"Introducing the Government-Sponsored Mass Expulsion Dataset," Journal of Peace Research, Vol 59, No. 5 (2022), pp. 767-776. Link.
This article introduces the Government-Sponsored Mass Expulsion dataset documenting cross-border mass expulsion episodes around the world from 1900-2020. This new dataset focuses on mass expulsion policies in which governments systematically remove ethnic, racial, religious or national groups, en masse. The GSME dataset disaggregates mass expulsion from other exclusionary politics concepts to isolate policies of intentional group-based population removal. This allows for a systematic examination of governmental expulsion policies, distinct from policies aimed at annihilation (genocide), control (massacre), or cultural elimination (coercive assimilation). The GSME dataset documents 139 expulsion episodes since 1900, affecting over 30 million citizens and non-citizens across all world regions. The data is drawn from archival research conducted at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as secondary sources and extant datasets. This article presents an empirical overview of the data including information on the expelling country, onset, duration, region, scale, category of persons expelled and frequency. Although mass expulsion is a rare event, it is a reoccurring rare event. Its consistent use—with over two million people expelled in the last five years alone—demands additional empirical and theoretical investigation. The GSME dataset contributes to the study of exclusionary politics as a dependent variable, but it also offers promise as an explanatory variable for those studying phenomena affected by mass expulsion.
"What Enables or Constrains Mass Expulsion? A New Decision-Making Framework" (Revise & Resubmit)
Given similar probabilities of mass expulsion, why do some governments expel ethnic groups en masse and others refrain? Extending the genocide studies literature on the dynamics of restraint, this article proposes a new framework to conceptualize the process of government mass expulsion policy decisions. I argue that three key factors enable or constrain expulsion implementation: alliances, target group ‘homeland’ state(s), and the international community. I illustrate my argument with a paired comparison case study of Asian minorities in post-colonial Uganda and Kenya. Despite analogous contexts, target populations and motives to expel, in 1972 Uganda’s government systematically removed 80,000 Asians en masse, while in 1967-69 Kenya’s did not. The negative case of Kenya, a country that seemed likely to expel but refrained, highlights important constraints on strategic choice. Evidence is drawn from archival research conducted at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross. These findings contribute to our understanding of demographic engineering policy implementation and restraints on ethnic violence.
"What is Ethnic Cleansing? A Case for Disaggregated Concepts"
Despite significant scholarly disagreement about its definition, core meaning, and corresponding cases, ethnic cleansing has escaped careful conceptual examination. Analyzing the scholarship on ethnic cleansing over the past thirty years, this article identifies five key areas of conceptual confusion that undermine the integrity and utility of the concept. These include the lack of boundedness between ethnic cleansing and other related concepts; the definitional discrepancies over its core meaning; the tension between ethnic cleansing as a practice versus a policy; the universe of cases that belong together; and disparate sub-type classification criteria. This conceptual confusion undermines effective comparative analysis, and in turn, our understanding of the causes of ethnic cleansing and associated policy recommendations. The solution is to abandon the concept of ethnic cleansing and instead disaggregate it into its component parts—genocide, mass expulsion, coercive assimilation, and massacre—based on the distinct intents of the perpetrator(s). This disaggregation eliminates ambiguity, solves the membership problem, and distinguishes related concepts within the mass atrocity semantic field.
"Nesting Exclusionary Politics Approaches,"with Harris Mylonas(George Washington University)
Exclusionary politics have been studied from various vantage points. To an extent this is an outgrowth of different subfields—migration, conflict, nation-building—focused on different aspects of exclusionary politics. We define exclusionary politics as deliberate policies aiming at either coercively displacing or annihilating individuals or groups, along certain characteristics that are salient in each society. We understand these policies as part of a broader repertoire of policies aiming at either eliminating or managing group-specific identities in society. In this review of the field, we identify three different approaches to the study of exclusionary politics based on the research question of interest and related methodological choices: 1) works unpacking dynamics and variation within cases of exclusionary politics; 2) works studying the presence of a particular type of exclusionary policy in conflict settings; and 3) works focusing on the conditions under which exclusionary policies are likely to emerge, or not. By documenting the different methodological choices made in works studying similar phenomena we highlight how the varied conceptualizations, operationalizations, and scope conditions affect a) which theories can be tested, b) the results we get, and c) the theories we find support for. These differences are not inherently problematic, but they may introduce bias in scholars’ data collection process, findings, and the generalizability of their arguments. In an effort to facilitate dialogue between these research programs, and productively integrate findings, we suggest using the umbrella of “exclusionary politics” to coordinate across sub-fields and nesting exclusionary politics approaches in the years to come.
“'The People Admire and Trust Hitler': Race, Risk and American Religious Groups’ Views of Nazi Germany in 1935,"withMelissa Wilde (UPenn Sociology)
What explains variation in American religious groups’ support for Nazi Germany and Hitler’s authoritarianism before the U.S. entered the Second World War? We employ a novel set of data of more than 1,700 articles from 25 of America’s most prominent religious denominations, and information from the Census of Religious Bodies, to answer this question. Using a comparative-historical approach, we find that two factors were crucial in determining American religious groups’ views of Hitler: whether groups accepted white supremacy and whether they were incumbents or challengers in the American religious field. Our findings underscore the growing theoretical agreement that racial resentment is key to support for authoritarianism, and call attention to religious groups’ complicity in its growth, both active and passive.
Works in Progress
“'Voluntary' Removal: Government Strategies of Indirect Mass Expulsion"
Governments around the world have consistently expelled ethnic groups en masse. Yet some governments have internalized human rights norms against mass expulsion and refugee refoulement and have instead turned to other means of removing ‘unwanted populations.’ This work-in-progress examines systems of control in which governments create unbearable conditions that induce some of the targeted group to leave “voluntarily.” I argue that the use of “voluntary” removal is a means of indirect mass expulsion that should be analyzed alongside more explicit eliminationist policies. The paper analyzes the use of this strategy of indirect mass expulsion over time in post-WWII Japan toward the Zainichi Koreans, post-colonial Tanzania against Asian minorities, and more recently in Lebanon toward Syrian refugees. While it may not achieve the goal of en masse removal as effectively or expeditiously as mass expulsion, the use of discriminatory legislation and ethnically targeted policies to provoke removal is an insidious tool of demographic engineering.