After the Insurgency: Changing Strategies for Countering Political Inequalities in Bangladesh

Monday, July 14, 2014: 3:30 PM
Room: 418
Oral Presentation
Eva GERHARZ , Sociology of Development and Internationalization, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany
To what extent so-called minority populations gain access to decision-making processes in national government structures is one of the crucial questions for understanding the causes and consequences of ethnic conflict. Especially when nation-building processes are determined by the nationalist projects of majority populations, the demand for autonomy has emerged as a strategy of “exit”, replacing “voice”. This paper argues that the strategies for tackling such political inequalities have changed recently, which goes also to the credit of more efficient transnational and global networks. Based on empirical findings from Bangladesh, it argues that “voice” has become a matter of strategic concession, which has not only caused by shifting power-relations and expressions of solidarity within the region and globally, but which is also related to social transformations within the conflict region itself: the rise of a new generation with quite diverse individual and collective aspirations leads to social transformation at various levels. First, better educational assets and new job opportunities lead to an erosion of revolutionary ideals. Second, globalization processes have reinforced diverse mobilities: migration to metropolitan centres and new forms of knowledge giving way to alternative visions of a future society, have become more prevalent than before. These are particularly voiced by activists who are increasingly acquiring a new social status within their immediate social context as well as nationally – a process which is highly dynamic and conflictive. This paper inquires into these dimensions from an empirical perspective and discusses the social transformations in relation to the options for expressing demands within the national framework, as members of the minority population see for themselves. Finally, this leads to an examination of broader visions of society and of the scope for fostering social inclusion and an eradication of political inequality through political participation at different levels of society.