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Comparing Consolidated Democracies: State Policies Toward Muslim Minorities in the West

Serdar Kaya
Simon Fraser University
Serdar Kaya
Simon Fraser University
Open Panel

Abstract

This paper develops a macrotheoretical framework for explaining the variance in minority behavior in consolidated democracies in the West. Drawing on recent insights in the new institutionalist literature, the paper hypothesizes that minority behavior is a function of the level of inclusiveness of state policies. It also inquires into the geneses of state policies, and argues that the cognitive and normative frames embedded in the culture of a state institution are primarily responsible for their inclusiveness level. The paper focuses primarily on the Canadian and French cases, while frequently drawing from others; and analyzes the experiences of these Western countries with their Muslim minorities. The comparative analysis in the first section is geared toward differentiating between horizontal and vertical "citizenship frames" on the basis of whether there exists a cognitive hierarchy between the host nation and the minorities in a country. The second section examines the impact of different state policies on minority behavior. Findings indicate that institutions with vertical citizenship frames are more likely to produce exclusionary and assimilative state policies, while those with horizontal ones lead to inclusionary and integrative ones. Also, exclusionary and assimilative state policies help increase hostile and unintegrative minority behavior, whereas inclusionary and integrative measures produce complacent and integrative minorities.