How democracy functions in ethnically divided societies, and how minorities can gain access to power

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The Quality of Divided Democracies contemplates how democracy works, or fails to work, in ethnoculturally divided societies. It advances a new theoretical approach to assessing quality of democracy in divided societies, and puts it into practice with the focused comparison of two divided democracies—Estonia and Latvia. The book uses rich comparative data to tackle the vital questions of what determines a democracy’s level of inclusiveness and the ways in which minorities can gain access to the policy-making process. It uncovers a “presence–polarization dilemma” for minorities’ inclusion in the democratic process, which has implications for academic debates on minority representation and ethnic politics, as well as practical implications for international and national institutions’ promotion of minority rights.

Licia Cianetti is a Research Fellow at the Royal Holloway University of London.

“This is an innovative and well-conceptualized study about the question of what constitutes democracy in ethnically divided societies. Licia Cianetti addresses this question through a thoroughly researched and well-written comparative account about the way different forms of minority mobilization and representation have shaped minority access to policymaking in Estonia and Latvia. This book is a must-read for scholars and policymakers interested in the challenges of democratic governance in multiethnic societies in Europe and elsewhere.”
—Zsuzsa Csergő, Queen’s University, Canada

“The Quality of Divided Democracies speaks to an important question facing modern Europe, namely how minorities and minority interests are included in policy-making. The empirical work is thorough, impressive, and comprehensive, and I came away impressed with the case studies. The author has tremendous expertise on Latvia and Estonia.”
—Seth Jolly, Syracuse University

“An extremely interesting read that has both theoretical sophistication and excellent empirical evidence. . . . Challenges the relatively new field of inclusion/integration studies to reconsider the strength of its categories and presents new analytical tools in their stead.”
—Jonathan Laurence, Boston College

"While many researchers moved on from the Baltic states after they achieved EU accession in 2004, the issues facing Estonia and Latvia regarding the integration of their Russian-speaking minorities remained. Cianetti has brought these issues back into the light and for that we should be grateful."
-- Europe-Asia Studies

- Michael Johns

Honorable Mention: Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN) 2020 Rothschild Prize

- ASN Rothschild Prize

 “Comprises meticulously constructed case studies that use the sharp conceptual tool of the presence-polarization dilemma that she has developed. The substantial case detail will be appreciated by area studies-oriented readers. The book’s contribution, however, is not limited to Baltic studies. The nuanced treatment of the dynamics of majority-minority politics should be of far broader interest. The Quality of Divided Democracies is deserving of a wide readership.”
--Perspectives on Politics

- Perspectives on Politics

“Cianetti’s 'presence-polarization dilemma' closely examines the fundamental question of political representation in modern democracies, and The Quality of Divided Democracies has undoubtedly contributed to the broader debate on implications of different forms of representation. The key argument in the volume can be easily seen as an addition to ethnic minority representation literature, as in for example power-sharing and centripetalism discussions.”
--Nationalism and Ethnic Politics

- Nationalism and Ethnic Politics