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Final Report Summary - TOFTCIG (Demography, Politics and Conflict: The Case of India)

Despite the fact that we continue to witness a significant political, social, and economic impact of population shifts throughout the world, there remains too little research on this critical subject. One need only consider how demographic factors influenced the decision of 52% of the United Kingdom’s citizens to leave the European Union or a significant minority of Americans’ decision to elect Donald Trump as their president. There was a clear urban-rural split as well as a racial component. Furthermore, China has ended its one-child policy and Europe is dealing with a rising tide of immigrants at the same it is facing an aging native population.
The objectives of the proposal were to investigate why the study of organised violence is currently insufficient to understand such global events of the day, and in particular the following factors: (1) the ‘siloing’ of the study of different types of violence across academic disciplines, and even within disciplines; and (2) a lack of study of longer-term factors including demography and the stickiness of identities, particularly religious and nationalist identities, among the world’s population. This was to be achieved through two studies; the first was to be a never-before attempted mapping of the full spectrum of violence in contemporary global politics, from criminal individuals to collective forms; the second would explore longer-term factors, such as identity and demography, without which it becomes impossible to account for the nature and intensity of motives and demands (e.g. why some conflicts result in non-violent protests while others escalate to war?). Making significant contributions in their own right, the data and accompanying analysis would then be brought together to inform a third and final contribution of the project: the establishment of a field of study—Political Demography—to better explain and anticipate political violence and security shifts within and across states. The overall objective was to ensure that the onset of significant political violence is not missed; and that the global policy community has effective strategies for managing and containing emerging threats.
During the project these research objectives were met through the drafting and compiling of an edited volume (which is currently under review at Routledge Press) and several academic articles in peer-reviewed journals that explore these dynamics. Moreover, I have completed the updating of a civil war data set that will be made available to scholars once I have published from it. The article will be submitted for review shortly
This research has advanced the state of the art in the field, which was an integral aim of the project. First, as a senior scholar who is actively working on the subject of political demography, I have demonstrated through publications and conference presentations both the relevance and importance of the issue to the broader field and, importantly, to junior scholars as well. How underdeveloped and understudied political demography remains cannot be stressed enough and therefore, it is up to scholars like me to take the risks in working in these types of fields to help to advance them. Second, and more directly, I continue to work with and promote the careers of junior scholars. I have now produced two edited volumes on the topic, served on PhD examination committees and recommended junior scholars for positions at Universities and promoted them for membership in at the Council on Foreign Relations.
My research on the political dimensions of demographic dynamics in a number of states during critical historical periods provides a better understanding; one that is based in historical context and backed up with facts from the period about how and why population changes influenced the political environment.
To note that as I was offered and accepted a prestigious fellowship at Princeton University for the 2015-16 academic year, I was on sabbatical for this period and this project was suspended during that time. In addition, this award has terminated early as I have taken up the post of Professor of International Politics at Tufts University.

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