Deploying Constructivism for the Analysis of Rare Events: How Possible Is the Emergence of “Punjabistan”?

Ian S. Lustick

in Constructivist Theories of Ethnic Politics

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199893157
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980079 | DOI:
Deploying Constructivism for the Analysis of Rare Events: How Possible Is the Emergence of “Punjabistan”?

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The purpose of the present volume is to demonstrate that a rigorous conceptual framework can enable constructivist insights to be deployed for the solution of a variety of theoretical and empirical problems. This chapter offers a use case in which the framework set forth by the editors, if not the exact details of its entire vocabulary, is employed to solve a difficult empirical and policy-relevant problem. The general problem involved is to evaluate a future for Pakistan involving the secession of its Punjabi core-a future whose probability experts have had difficulty assessing. Since secession is itself a rare event, and secession of the center an even rarer event, data relevant to addressing this problem must be generated by a computer simulation model designed and implemented in conformance with available social theories, including constructivist theory, along with information about Pakistani society relevant to the categories of those theories. The thrust of this chapter is to demonstrate that by integrating constructivist approaches to political contestation, via the framework offered in this volume, with specific knowledge of a complex and important case-the future of Punjabi dominated Pakistan—an agent-based modeling approach can be used to analyze the conditions under which secession of the center can take place and to estimate its likelihood.

Keywords: Pakistan; agent-based modeling; secessionism; computer simulation; Punjab

Chapter.  14277 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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