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The Western

April 13 - 15, 2017
Hyatt Regency, Vancouver, BC - Canada

The DEADLINE for submission of paper proposals/program participation forms will be September 18, 2016.

If you are interested in shaping the content of the program by serving as a section chair, please contact:

Stephen Nicholson
2017 WPSA Program Chair
University of California, Merced
Email: snicholson@ucmerced.edu

Theme: The Politics of Identity, Intergroup Bias, and Conflict and Cooperation

The 2017 Annual Meeting marks the 70th anniversary of the Western Political Science Association. To mark this important occasion, our theme for this year’s meeting is identity politics, a topic of great importance to many WPSA members.

Politics involves people defining themselves, and others, into social and political categories. Since political identities are essential to perception, self-identification and labeling others is central to political conflict and cooperation. In politics, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, class, religion, and party, to name a few, define who we and others are. Some identities, such as race and ethnicity, are habitually salient in highly segmented polities whereas other identities, such as party, may ebb and flow depending on context. Multiple social identities, or intersectionality, may figure prominently depending on context and the motivations of the actors involved.

The politics of identity can be hugely consequential. Sometimes identity draws people together while other times it can pull them apart. Perceiving others to share a common identity minimizes perceived differences and viewing others as an outgroup increases perceived differences. Multiple, reinforcing identities can exacerbate perceived similarities or differences whereas cross-cutting identities may attenuate these perceptions. Problems stemming from the politics of identity differences include intergroup bias, prejudice, intergroup conflict, and increased social and political distance. Yet, shared identities can diminish the adverse effects of intergroup differences such as prejudice and exclusion.

Questions of identity can be highly informative to the study of politics. “Us” versus “them” distinctions, for example, can be a powerful lens for understanding ethno-political conflict, collective action, voting behavior, party polarization, international conflict, immigration, and income inequality. We invite scholars of all methodological persuasions and subfield affiliations to submit panel and paper proposals that relate to the broad themes and questions informed by identity politics and related topics.

Note: All participants in the program are required to preregister for the meeting by December 31, 2016. Please remember to have your passport!



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