Research Interests

As a political scientist, I have studied how cultural differences impact on political life. I have studied several attempts of language communities to ensure official status of their languages - the Somalis in challenging the colonial administrative system in Italian and English, the Catalans in challenging Castilian linguistic hegemony in Spain, and the Russian-speakers in challenging the nationalizing policies in post-Soviet Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan - specifying the conditions when groups succeed. I have studied as well the conditions under which religious difference in a society becomes a matter of political competition, having done fieldwork in southwestern Nigeria where Muslims and Christians have been surprisingly tolerant of one another. These studies led me to statistical examinations of the (what turned out to be non-significant) role of ethnic, linguistic and religious difference for explaining civil war onsets, and the (significant) relationship of religious difference for suicide terrorism.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 53: Social and Political Sciences