ISRF Mid-Career Fellow 2017-18
ISRF Mid-Career Fellow 2017-18
Sherrill Stroschein is a Senior Lecturer in Politics in the Department of Political Science at University College London, and Director of the Master’s Program on Democracy and Comparative Politics (since 2005). Previously she was an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies and an Assistant Professor at Ohio University.
Her research emphasises two main questions. First, why and how do individuals mobilise along lines of identity in politics – particularly ethnic identities? What do such mobilisations mean for coexistence? Second, what are the implications of mobilised ethnic identities within democratic institutions? The politics of ethnic enclaves, where demographics are reversed at the local level, is the focus of her current research project.
In addition to journal articles, she has published Ethnic Struggle, Coexistence, and Democratization in Eastern Europe (Cambridge 2012), and the edited volume Governance in Ethnically Mixed Cities (Routledge 2007). She is associate editor of the journal Problems of Post-Communism and is involved in planning for the Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN). Much of her research has focused on Eastern Europe, and she has a working knowledge of several European languages.
Ethnic enclaves are towns, cities, and counties where the state’s ethnic minority is the local majority. They are fascinating spaces in which the minority-majority dynamics of ethnic politics are reversed. This project examines the dynamics of local party politics in ethnic enclaves, and the changing relationship between ethnic enclaves and central state governments. I will compare enclaves in four East European states, where ethnicity is a persistently salient feature of politics: Hungarian enclaves in Romania, Serbia and Slovakia, and Albanian enclaves in Macedonia / Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Ethnic enclaves have been woefully understudied in politics and political science, due to 1) a lack of focus on the nuances of local politics, and 2) because enclave ethnic politics run counter to the general state-level dynamics examined in the field of politics. I am interested in how the identity difference between the enclave and the rest of the state changes over time, in both perception and in practice. My previous fieldwork in the Hungarian enclave in Romania has revealed a tendency of ethnic party fragmentation among ethnic Hungarian parties in local enclave politics (2011). The emergence of Hungarian challenger parties in the early 2000s and their ongoing participation in politics has increased the salience of the enclave as a political island in Romania. Local symbols and flags have become increasingly prevalent over the past 10 years, as competition among the Hungarian parties for local powers in the enclave has reinforced identity boundaries. Over time, there has been an increasing entrenchment of difference between the Hungarian enclave and the rest of Romania in the conduct of political discourse and practice. I want to know more about this dynamic, and the degree to which a similar general pattern emerges (or does not emerge) in Serbia, Slovakia, and Macedonia / FYROM.
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