All CDDRL Events Seminars

The Representation Trap: How and Why Muslims Struggle to Maintain Power in India

Tuesday, October 4, 2022 | 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM (Pacific)

Virtual to Public. Only those with an active Stanford ID with access to E008 in Encina Hall may attend in person.

The Representation Trap: How and Why Muslims Struggle to Maintain Power in India

Challenging the conventional wisdom that power begets power, this paper argues that political gains for marginalized groups can create the very conditions for their political demise. When a marginalized group comes to power without institutional protections such as quotas or reservations, it can divide the marginalized group and unite the dominant group. I study this process, which I call the representation trap, in the context of one of the largest marginalized groups in the world's largest democracy: Indian Muslims. While India has made strides toward the political inclusion of many marginalized groups, Muslims stand in stark contrast, experiencing poor political representation, low socioeconomic status, and communal violence.

Using a regression discontinuity design, I find that a Muslim political win leads to an almost 30 percent lower likelihood of subsequent Muslim victory. I document the mechanisms for marginalized group divisions and dominant group consolidation through additional election analyses, experimental evidence from an original, in-person survey of about 5000 Muslim and Hindu voters, and qualitative evidence drawing on about 150 elite and voter interviews. Taken together, the theory and findings challenge the perspective that representation necessarily catalyzes the political empowerment of marginalized groups.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER
 

Feyaad AllieFeyaad Allie is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Stanford University and a Pre-Doctoral Fellow at Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. His dissertation project examines the sustained exclusion of marginalized groups in multi-ethnic democracies with a focus on one of the largest marginalized groups in the world’s largest democracy: Indian Muslims. This work identifies how dominant group consolidation and marginalized group divisions contribute to poor political outcomes for Muslims in India. In other ongoing research, Feyaad studies majority-minority relations and the intersection of technology and politics. At Stanford, Feyaad is affiliated with the Immigration Policy Lab and the Abbasi Program for Islamic Studies. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the King Center on Global Development, and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). Prior to graduate school, Feyaad worked on an international development project in Nairobi, Kenya, and received his B.A. in Government from Dartmouth College. 

Virtual to Public. Only those with an active Stanford ID with access to E008 in Encina Hall may attend in person.