southeast Asia Home” grant funded by the Luce Foundation.


FedEx Global Education Center, Room 1009
301 Pittsboro St.
Chapel Hill, NC 27516 United States
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Carolina Asia Center
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