Handbook of Territorial Politics
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Handbook of Territorial Politics

Edited by Klaus Detterbeck and Eve Hepburn

The study of territorial politics has enjoyed a renaissance in the last thirty years. Scholars have questioned the state-centric assumptions upon which mainstream social science has been built, pointing to the territorial (re)distribution of power across and within states. This Handbook brings together leading scholars to demonstrate how territory has shaped institutional structures, public policies, elections, political parties, and identity across the world. Offering theoretical, comparative and empirical insights, this book provides a comprehensive overview of the impact of territory on modern political, economic and social life.
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Chapter 25: Territorial politics in South Asia: between territorial accommodation and majoritarianism

Wilfried Swenden


The states of South Asia have not adopted uniform strategies in how they manage territorial divisions. This is especially true for the cases of India and Pakistian, despite the fact that they both used the Government of British India Act (1937) as their interim constitutions after Partition. The chapter examines how India has sought to manage territorial cleavages, before comparing this with Pakistan and Sri Lanka. In all of these cases it was difficult to navigate between the accommodation of plurinational difference and the association of the state with a majority group; be it the Hindus in India (or Nepal), the Sinhala Buddhists in Sri Lanka or the Punjabis in Pakistan. Hence, while territorial self-rule is recognized as necessary for the implementation and making of policies in often large and complex polities; conceding such autonomy to accommodate plurinational difference has been more problematic.

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