Ethnoracial Hierarchy and Democratic Society

Jana Morgan
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Jana Morgan
Professor of Political Science, University of Tennessee
Kellogg Visiting Fellow

Entrenched ethnoracial hierarchies that persist alongside formal democratic rules threaten commitments to democracy. Previous research has shown how ethnoracial oppression harms minoritized group members, but has rarely considered the potential harm entrenched group-based hierarchies pose for democratic society overall. This project argues that ethnoracial inequalities have society-wide implications with entrenched systems of ethnoracial marginalization undermining support for democracy and weakening respect for democratic principles, even among those at the top of the hierarchy. Analysis of survey data cross-nationally throughout Latin America and over time in Bolivia demonstrates that ethno racial hierarchies are associated with weaker democratic commitments across society, while leveling these hierarchies strengthens support for democracy. Additional evidence from a novel survey experiment in Peru shows that exposure to ethnoracial inequalities causes support for democracy to deteriorate. This chapter helps illuminate how ethnoracial hierarchies pose a fundamental challenge to democratic commitments and provides evidence that group-based inequalities harm democratic society with consequences not only among those who belong to minoritized groups but across society overall.

This project is a collaboration with Nathan Kelly, professor of political science at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and current visiting professor in political science with the Rooney Center at the University of Notre Dame.


Speakers / Related People
Jana Morgan

Kellogg Visiting Fellow Jana Morgan is professor of political science at the University of Tennessee and associate editor of the Latin American Research Review (LARR). Her research explores how social and economic inequalities and representational deficits affect marginalized groups and undermine democracy across the Americas...
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