The Integrative Revolution: 
Primordial Sentiments and Civil Politics in the New States


Clifford Geertz





In 1948, scarcely a year after Independence, Pandit Nehru found himself in the always unsettling position for an opposition politician finally come to power of being obliged to place in practice a policy he had long espoused but never liked. With Patel and Sitaramayya, he was appointed to the Linguistic Provinces Committee.


The Congress had supported the principle of linguistic determination of state boundaries within India almost since its founding, arguing, ironically enough, that British maintenance of "arbitrary"--that is, nonlinguistic--administrative units was part of a divide-and-rule policy. In 1920 it had actually reorganized its own regional chapters along linguistic lines so as better to secure its popular appeal. But with the echoes of partition perhaps still ringing in his ears, Nehru was deeply shaken by his experience on the Linguistic Committee, and with the candor that made him virtually unique among the leaders of the new states, he admitted it:

[This inquiry] has been in some ways an eye-opener for us. The work of 60 years of the Indian National Congress was standing before us, face to face with centuries-old India of narrow loyalties, petty jealousies and ignorant prejudices engaged in mortal conflict and we were simply horrified to see how thin was the ice upon which we were skating. Some of the ablest men in the country came before us and confidently and emphatically stated that language in this country stood for and represented culture, race, history, individuality, and finally a sub-nation.1

But, horrified or not, Nehru, Patel, and Sitaramayya in the end were forced to endorse the claims of Andhra as a Telugu-speaking state, and the thin ice was broken. Within the decade India had been almost entirely reorganized along linguistic lines, and a wide range of observers, both domestic and foreign, were wondering aloud whether the country's political unity would survive this wholesale concession to "narrow loyalties, petty jealousies, and ignorant prejudices."2


The problem that opened Nehru's eyes in such wide astonishment is phrased in linguistic terms, but the same problem phrased in a wide variety of terms is, of course, literally pandemic to the new states, as the countless references to "dual" or "plural" or "multiple" societies, to "mosaic" or "composite" social structures, to "states" that are not "nations" and "nations" that are not "states," to "tribalism," "parochialism," and "communalism," as well as to pan-national movements of various sorts demonstrate.


When we speak of communalism in India, we refer to religious contrasts; when we speak of it in Malaya, we are mainly concerned with racial ones, and in the Congo with tribal ones. But the grouping under a common rubric is not simply adventitious; the phenomena referred to are in some way similar. Regionalism has been the main theme in Indonesian disaffection, differences in custom in Moroccan. The Tamil minority in Ceylon is set off from the Sinhalese majority by religion, language, race, region, and social custom; the Shiite minority in Iraq is set off from the dominant Sunnis virtually by an intra-Islamic sectarian difference alone. Pan-national movements in Africa are largely based on race, in Kurdistan, on tribalism; in Laos, the Shan States, and Thailand, on language. Yet all these phenomena, too, are in some sense of a piece. They form a definable field of investigation.


nority in Ceylon is set off from the Sinhalese majority by religion, language, race, region, and social custom; the Shiite minority in Iraq is set off from the dominant Sunnis virtually by an intra-Islamic sectarian difference alone. Pan-national movements in Africa are largely based on race, in Kurdistan, on tribalism; in Laos, the Shan States, and Thailand, on language. Yet all these phenomena, too, are in some sense of a piece. They form a definable field of investigation.


That is, they would, could we but define it. The stultifying aura of conceptual ambiguity that surrounds the terms "nation," "nationality," and "nationalism" has been extensively discussed and thoroughly deplored in almost every work that has been concerned to attack the relationship between communal and political loyalties.3 But as the preferred remedy has been to adopt a theoretical eclecticism that, in its attempt to do justice to the multifaceted nature of the problems involved, tends to confuse political, psychological, cultural, and demographic factors, actual reduction of that ambiguity has not proceeded very far. Thus a recent symposium on the Middle East refers indiscriminately to the efforts of the Arab League to destroy existing nation-state boundaries, those of the Sudan Government to unify a somewhat arbitrary and accidentally demarcated sovereign state, and those of the Azerin Turks to separate from Iran and join the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan as "nationalism."4 Operating with a similarly omnibus concept, Coleman sees Nigerians (or some of them) as displaying five different sorts of nationalism at once--"African," "Nigerian," "Regional," "Group," and "Cultural."5 And Emerson defines a nation as a "terminal community --the largest community that, when the chips are down, effectively commands men's loyalty, overriding the claims both of the lesser communities within it and those that cut across it or potentially enfold it within a still greater society . . . ," which simply shifts the ambiguity from the term "nation" to the term "loyalty," as well as seeming to leave such questions as whether India, Indonesia, or Nigeria are nations to the determination of some future, unspecified historical crisis.6


Some of this conceptual haze is burned away, however, if it is realized that the peoples of the new states are simultaneously animated by two powerful, thoroughly interdependent, yet distinct and often actually opposed motives--the desire to be recognized as responsible agents whose wishes, acts, hopes, and opinions "matter," and the desire to build an efficient, dynamic modern state. The one aim is to be noticed: it is a search for an identity, and a demand that the identity be publicly acknowledged as having import, a social assertion of the self as "being somebody in the world."7 The other aim is practical: it is a demand for progress, for a rising standard of living, more effective political order, greater social justice, and beyond that of "playing a part in the larger arena of world politics," of "exercising influence among the nations."8 The two motives are, again, most intimately related, because citizenship in a truly modern state has more and more become the most broadly negotiable claim to personal significance, and because what Mazzini called the demand to exist and have a name is to such a great extent fired by a humiliating sense of exclusion from the important centers of power in world society. But they are not the same thing. They stem from different sources and respond to different pressures. It is, in fact, the tension between them that is one of the central driving forces in the national evolution of the new states; as it is, at the same time, one of the greatest obstacles to such evolution.


This tension takes a peculiarly severe and chronic form in the new states, both because of the great extent to which their peoples' sense of self remains bound up in the gross actualities of blood, race, language, locality, religion, or tradition, and because of the steadily accelerating importance in this century of the sovereign state as a positive instrument for the realization of collective aims. Multiethnic, usually multilinguistic, and sometimes multiracial, the populations of the new states tend to regard the immediate, concrete, and to them inherently meaningful sorting implicit in such "natural" diversity as the substantial content of their individuality. To subordinate these specific and familiar identifications in favor of a generalized commitment to an overarching and somewhat alien civil order is to risk a loss of definition as an autonomous person, either through absorption into a culturally undifferentiated mass or, what is even worse, through a domination by some other 


rival ethnic, racial, or linguistic community that is able to imbue that order with the temper of its own personality. But at the same time, all but the most unenlightened members of such societies are at least dimly aware--and their leaders are acutely aware--that the possibilities for social reform and material progress they so intensely desire and are so determined to achieve rest with increasing weight on their being enclosed in a reasonably large, independent, powerful, well-ordered polity. The insistence on recognition as someone who is visible and matters and the will to be modern and dynamic thus tend to diverge, and much of the political process in the new states pivots around an heroic effort to keep them aligned.





A more exact phrasing of the nature of the problem involved here is that, considered as societies, the new states are abnormally susceptible to serious disaffection based on primordial attachments. 9 By a primordial attachment is meant one that stems from the "givens"--or, more precisely, as culture is inevitably involved in such matters, the assumed "givens"--of social existence: immediate contiguity and kin connection mainly, but beyond them the givenness that stems from being born into a particular religious community, speaking a particular language, or even a dialect of a language, and following particular social practices. These congruities of blood, speech, custom, and so on, are seen to have an ineffable, and at times overpowering, coerciveness in and of themselves. One is bound to one's kinsman, one's neighbor, one's fellow believer, ipso facto; as the result not merely of personal affection, practical necessity, common interest, or incurred obligation, but at least in great part by virtue of some unaccountable absolute import attributed to the very tie itself. The general strength of such primordial bonds, and the types of them that are important, differ from person to person, from society to society, and from time to time. But for virtually every person, in every society, at almost all times, some attachments seem to flow more from a sense of natural--some would say spiritual--affinity than from social interaction.


In modern societies the lifting of such ties to the level of political supremacy--though it has, of course, occurred and continues to occur --has more and more come to be deplored as pathological. To an increasing degree national unity is maintained not by calls to blood and land but by a vague, intermittent, and routine allegiance to a civil state, supplemented to a greater or lesser extent by governmental use of police powers and ideological exhortation. The havoc wreaked, both upon themselves and others, by those modern (or semimodern) states that did passionately seek to become primordial rather than civil political communities, as well as a growing realization of the practical advantages of a wider-ranging pattern of social integration than primordial ties can usually produce or even permit, have only strengthened the reluctance publicly to advance race, language, religion, and the like as bases for the definition of a terminal community. But in modernizing societies, where the tradition of civil politics is weak and where the technical requirements for an effective welfare government are poorly understood, primordial attachments tend, as Nehru discovered, to be repeatedly, in some cases almost continually, proposed and widely acclaimed as preferred bases for the demarcation of autonomous political units. And the thesis that truly legitimate authority flows only from the inherent coerciveness such attachments are conceived somehow to possess is frankly, energetically, and artlessly defended:

The reasons why a unilingual state is stable and a multilingual state unstable are quite obvious. A state is built on fellow feeling. What is this fellow feeling? To state briefly it is a feeling of a corporate sentiment of oneness which makes those who are charged with it feel that they are kith and kin. This feeling is a double-edged feeling. It is at once a feeling of "consciousness of kind" which, on the one hand, binds together those who have it so strongly that it overrides all differences arising out of economic conflicts or social gradations and, on the other, severs them from those who are not of their kind. It is a longing not to belong to any other group. The existence of this fellow feeling is the foundation of a stable and democratic state.10

It is this crystallization of a direct conflict between primordial and civil sentiments--this "longing not to belong to any other group"--that gives to the problem variously called tribalism, parochialism, communalism, and so on, a more ominous and deeply threatening quality than most of the other, also very serious and intractable, problems the new states face. Here we have not just competing loyalties, but competing loyalties of the same general order, on the same level of integration. There are many other competing loyalties in the new states, as in any state--ties to class, party, business, union, profession, or whatever. But groups formed of such ties are virtually never considered as possible self-standing, maximal social units, as candidates for nationhood. Conflicts among them occur only within a more or less fully accepted terminal community whose political integrity they do not, as a rule, put into question. No matter how severe they become, they do not threaten, at least not intentionally, its existence as such. They threaten governments, or even forms of government, but they rarely at best--and then usually when they have become infused with primordial sentiments-threaten to undermine the nation itself, because they do not involve alternative definitions of what the nation is, of what its scope of reference is. Economic or class or intellectual disaffection threatens revolution, but disaffection based on race, language, or culture threatens partition, irredentism, or merger, a redrawing of the very limits of the state, a new definition of its domain. Civil discontent finds its natural outlet in the seizing, legally or illegally, of the state apparatus. Primordial discontent strives more deeply and is satisfied less easily. If severe enough, it wants not just Sukarno's or Nehru's or Moulay Hasan's head, it wants Indonesia's or India's or Morocco's.


The actual foci around which such discontent tends to crystallize are various, and in any given case several are usually involved concurrently, sometimes at cross-purposes with one another. On a merely descriptive level they are, nevertheless, fairly readily enumerable:11


Assumed Blood Ties. Here the defining element is quasi-kinship. "Quasi" because kin units formed around known biological relationship (extended families, lineages, and so on) are too small for even the most tradition-bound to regard them as having more than limited significance, and the referent is, consequently, to a notion of untraceable but yet sociologically real kinship, as in a tribe. Nigeria, the Congo, and the greater part of sub-Saharan Africa are characterized by a prominence of this sort of primordialism. But so also are the nomads or seminomads of the Middle East--the Kurds, Baluchis, Pathans, and so on; the Nagas, Mundas, Santals, and so on, of India; and most of the so-called hill tribes of Southeast Asia.

Race. Clearly, race is similar to assumed kinship, in that it involves an ethnobiological theory. But it is not quite the same thing. Here, the reference is to phenotypical physical features--especially, of course, skin color, but also facial form, stature, hair type, and so on--rather than any very definite sense of common descent as such. The communal problems of Malaya in large part focus around these sorts of differences, between, in fact, two phenotypically very similar Mongoloid peoples. "Negritude" clearly draws much, though perhaps not all, of its force from the notion of race as a significant primordial property, and the pariah commercial minorities--like the Chinese in Southeast Asia or the Indians and Lebanese in Africa--are similarly demarcated.


Language. Linguism--for some yet to be adequately explained reasons--is particularly intense in the Indian subcontinent, has been something of an issue in Malaya, and has appeared sporadically elsewhere. But as language has sometimes been held to be the altogether essential axis of nationality conflicts, it is worth stressing that linguism is not an inevitable outcome of linguistic diversity. As indeed kinship, race, and the other factors to be listed below, language differences need not in themselves be particularly divisive; they have not been so for the most part in Tanganyika, Iran (not a new state in the strict sense, perhaps), the Philippines, or even in Indonesia, where despite a great confusion of tongues linguistic conflict seems to be the one social problem the country has somehow omitted to demonstrate in extreme form. Furthermore, primordial conflicts can occur where no marked linguistic differences are involved, as in Lebanon, among the various sorts of Batak-speakers in Indonesia, and to a lesser extent perhaps between the Fulani and Hausa in northern Nigeria.


Region. Although a factor nearly everywhere, regionalism naturally tends to be especially troublesome in geographically heterogeneous areas. Tonkin, Annam, and Cochin in prepartitioned Vietnam, the two baskets on the long pole, were opposed almost purely in regional terms, sharing language, culture, race, and so on. The tension between East and West Pakistan [now separated into Bangladesh and Pakistan] involved differences in language and culture too, but the geographic element was of great prominence owing to the territorial discontinuity of the country. Java versus the Outer Islands in archipelagic Indonesia, and the Northeast versus the West Coast in mountain-bisected Malaya, are other examples in which regionalism has been an important primordial factor in national politics.


Religion. Indian partition is the outstanding case of the operation of this type of attachment. But Lebanon, the Christian Karens and the Moslem Arakenese in Burma, the Toba Bataks, Ambonese, and Minahassans in Indonesia, the Moros in the Philippines, the Sikhs in Indian Punjab and the Ahmadiyas in Pakistan, and the Hausa in Nigeria are other well-known examples of its force in undermining or inhibiting a comprehensive civil sense.


Custom. Again, differences in custom form a basis for a certain amount of national disunity almost everywhere, and are of especial prominence in those cases in which an intellectually and/or artistically rather sophisticated group sees itself as the bearer of a "civilization" amid a largely barbarian population that would be well advised to model itself upon it: the Bengalis in India, the Javanese in Indonesia, the Arabs (as against the Berbers) in Morocco, the Amhara in-another "old" new state--Ethiopia, and so forth. But it is important also to point out that even vitally opposed groups may differ rather little in their general style of life: Hindu Gujeratis and Maharashtrians in India; Baganda and Bunyoro in Uganda; Javanese and Sundanese in Indonesia. And the reverse holds also: the Balinese have far and away the most divergent pattern of customs in Indonesia, but they have been, so far, notable for the absence of any sense of primordial discontent at all.


But beyond such a mere listing of the sorts of primordial ties that tend, in one place or another, to become politicized, it is necessary to go further and attempt also to classify, or somehow order, the concrete patterns of primordial diversity and conflict that in fact exist in the various new states and of which these ties are the components.


This seemingly routine exercise in political ethnography is a rather more delicate task than at first appears, however, not only because those communalistic challenges to the integrity of the civil state that are at the moment being openly pressed must be discerned, but also because those that are latent, lying concealed in the enduring structure of primordial identifications, ready to take explicit political form given only the proper sorts of social conditions, must be revealed. The fact that the Indian minority in Malaya has not so far posed a very serious threat to the viability of the state does not mean that it might not do so if something odd happened to the world price of rubber or if Mrs. Gandhi's hands-off policy toward overseas Indians should be replaced by one more like that of Mao toward the overseas Chinese. The Moro problem, which provided postgraduate field training for select members of several generations of West Pointers, now merely simmers in the Philippines, but it may not do so forever. The Free Thai movement seems dead at the moment, but it could revive with a change in Thailand's foreign policy or even with Pathet success in Laos. Iraq's Kurds, several times ostensibly mollified, continue to show signs of restlessness. And so on. Primordially based political solidarities have a deeply abiding strength in most of the new states, but it is not always an active and immediately apparent one.


Initially, a useful analytic distinction can be made with respect to this matter of classification between those allegiances that operate more or less wholly within the confines of a single civil state and those that do not but which run across them. Or, put somewhat differently, one can contrast those cases in which the racial, tribal, linguistic, and so on, reference group that is charged with a "corporate sentiment of oneness" is smaller than the existing civil state, and those where it is larger, or at least transcends its borders in some fashion. In the first instance primordial discontent arises from a sense of political suffocation; in the second, from a sense of political dismemberment. Karen separatism in Burma, Ashanti in Ghana, or Baganda in Uganda are examples of the former; pan-Arabism, greater Somaliism, pan-Africanism, of the latter.


Many of the new states are plagued by both these sorts of problems at once. In the first place, most interstate primordial movements do not involve entire separate countries, as the pan-movements at least tend to do, but rather minorities scattered through several, for example: the Kurdistan movement to unite Kurds in Iran, Syria, Turkey, and the Soviet Union, perhaps the most unlikely-to-succeed political movement of all time; the Abako movement of the late Mr. Kasuvubu and his Republic of The Congo and Angola allies; the Dravidistan movement, insofar as it comes to see itself as extending across Palk Strait from South India into Ceylon; the movement, or perhaps it is so far only a formless sentiment, for a unified and sovereign Bengal--greater Bangladesh--independent of both India and Pakistan. And there are even a few classical irredentist-type problems scattered among the new states--the Malays in South Thailand, the Pushtu speakers along the Afghan border of Pakistan, and so on; and when political boundaries become more firmly established in sub-Saharan Africa there will be a great many more of them. In all these cases, there is--or there may develop--both a desire to escape the established civil state and a longing to reunite a politically divided primordial community.12


In the second place, interstate and intrastate primordial attachments often cross-cut one another in a complex network of balanced--if most precariously balanced--commitments. In Malaya one of the more effective binding forces that has, so far at least, held Chinese and Malays together in a single state despite the tremendous centrifugal tendencies the racial and cultural difference generates is the fear on the part of either group that should the Federation dissolve they may become a clearly submerged minority in some other political framework: the Malays through the turn of the Chinese to Singapore or China; the Chinese through the turn of the Malays to Indonesia. In a similar way, in Ceylon both the Tamils and Sinhalese manage to see themselves as minorities: the Tamils because 70 percent of the Ceylonese are Sinhalese; the Sinhalese because the eight million of them in Ceylon are all there are, while in addition to the two million Tamils on the island there are 28 million more in South India. In Morocco, there has tended to be both a within-state split between Arab and Berber, and an extrastate split between partisans of Nasser's pan-Arabism and of Bourguiba's regroupement maghrebin. And Nasser himself, until his death perhaps the new states' most accomplished virtuoso in the primordial arts, was absorbed in juggling pan-Arabist, pan-Islamic, and pan-African sentiments in the interests of Egyptian hegemony among the Bandung powers.


But whether the relevant attachments outrun state boundaries or not, most of the major primordial battles are for the moment being fought within them. A certain amount of international conflict focusing around, or at least animated by, primordial issues does exist among the new states. The hostility between Israel and her Arab neighbors and the quarrel of India and Pakistan over Kashmir are the most prominent cases, of course. But the embroilment of two older states, Greece and Turkey, over Cyprus is another case; the tension between Somalia and Ethiopia concerning an essentially irredentist problem a third; the Indonesian difficulties vis-ý-vis Peking with respect to the issue of "dual citizenship" for Chinese residents of Indonesia a fourth, and so on. As the new states solidify politically, such disputes may well grow both more frequent and more intense. But as of now they have not yet become-with the exception of the Israeli-Arab conflict and, sporadically, the Kashmir problem--paramount political issues, and the immediate significance of primordial differences is almost everywhere primarily domestic, though this is not to say that they are therefore without important international implications.13 The construction of a typology of the concrete patterns of primordial diversity that are found within the various new states is severely hampered, however, by the simple lack of detailed and reliable information in the overwhelming majority of the cases. But, again, a gross and merely empirical classification can nonetheless fairly easily be devised, and should prove useful as a rough-and-ready guide to a wilderness otherwise uncharted, and facilitate a more incisive analysis of the role of primordial sentiments in civil politics than is possible in terms of "pluralism," "tribalism," "parochialism," "communalism," and the other cliches of common-sense sociology:


1. One common and, relatively speaking, simple pattern seems to be that of a single dominant and usually, though not inevitably, larger group set over against a single strong and chronically troublesome minority: Cyprus with Greeks and Turks; Ceylon with Sinhalese and Tamils; Jordan with Jordanians and Palestinians, though in this last case the dominant group is the smaller.


2. Similar in some ways to this first pattern, but more complex, is that of one central--often enough in a geographic sense as well as a political--group and several mediumly large and at least somewhat opposed peripheral groups: the Javanese versus the Outer Island peoples in Indonesia; the Irrawaddy Valley Burmese versus the various hill tribes and upland valley peoples in Burma; the central plateau Persians and the various tribes in Iran (though, again, this is not strictly a new state); the Atlantic Plain Arabs encircled by the diverse Berber tribes of the Rif, the Atlas, and the Sous; the Mekong Lao and the tribal peoples in Laos; and so on. How far such a pattern is to be found in black Africa is unclear. In the one case where it might have crystallized, with the Ashanti in Ghana, the power of the central group seems to have, at least temporarily, been broken. And whether in a new state the Baganda will be able to maintain [or, perhaps now, regain] their dominant position vis-ý-vis the other Uganda groups through their greater education, political sophistication, and so on, and despite their comprising but about a fifth of the population, remains to be seen.


3. Another pattern that forms an internally even less homogeneous type is a bipolar one of two nearly evenly balanced major groups: Malays and Chinese in Malaya (though there is also a smaller Indian group); or Christians and Moslems in Lebanon (though here both groups are actually aggregates of smaller sects); or Sunnis and Shiis in Iraq. The two regions of Pakistan, although the Western region is far from wholly homogeneous within itself, gave that state a sharply bipolar primordial pattern, which has now torn it in half. Vietnam before partition tended to take this form--Tonkin versus Cochin--this problem now having been "solved" with the assistance of the great powers, though reunification of the country might revive it. Even Libya, which has scarcely enough people to develop decent group conflicts, has something of this pattern with the Cyrenecia-Tripolitania contrast.


4. Next, there is the pattern of a relatively even gradation of groups in importance, from several large ones through several medium-sized ones to a number of small ones, with no clearly dominant ones and no sharp cut-off points. India, the Philippines, Nigeria, and Kenya are perhaps examples.


5. Finally, there is simple ethnic fragmentation, as Wallerstein has called it, with multiple small groups, into which somewhat residual category it is necessary to toss much of Africa, at least until more is known about it.14 One proposal, issuing from the nothing-if-not-experimental Leopoldville Government, suggesting a grouping of the Congo Republic's estimated two hundred and fifty or so separate tribal-linguistic groups into eighty autonomous tribal regions, which would then be organized into twelve federated states, gives something of an indication of the extent to which such fragmentation can go, and the complexity of primordial allegiances it may involve.


The world of personal identity collectively ratified and publicly expressed is thus an ordered world. The patterns of primordial identification and cleavage within the existing new states are not fluid, shapeless, and infinitely various, but are definitely demarcated and vary in systematic ways. And as they vary, the nature of the individual's problem of social self-assertion varies with them, as it does also according to his position within any one type of pattern. The task of securing recognition as someone who is somebody to whom attention must be paid appears in a different form and light to a Sinhalese in Ceylon than it does to a Javanese in Indonesia or a Malay in Malaya, because to be a member of a major group set over against one minor one is a quite different matter from being a member of such a group over against a plurality of minor ones or another major one. But it appears also in a different form and light to a Turk in Cyprus than to a Greek, to a Karen in Burma than to a Burmese, to a Tiv in Nigeria than to a Hausa, because membership in a minor group places one in a different position from that in which membership in a major group places one, even within a single system.15 The so-called pariah communities of "foreign" traders that are found in so many of the new states--the Lebanese in West Africa, the Indians in East Africa, the Chinese in Southeast Asia and, in a somewhat different way, the Marwaris in South India--live in an altogether different social universe, so far as the problem of the maintenance of a recognized identity is concerned, than do the settled agricultural groups, no matter how small and insignificant, in the same societies. The network of primordial alliance and opposition is a dense, intricate, but yet precisely articulated one, the product, in most cases, of centuries of gradual crystallization. The unfamiliar civil state, born yesterday from the meager remains of an exhausted colonial regime, is superimposed upon this fine-spun and lovingly conserved texture of pride and suspicion, and must somehow contrive to weave it into the fabric of modern politics.




The reduction of primordial sentiments to civil order is rendered more difficult, however, by the fact that political modernization tends initially not to quiet such sentiments but to quicken them. The transfer of sovereignty from a colonial regime to an independent one is more than a mere shift of power from foreign hands to native ones; it is a transformation of the whole pattern of political life, a metamorphosis of subjects into citizens. Colonial governments, like the aristocratic governments of premodern Europe in whose image they were fashioned, are aloof and unresponsive; they stand outside the societies they rule, and act upon them arbitrarily, unevenly, and unsystematically. But the governments of the new states, though oligarchic, are popular and attentive; they are located in the midst of the societies they rule, and as they develop act upon them in progressively more continuous, comprehensive, and purposeful manner. For the Ashanti cocoa farmer, the Gujerati shopkeeper, or the Malayan Chinese tin miner, his country's attainment of political independence is also his own attainment, willy-nilly, of modern political status, no matter how culturally traditional he may remain nor how ineffectively and anachronistically the new state may in practice function. He now becomes an integral part of an autonomous and differentiated polity that begins to touch his life at every point except the most strictly private. "The same people which has hitherto been kept as far as possible from government affairs must now be drawn into them," the Indonesian nationalist Sjahrir wrote on the eve of World War II, defining exactly the character of the "revolution" that was in fact to follow in the Indies over the next decade--"That people must be made politically conscious. Its political interest must be stimulated and maintained."16


This thrusting of a modern political consciousness upon the mass of a still largely unmodernized population does indeed tend to lead to the stimulation and maintenance of a very intense popular interest in the affairs of government. But, as a primordially based "corporate feeling of oneness," remains for many the fons et origo of legitimate authority-the meaning of the term "self" in "self-rule" --much of this interest takes the form of an obsessive concern with the relation of one's tribe, region, sect, or whatever to a center of power that, while growing rapidly more active, is not easily either insulated from the web of primordial attachments, as was the remote colonial regime, or assimilated to them as are the workaday authority systems of the "little community." Thus, it is the very process of the formation of a sovereign civil state that, among other things, stimulates sentiments of parochialism, communalism, racialism, and so on, because it introduced into society a valuable new prize over which to fight and a frightening new force with which to contend.17 The doctrines of the nationalist propagandists to the contrary notwithstanding, Indonesian regionalism, Malayan racialism, Indian linguism, or Nigerian tribalism are, in their political dimensions, not so much the heritage of colonial divide-and-rule policies as they are products of the replacement of a colonial regime by an independent, domestically anchored, purposeful unitary state. Though they rest on historically developed distinctions, some of which colonial rule helped to accentuate (and others of which it helped to moderate), they are part and parcel of the very process of the creation of a new polity and a new citizenship.


For a telling example in this connection one may look to Ceylon, which, having made one of the quietest of entries into the family of new states is now [ 1962] the scene of one of its noisiest communal uproars. Ceylonese independence was won largely without struggle; in fact, without even very much effort. There was no embittered nationalist mass movement, as in most of the other new states, no loudly passionate hero-leader, no diehard colonial opposition, no violence, no arrests--no revolution really, for the 1947 transfer of sovereignty consisted of the replacement of conservative, moderate, aloof British civil servants by conservative, moderate, aloof British-educated Ceylonese notables who, to more nativistic eyes at least, "resembled the former colonial rulers in everything but the color of their skin."18 The revolution was to come later, nearly a decade after formal independence and the British governor's valedictory expression of "profound satisfaction that Ceylon has reached its goal of freedom without strife or bloodshed along the path of peaceful negotiation"19 proved to be somewhat premature: in 1956 wild Tamil-Sinhalese riots claimed more than a hundred lives, in 1958, perhaps as many as two thousand.


The country, 70 percent Sinhalese, 23 percent Tamil, has been marked by a certain amount of group tension for centuries.20 But such tension has taken the distinctively modern form of an implacable, comprehensive, and ideologically instigated mass hatred mainly since the late S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike was swept into the premiership on a sudden wave of Sinhalese cultural, religious, and linguistic revivalism in 1956. Himself Oxford-educated, vaguely Marxist, and essentially secularist in civil matters, Bandaranaike undermined the authority of the English-speaking (and biethnic Colombo) patriciate by appealing openly, and one suspects somewhat cynically, to the primordial sentiments of the Sinhalese, promising a "Sinhala-only" linguistic policy, a place of pride for Buddhism and the Buddhist clergy, and a radical reversal of the supposed policy of "pampering" the Tamils, as well as rejecting Western dress for the traditional "cloth and banian" of the Sinhalese countryman.21 And if, as one of his more uncritical apologists claims, his "supreme ambition" was not "to set up an outmoded, parochial, racialist government," but to "stabilize democracy and convert his country into a modern welfare state based on Nehru-style socialism,"22 he soon found himself the helpless victim of a rising tide of primordial fervor, and his death, after thirty hectic and frustrating months in power, at the hands of an obscurely motivated Buddhist monk, was merely that much more ironic.


The first definite move toward a resolute, popularly based, social reform government led, therefore, not to heightened national unity, but to the reverse--increased linguistic, racial, regional, and religious parochialism, a strange dialectic whose actual workings have been well-described by Wriggins.23 The institution of universal suffrage made the temptation to court the masses by appealing to traditional loyalties virtually irresistible, and led Bandaranaike and his followers to gamble, unsuccessfully as it turned out, on being able to tune primordial sentiments up before elections and down after them. The modernizing efforts of his government in the fields of health, education, administration, and so on, threatened the status of consequential rural personages--monks, ayurvedic doctors, village schoolteachers, local officials--who were thereby rendered that much more nativistic and insistent upon communal tokens of reassurance in exchange for their political support. The search for a common cultural tradition to serve as the content of the country's identity as a nation now that it had become, somehow, a state, led only to the revivification of ancient, and better forgotten, Tamil-Sinhalese treacheries, atrocities, insults, and wars. The eclipse of the Western-educated urban elite, within which class loyalties and old-school ties tended to override primordial differences, removed one of the few important points of amicable contact between the two communities. The first stirrings of fundamental economic change aroused fears that the position of the industrious, frugal, aggressive Tamils would be strengthened at the expense of the less methodical Sinhalese. The intensified competition for government jobs, the increasing importance of the vernacular press, and even government-instituted land-reclamation programs--because they threatened to alter population distribution and so communal representation in the parliament--all acted in a similarly provocative manner. Ceylon's aggravated primordial problem is not a mere legacy, an inherited impediment to her political, social, and economic modernization; it is a direct and immediate reflex of her first serious--if still rather ineffective--attempt to achieve such modernization.


And this dialectic, variously expressed, is a generic characteristic of new-state politics. In Indonesia, the establishment of an indigenous unitary state made the fact that the thinly populated but mineral-rich Outer Islands produced the bulk of the country's foreign-exchange earnings, while densely populated, resource-poor Java consumed the bulk of its income, painfully apparent in a way it could never become in the colonial era, and a pattern of regional jealousy developed and hardened to the point of armed revolt.24 In Ghana, hurt Ashanti pride burst into open separatism when, in order to accumulate development funds, Nkrumah's new national government fixed the cocoa price lower than what Ashanti cocoa growers wished it to be.25 In Morocco, Riffian Berbers, offended when their substantial military contribution to the struggle for independence was not followed by greater governmental assistance in the form of schools, jobs, improved communications facilities, and so on, revived a classic pattern of tribal insolence--refusal to pay taxes, boycott of marketplaces, retreat to a predatory mountain life-in order to gain Rabat's regard.26 In Jordan, Abdullah's desperate attempt to strengthen his newly sovereign civil state through the annexation of Cis-Jordan, negotiation with Israel, and modernization of the army provoked his assassination by an ethnically humiliated pan-Arab Palestinian.27 Even in those new states where such discontent has not progressed to the point of open dissidence, there has almost universally arisen around the developing struggle for governmental power as such a broad penumbra of primordial strife. Alongside of, and interacting with, the usual politics of party and parliament, cabinet and bureaucracy, or monarch and army, there exists, nearly everywhere a sort of parapolitics of clashing public identities and quickening ethnocratic aspirations.


What is more, this parapolitical warfare seems to have its own characteristic battlegrounds; there are certain specific institutional contexts outside the customary arenas of political combat into which it has a strong inclination to settle. Though primordial issues do, of course, turn up from time to time in parliamentary debates, cabinet deliberations, judicial decisions, and, more often, in electoral campaigns, they show a persistent tendency to emerge in purer, more explicit, and more virulent form in some places where other sorts of social issues do not ordinarily, or at least so often or so acutely, appear.


One of the most obvious of these is the school system. Linguistic conflicts, in particular, tend to emerge in the form of school crises-witness the fierce dispute between Malay and Chinese teachers' unions over the degree to which Malay should replace Chinese in Chinese schools in Malaya, the three-way guerrilla war between partisans of English, Hindi, and various local vernaculars as instruction media in India, or the bloody riots staged by Bengali-speaking university students to block the imposition of Urdu by West on East Pakistan. But religious issues, too, tend to penetrate educational contexts quite readily. In Moslem countries there is the enduring question of the reform of traditional Koranic schools toward Western forms; in the Philippines there is the clash between the American-introduced tradition of the secular public school and the intensified clerical effort to increase the teaching of religion in such schools; and in Madras there are the Dravidian separatists announcing sanctimoniously that "education must be free from political, religious or communal bias," by which they in fact mean that it "must not stress Hindu writings such as the epic Ramayana."28 Even largely regional struggles tend to engulf the school system: in Indonesia the rise of provincial discontent was accompanied by a competitive multiplication of local institutions of higher learning to the point where, despite the extreme shortage of qualified instructors, there is now a faculty in nearly every major region of the country, monuments to past resentments and perhaps cradles for future ones; and a similar pattern may now be developing in Nigeria. If the general strike is the classical political expression of class warfare, and the coup d'Ètat of the struggle between militarism and parliamentarianism, then the school crisis is perhaps becoming the classical political--or parapolitical--expression of the clash of primordial loyalties.


There are a number of other poles around which parapolitical vortices tend to form, but so far as the literature is concerned they have been more noted in passing than analyzed in detail. Social statistics is an example. In Lebanon there has not been a census since 1932, for fear that taking one would reveal such changes in the religious composition of the population as to make the marvelously intricate political arrangements designed to balance sectarian interests unviable. In India, with its national language problem, just what constitutes a Hindi speaker has been a matter of some rather acrimonious dispute, because it depends upon the rules of counting: Hindi enthusiasts use census figures to prove that as many as half of India's people speak "Hindi" (including Urdu and Punjabi), while anti-Hindiists force the figure down as low as 30 percent by considering such matters as script differences, and evidently even religious affiliation of the speaker, as linguistically significant. Then, too, there is the closely related problem of what, in connection with the strange fact that according to the 1941 census of India there were 25 million tribal peoples but in the 1951 census only 1.7 million, Weiner has aptly called "genocide by census redefinition."29 In Morocco, published figures for the percentage of the population that is Berber run all the way from 35 to 60 percent, and some nationalist leaders would like to believe, or have others believe, that the Berbers are a French invention altogether.30 Statistics, real or fancied, concerning the ethnic composition of the civil service are a favorite weapon of primordial demagogues virtually everywhere, being particularly effective where a number of local officials are members of a group other than the one they administrate. And in Indonesia a leading newspaper was banned, at the height of the regionalist crisis, for printing, in mock innocence, a simple bar graph depicting export earnings and government expenditure by province.


Dress (in Burma hundreds of frontier tribesmen brought to Rangoon for Union day to improve their patriotism are cannily sent home with gifts of Burmese clothing), historiography (in Nigeria a sudden proliferation of tendentious tribal histories strengthens the already very powerful centrifugal tendencies plaguing the country), and the official insignia of public authority (in Ceylon, Tamils have refused to use automobile license plates marked with Sinhala characters, and in South India they have painted over Hindi railroad signs) are other as yet but impressionistically observed spheres of parapolitical controversy.31 So, also, is the rapidly expanding complex of tribal unions, caste organizations, ethnic fraternities, regional associations, and religious sodalities that seems to be accompanying urbanization in virtually all the new states, and has made the major cities in some of them--Lagos, Beirut, Bombay, Medan--caldrons of communal tension.32 But, details aside, the point is that there swirl around the emerging governmental institutions of the new states, and the specialized politics they tend to support, a whole host of self-reinforcing whirlpools of primordial discontent, and that this parapolitical maelstrom is in great part an outcome--to continue the metaphor, a backwash--of that process of political development itself. The growing capacity of the state to mobilize social resources for public ends, its expanding power, roils primordial sentiments because, given the doctrine that legitimate authority is but an extension of the inherent moral coerciveness such sentiments possess, to permit oneself to be ruled by men of other tribes, other races, or other religions is to submit not merely to oppression but to degradation--to exclusion from the moral community as a lesser order of being whose opinions, attitudes, wishes, and so on, simply do not fully count, as those of children, the simple-minded, and the insane do not fully count in the eyes of those who regard themselves as mature, intelligent, and sane.


Though it can be moderated, this tension between primordial sentiments and civil politics probably cannot be entirely dissolved. The power of the "givens" of place, tongue, blood, looks, and way-of-life to shape an individual's notion of who, at bottom, he is and with whom, indissolubly, he belongs is rooted in the nonrational foundations of personality. And, once established, some degree of involvement of this unreflective sense of collective selfhood in the steadily broadening political process of the national state is certain, because that process seems to touch on such an extraordinarily wide range of matters. Thus, what the new states--or their leaders--must somehow contrive to do as far as primordial attachments are concerned is not, as they have so often tried to do, wish them out of existence by belittling them or even denying their reality, but domesticate them. They must reconcile them with the unfolding civil order by divesting them of their legitimizing force with respect to governmental authority, by neutralizing the apparatus of the state in relationship to them, and by channeling discontent arising out of their dislocation into properly political rather than parapolitical forms of expression.


This goal, too, is not fully achievable or at least has never yet been achieved--even in Mr. Ambedkar's Canada and Switzerland (the less said of South Africa in this connection, the better) with their supposed "genius to unite." But it is relatively so, and it is upon the possibility of such relative achievement that the hope of the new states to turn the attack upon their integrity and their legitimacy by unfettered primordial enthusiasms rests. As with industrialization, urbanization, restratification, and the various other social and cultural "revolutions" these states seem fated to undergo, the containment of diverse primordial communities under a single sovereignty promises to tax the political capacity of their peoples to its utmost limits--in some cases, no doubt, beyond them.





This "integrative revolution" has, of course, already begun, and a desperate search for ways and means to create a more perfect union is everywhere under way. But it has merely begun and just got under way, so that if one surveys the new states on a broadly comparative basis, one is confronted with a bewildering picture of diverse institutional and ideological responses to what, for all its variation in outward form, is essentially a common problem--the political normalization of primordial discontent.


The new states are, today, rather like naive or apprentice painters or poets or composers, seeking their own proper style, their own distinctive mode of solution for the difficulties posed by their medium. Imitative, poorly organized, eclectic, opportunistic, subject to fads, ill-defined, uncertain, they are exceedingly difficult to order typologically, either in classical categories or invented ones, in the same paradoxical way that it is usually so much more difficult to classify immature artists firmly into schools or traditions than it is mature ones who have found their own unique style and identity. Indonesia, India, Nigeria, and the rest share, in the matter at hand, only a predicament; but a predicament that is one of the main stimuli to political creativity for them, pressing them on to a restless experimentation in order to find ways to extricate themselves from it and triumph over it. Again, this is not to say that all this creativity will ultimately be successful; there are manquÈ states as there are manquÈ artists, as France perhaps demonstrates. But it is the recalcitrance of primordial issues that, among other things, keeps the process of incessant political, and even constitutional, innovation going, and gives to any attempt at systematic classification of new state polities a radically provisional, if not simply premature, quality.


An attempt to order the various governmental arrangements now emerging in the new states as means for coping with problems arising from linguistic, racial, and so on, heterogeneity must begin, therefore, with a simple empirical review of a number of such arrangements, a mere setting out in model form of existing experiments. From such a review it should be possible to derive a sense of at least the ranges of variation involved, a notion of the general dimensions of the social field within which these arrangements are taking shape. Typologizing becomes, in this approach, a matter, not of devising constructed types, ideal or otherwise, which will isolate fundamental constancies of structure amid the confusion of phenomenal variation, but of determining the limits with which such variation takes place, the domain over which it plays. Here, a sense of such ranges, dimensions, limits, and domains can perhaps best be conveyed, in a kaleidoscopic sort of way, by the rapid presentation of a series of snapshot pictures of the "integrative revolution" as it seems to be proceeding in several selected new states showing different concrete patterns of primordial diversity and different modes of political response to those patterns. Indonesia, Malaya, Burma, India, Lebanon, Morocco, and Nigeria, culturally distinct and geographically scattered, are as appropriate subjects as any for this type of flying survey of divided nations en route--ex hypothesi--to unity.33




Until about the beginning of 1957, the regional tension between Java and the Outer Islands was kept in bounds by a combination of the continuing momentum of revolutionary solidarity, a broadly representative multiparty system, and a characteristically Indonesian bisection of paramount executive power in an institution called the Dwi-Tunggal-loosely, "dual leadership"--in which the two veteran nationalist leaders, Sukarno, a Javanese, and Mohammed Hatta, a Sumatran, shared primacy as President and Vice-President of the Republic. Since then, the solidarity has faded, the party system collapsed, and the Dwi-Tunggal split. Despite the effective military suppression of the regional rebellion of 1958, and despite Sukarno's feverish attempts to focus the government on his person as the incarnation of "the spirit of '45," the political equilibrium thus lost has not been restored, and the new nation has become an almost classic case of integrative failure. With every step toward modernity has come increased regional discontent; with each increase in regional discontent has come a new revelation of political incapacity; and with each new revelation of political incapacity has come a loss of political nerve and a more desperate resort to an unstable amalgam of military coercion and ideological revivalism.


It was the first general elections of 1955 that, by completing the general outlines of a parliamentary system, made it inescapably apparent to reflective Indonesians that they had either to find some way of solving their problems within the framework of the modern civil order that they had almost reluctantly created or face a rising crescendo of primordial discontent and parapolitical conflict. Having been expected to clear the air, the elections only stirred it. They shifted the political center of gravity away from the Dwi-Tunggal toward the parties. They crystallized the popular strength of the Communist Party, which not only gained some 16 percent of the total vote, but drew nearly 90 percent of its support from Java, thus fusing regional and ideological tensions. They dramatized the fact that the interest of some of the more important centers of power in the society--the army, the Chinese, certain Outer Island export traders, and so on--were not adequately represented in the formal political system. And they shifted the basis of qualification for political leadership away from revolutionary distinction toward mass appeal. At once the elections demanded that, if the existing civil order were to be maintained and developed, a whole new set of relationships among the president, vice-president, parliament, and cabinet be worked out; that an aggressive, well-organized totalitarian party hostile to the very conception of democratic, multiparty politics be contained; that important groups outside the parliamentary framework be brought into effective relation to it; and that a new basis for elite solidarity other than the shared experiences of 1945-1949 be found. Given extremely intractable economic problems, a cold-war international environment, and a large number of long-standing personal vendettas among the highly placed, it would perhaps have been surprising had this multiple demand been met. But there is no reason to believe that given the requisite political talents, it could not have been.


In any case, it was not. By the end of 1956 the always delicate relationship between Sukarno and Hatta became so strained that the latter resigned, an action that in essence withdrew the stamp of legitimacy from the central government so far as many of the leading military, financial, political, and religious groups in the Outer Islands were concerned. The duumvirate had been the symbolic, and to a great extent the real, guarantee of the recognition of the various Outer Island peoples as full and equal partners with the so much more numerous Javanese in the Republic, a quasi-constitutional warranty that the Javanese tail would not be permitted to wag the Indonesian dog. Sukarno, part Javanese mystic and part inveterate eclectic, and Hatta, part Sumatran puritan and part shirtsleeve administrator, supplemented one another not only politically but primordially. Sukarno summed up the syncretic high culture of the elusive Javanese; Hatta, the Islamic mercantilism of the less subtle Outer Islanders. The major political parties --particularly the Communists, fusing Marxist ideology with traditional Javanese "folk religion," and the Moslem Masjumi, which having gained nearly half of its popular vote in the more orthodox regions outside Java became their major spokesman--aligned themselves accordingly. Thus, when the Vice-President resigned and the President moved to become, under his conception of a back-to-1945 (that is, pre-elections) "guided democracy," the sole axis of Indonesian national life, the Republic's political balance was upset and the advance toward regional disaffection entered its radical phase.


Since then, spasmodic violence has alternated with a frantic search for political panaceas. Abortive coups, misfired assassination attempts, and unsuccessful insurrections have followed one after the other, punctuated by an astounding wealth of ideological and institutional experiments. New Life movements have given way to Guided Democracy movements, and Guided Democracy movements to "Back to the 1945 Constitution" movements, while governmental structures--national councils, state planning commissions, constitutional conventions, and so on--have multiplied like weeds in a neglected garden. But from all this nervous tinkering and breathless sloganeering no form competent to contain the country's diversity has appeared, because such random improvisation represents not a realistic search for a solution to the nation's integrative problems but a desperately laid smoke screen behind which to hide a growing conviction of impending political catastrophe. For the moment, a new, de facto duumvirate divides leadership--Sukarno, calling ever more shrilly for a renewal of the "revolutionary spirit of unity," and Lieutenant General A. H. Nasution, Defense Minister and former Army Chief of Staff (and another colorless Sumatran professional), directing the military in its expanded role as a quasi-civil service. But their relationship to each other, as well as the extent of their effective power, remains, like just about everything else in Indonesian political life, undetermined.


The "growing conviction of an impending political catastrophe" turned out to be all too accurate. President Sukarno's frenzied ideologism continued to rise until the night of September 30, 1965, when the Commander of the Presidential Guard mounted an attempted coup d'Ètat. Six ranking Army generals were murdered ( General Nasution narrowly escaped), but the coup failed when another General, Suharto, rallied the army and crushed the rebels. There followed several months of extraordinary popular savagery--mainly in Java and Bali, but also sporadically in Sumatra--directed against individuals considered to be followers of the Indonesian Communist Party, which was generally regarded to have been behind the coup. Several hundred thousand people were massacred, largely villagers by other villagers (though there were some army executions as well), and, in Java at least, mainly along the primordial lines--pious Moslems killing Indic syncretists--described above. (There were some anti-Chinese actions, too, especially in Sumatra, but the bulk of the killings were of Javanese by Javanese, Balinese by Balinese, and so on.) Sukarno was gradually replaced as leader of the country by Suharto and died in June 1970, Suharto having officially succeeded to the presidency two years earlier. Since then the country has been run by the army with the assistance of various civilian technical experts and administrators. A second general election, held in the summer of 1971, resulted in the victory of a government-sponsored and -controlled party and the severe weakening of the older political parties. At the moment, though tension between primordially defined groups, religious, regional, and ethnic, remains intense, and in fact may have been deepened by the events of 1965, open expression of it is largely absent. That it will long remain so seems--to me at least--unlikely.




In Malaya, the striking thing is the degree to which the overall integration of the diverse groups in a rigidly multiracial society is taking place not so much in terms of state structure as such, but of that much more recent political invention, party organization. It is the Alliance, a confederation of the United Malays National Organization, the Malayan Chinese Association, and the less important Malayan Indian Congress, within which primordial conflicts are being informally and realistically adjusted and where the strong centrifugal tendencies, as intense as perhaps any state--new, old, or middle-aged--has ever faced, are, so far, being effectively absorbed, deflected, and contained. Formed in 1952, at the height of the terrorist "emergency," by conservative, English-educated, upper-class elements in the Malay and Chinese communities (the Indians, never quite certain which way to jump, joined a year or two later), the Alliance is one of the most remarkable examples of the successful practice of the art of the impossible in the whole sphere of newstate politics--a federated, noncommunal party of subparties, themselves frankly, explicitly, and on occasion enthusiastically communal in appeal, set in a context of primordial suspicion and hostility that would make the Habsburg Empire seem like Denmark or Australia. On the mere surface of things, it ought not to work.


The important question is, anyway, whether it will continue to work. Malaya has been independent only since mid-1957, has benefited from relatively favorable economic conditions, from--the Communist insurrection aside--a fairly smooth transfer of sovereignty and the continuing prÈsence anglaise this has made possible, and the ability of a conservative, somewhat rationalistic oligarchy to convince the mass of the population that it is a more suitable vehicle for their aspirations than the left-wing, emotionally populist sort of leadership that characterizes most of the other new states. Is Alliance rule merely the lull before the storm as was United National Party rule, which it rather resembles, in Ceylon? Is it destined to weaken and disintegrate when the social and economic seas roughen as did the Indonesian Dwi-Tunggal multiparty system? Is it, in a word, too good to last?


The omens are mixed. In the first general election, held prior to revolution, the Alliance captured 80 percent of the popular vote and 51 of the 52 elected seats in the federal legislative council, to become virtually the sole legitimate heir to the colonial regime; but in the 1959 elections, the first held subsequent to independence, it lost a good deal of ground to more simply communal parties, its popular vote falling to 51 percent and its seats to 73 of 103. The Malay sector, the UMNO, was weakened by the unexpected sweep of the pious, rural, heavily Malay northeast by an intensely communal party calling for an Islamic theocratic state, "the restoration of Malay sovereignty," and "Greater Indonesia." The Chinese and Indian wings were undercut by Marxist parties in the large towns along the tin- and rubber-rich central west coast, where large numbers of new, lower-class Chinese and Indian voters had entered the rolls under the liberalized postindependence citizenship laws, the Marxism adapting itself, here as elsewhere, to primordial loyalties with little difficulty. Buffeted by these loses--which first became apparent in the state elections held a couple of months prior to the federal ones--the Alliance in fact came very close to splitting altogether. The losses of the UMNO tempted younger, less conservative elements in the MCA to press for a greater number of Chinese candidacies, for an explicit condemnation by the Alliance of Malay racialism, and for a review of state educational policy with respect to the language problem in Chinese schools. Hothead elements in the UMNO responded in kind, and though the rift was patched, or patched over, in time for the elections, several of the younger leaders of the MCA resigned, and the UMNO girded itself to expel primordial "agitators" in its own midst.


Thus, although as in Indonesia, the holding of general elections brought latent primordial issues into such a focus that they had to be faced directly rather than concealed behind a facade of nationalist rhetoric, in Malaya political talents seem, so far, to have been rather more competent to this task. Though the Alliance is less absolutely dominant and perhaps somewhat less integrated than it was in the immediate postindependence period, it is still quite comfortably in power and still an effective civil framework within which very intense primordial issues can be adjusted and contained rather than allowed to run free in parapolitical confusion. The pattern that seems to be developing, and perhaps crystallizing, is one in which a comprehensive national party, with its three subparts or subparties, comes almost to comprise the state and is multiply assailed by a field of small parties--by class parties for being too communal, and communal parties for not being communal enough (and by both for being "undemocratic" and "reactionary")-each of which is trying to knock chips off one or another part of it by attacking the points of strain that develop within it as it functions and by appealing more openly to primordial sentiments. The intricate inner working of the Alliance as it endeavors to hold the vital center against efforts from all directions to undermine its basic source of strength--a matter-of-fact, quid-pro-quo, all-in-the-same-boat political understanding among Malay, Chinese, and Indian leaders--is thus the quintessence of the integrative revolution as it is proceeding in Malaya.


In 1963 Malaya became Malaysia, a federation of Malaya proper (i.e., the peninsula), Singapore, and the north Bornean territories of Sarawak and Sabah. The Alliance remained the majority party, but the major Singapore party, the People's Action Party, sought to make inroads among the peninsula Chinese, undercutting the MCA and thus threatening the Alliance and the Chinese-Malay political balance. In August 1965 the strains became such that Singapore left the Federation and became independent. Intense opposition to the new Federation from Indonesia and to Sabah's inclusion in it from the Philippines only added to the stresses involved in the forming of the new political entity. In the general elections of May 1969 the narrow Alliance majority was lost, mainly because of the failure of the MCA to hold Chinese support (much of which went to the essentially Chinese Democratic Action Party), but also to further gains by the Islamist Malay communalist party mentioned in the text, which got nearly a quarter of the vote. The MCA, feeling it had lost the confidence of the Chinese community, then quit the Alliance, bringing on a full-fledged crisis. Later in the same month savage communal riots broke out in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, in which about 150 persons were killed, most of them in an extremely brutal fashion, and communications between the Chinese and Malay communities broke down almost totally. Emergency rule was imposed, and the situation calmed. In September 1970, Teunku Abdul Rahman, who had headed the UMNO and the Alliance since their founding, retired and was replaced by his long-time deputy and the strong man of the regime, Tun Abdul Razak. The state of emergency was finally ended and parliamentary government restored after twenty-one months, in February of 1971. For the moment the situation seems to have stabilized, and the Alliance still holds against the communalist attempts to chip away at it (a continuing Chinese Communist guerrilla revolt persists, however, in Sarawak), though the country as a whole may be in fact further away from communal accord than it was in the first years of its existence.




In Burma, the case is almost diametrically opposite to the Malayan. Although again, and unlike Indonesia, a comprehensive national party (U Nu's "clean faction" of the Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League) governs [ 1962] a formally federal state with only weak, if bitter, opposition, its power is mainly based on a direct appeal to the cultural pride of the Burmans (that is, speakers of Burmese), while the minorities, some of whom helped keep the country in a multisided civil war for the first few years after independence, are catered to by a rather intricate and highly peculiar constitutional system that protects them in theory against the Burman dominance that the party system tends to produce in fact. Here the government itself is to a very great extent the obvious agency of a single, central primordial group, and it is faced, therefore, with a very serious problem of maintaining legitimacy in the eyes of members of peripheral groups--more than one-third of the population --who are naturally inclined to see it as alien, a problem it has attempted to solve largely by a combination of elaborate legal gestures of reassurance and a good deal of aggressive assimilationism.


Briefly, the constitutional system designed to allay minority fears consists of--to date [ 1962]--six juridically nonuniform "states," demarcated largely along regional-linguistic-cultural lines and possessing dissimilar formal powers. Some states have a--surely nominal--right of secession; others not. Each state has somewhat different electoral arrangements, and controls its own elementary schools. The elaboration of state governmental structure varies from the Chin, which has hardly any local autonomy whatever, to the Shan, where traditional "feudal" chiefs have been able to maintain a goodly number of their traditional rights; while Burma proper is not viewed as a constituent state within the Union at all, but as virtually indistinguishable from it. The degree to which territorial boundaries match primordial realities varies--with the Karen the most chronically discontented, and the small Kayah State evidently resting on the politically convenient invention of a "Red Karen" race. From each of these states a delegation is elected to the upper house of the bicameral Union legislature, the Chamber of Nationalities, which is heavily weighted in favor of the minority peoples. In the Union government this chamber is overshadowed by the popularly chosen lower house, the Chamber of Deputies; but as each state delegation to it sits, along with the lower-house representatives from its state, to form the State Council that governs the state, it has significant local importance. Further, the head of the state (that is, of the State Council) is appointed at the same time to be minister for the state in the Union government, and constitutional amendments demand two-thirds approval of both houses, so that the minorities are given at least a formal check on the powers of the government and the lower chamber to which it is responsible. And finally, the presidency of the Union, a largely ceremonial office, is rotated, by informal agreement rather than explicit constitutional provision, among ethnic groups.


It is within this finely wrought constitutional structure, which so artfully blurs the distinction between the Union and its constituent members at precisely the time it seems to be formalizing it most exactly, that the vigorously assimilationist policies of the AFPFL are pursued. This tradition of "Burmanization," or of what some minority groups more bluntly call " AFPFL imperialism," traces back to the very beginnings of the nationalist movement in the Buddhist student clubs at the turn of the century; and by the thirties the Thakins were calling for an independent nation in which Burmese would be the national language, Burman dress would be the national costume, and the classical role of the (predominantly Burman) Buddhist monkhood as teacher, guide, and counselor to the secular government would be restored. Since independence and the accession of the pietistic Thakin Nu to the premiership, the government has moved strenuously to bring about these ends, the noticeable relaxation of the assimilative pressure during the year and a half of military rule being followed by an even more intense assertion of such pressure following U Nu's landslide re-election on a Buddhism-as-a-state-religion platform in 1960. (In Burma proper his "clean" AFPFL captured outright about 80 percent of the lower-house seats; in the states and the disaffected Arakan area, about a third.)


As a result, most of the political adjustments of primordial interests in Burma have tended to be cast, in form at least, in juristic terms, to be carried out in a rather odd and artificial vocabulary of constitutional legalism. The Karens' conviction that the official boundaries of their state were too circumscribed to compensate for the loss of the special privileges they enjoyed under the colonial regime helped send them into revolt; their submission following military defeat by Union forces was in turn sealed and symbolized by their acceptance of those boundaries, plus a number of additional legal penalties imposed as object lessons: an explicit denial of the right of secession, the reduction of their representation in both houses of parliament, and the revocation of an earlier decision to unite the Kayah State with the Karen. Similarly, the primordial discontent of the Arakanese and the Mons--which has also periodically flared into open violence--has been expressed in demands for Arakanese and Mon states, which U Nu has at length been forced to support despite his oft-reiterated opposition to the formation of any more states. In Shan State the traditional chiefs have brandished their constitutional right to secession and a states' rights doctrine that they claim is written into the constitution, as bargaining weapons in their higgle with the Union over the amount and kind of compensation to be paid them for the surrender of various of their traditional powers. And so on. This irregular and unorthodox constitutional framework, which is so nicely exact in language and so usefully vague in meaning that "not even [Burmese] lawyers seem able to tell whether the Union is in fact a federal or a unitary state,"34 allows the single-party, Burman-centered AFPFL regime to pursue its strongly assimilationist policies in almost all aspects of actual government, while maintaining at least minimal loyalty from the non-Burman Burmese, something it did not have a decade ago--though if its ethnic enthusiasm is not contained, it may not have it a decade hence either.


In March of 1962 General Ne Win took over the Burmese government via a military coup d'Ètat from U Nu, who was imprisoned. Ne Win instituted a policy of extreme isolationism for Burma, which, among other things, has made it difficult to find out much in detail concerning what is going on in the country. What does seem clear is that armed opposition by ethnic minority groups has continued at about the previous level and has indeed become almost institutionalized as a regular aspect of the national scene. In January 1971, U Nu (who had by then been released from prison) set up headquarters for a "National Liberation Front" in Western Thailand, adjoining the rebellious Burmese Shan States. Little seems yet to have come of that, but the Karen, Shan, and Kachin revolts seem to be continuing apace. (The Karens were awarded a "state" in South Burma in 1969 by Ne Win, but, regarding the grant of "autonomy" as too limited, launched an offensive in early 1971 aimed at toppling Ne Win.) In February of 1971 a United National Liberation Front was formed including (the rebel elements of) the Karens, Mons, Chins, and Shans. (The Kachins, who have their own Independence Army, agreed to cooperate but not to join.) Thus, although it is very difficult to tell, given the near-closure of Burma to outside observation, how much all of this comes to on the ground, it seems apparent that not only has the characteristic pattern of Burmese primordial dissidence not changed under Ne Win but it has hardened into an enduring feature of the political landscape.




India, that vast and various labyrinth of religious, linguistic, regional, racial, tribal, and caste allegiances, is developing a many-sided political form to match for baffling irregularity her daedalian social and cultural structure. Waddling in (in E. M. Forster's gently mocking image) at this late hour to take her seat among the nations, she is beset by virtually the entire range of primordial conflicts complexly superimposed one upon the other. One peels off Punjabi linguism and finds Sikh religious communalism, scratches Tamil regionalism and finds anti-Brahman racialism, views Bengali cultural arrogance from a slightly different angle and sees Greater Bengal patriotism. No general and uniform political solution to the problem of primordial discontent seems possible in such a situation, only a loose assemblage of diverse, locally adapted, ad hoc solutions, related to one another only incidentally and pragmatically. The policies suitable for the tribal dissidence of the Assam Naga are not generalizable to the caste-based disaffection of peasant landlords in Andhra. The central government stance taken toward Orissa princes cannot be taken toward Gujerati industrialists. The problem of Hindu fundamentalism in Uttar Pradesh, the heartland of Indic culture, takes a rather different form in Dravidian Mysore. So far as primordial issues are concerned, Indian civil politics amounts to a disconnected series of attempts to make the temporary endure.


The major institutional vehicle through which these attempts are being made is, of course, the Indian National Congress. Though, like the Malayan Alliance and the Burmese AFPFL, the Congress is a comprehensive national party that has largely pre-empted the governmental apparatus of the new state and become its most important centralizing force, it has done so neither as a confederation of frankly primordial subparties nor as an agency of majority-group assimilationism. The first of these courses is precluded by the multifarious nature of the primordial pattern--the sheer number of different groups involved--and the second by the absence of any one clearly central group within this pattern. As a result, the Congress, its slightly North Indian complexion aside, has tended to become an ethnically neutral, resolutely modernist, somewhat cosmopolitan force on the national level at the same time that it has built up a multiplicity of separate, and to a large extent independent, parochial party machines to secure its power on the local level. The image the Congress presents is thus a double one: in one focus, lecturing Hindi zealot and Tamil xenophobe alike, stands Nehru, "a reflective, cultivated, modern intellectual, full of wistfulness, skepticism, dogmatism, and self-doubt in the presence of his own country";35 in the other, deliberately manipulating (among other things) the local realities of language, caste, culture, and religion to keep the party dominant, stand a whole set of less pensive regional bosses--Kamaraj Nadar in Madras, Chavan in Bombay, Atulya Ghosh in Maharashtra, Patnaik in Orissa, Kairon in Punjab, and Sukhadia in Rajahstan.


The States Reorganization Act of 1956--itself, as has been mentioned, the culmination of a process begun within the Congress several decades before independence--gave this pattern of civil hub and primordial rim its official institutionalization. The division of the country into linguistically demarcated subunits is, in fact, part and parcel of general approach of attempting to insulate parapolitical forces from national concerns by sequestering them in local contexts. Unlike those of Burma, the states of India have real and explicitly--perhaps too explicitly--spelled out constitutional powers in every field from education and agriculture to taxation and public health, so that the political process centering around the state assemblies and the formation of state governments is far from being an inconsequential matter. It is on the state level that perhaps the bulk of the bitter hand-to-hand clashes that form the everyday substance of Indian domestic politics are coming to take place, and where the adjustments of parochial interests are coming to be effected, insofar as they are effected at all.


Thus, in the 1957 elections, even more than in those of 1952, the Congress found itself engaged in a multifront war, fighting different election battles in the various states, against different sorts of opponents capitalizing on different sorts of discontents--against the Communists in Kerala, Bengal, and Andhra; against communal religious parties in Punjab, Uttar and Madhya Pradesh, and Rajahstan; against tribal unions in Assam and Bihar; against ethno-linguistic fronts in Madras, Maharashtra, and Gujerat; against feudal-prince restorationist parties in Orissa, Bihar, and Rajahstan; against the Praja Socialists in Bombay. Not all these struggles pivoted around primordial issues, but virtually all--even those involving leftist "class" parties--seem to have been significantly influenced by them.36 In any case, as none of these opposition parties was able to spread beyond the few strongholds where the particular veins they tapped proved comparatively rich, the Congress as the only genuinely national party was able to maintain overwhelming control of both the central and--with a few exceptions--the state governments, even though it captured less than half the popular vote.


How, out of this conglomerate hodgepodge of courthouse machinations arises the rather cerebral, dispassionate, moralistic central Congress government to serve as a kind of extraordinary committee for the conduct of foreign policy, as a comprehensive social and economic planning commission, and as a symbolic expression of all-India national identity, is something of an Eastern mystery. Most observers put it down, rather without analysis, to Nehru's charismatic force as a nationalist hero. His position as apostolic heir to Gandhi and avatar of independence bridges the gulf between his own cosmopolitan intellectualism and the provincial horizons of the mass of his people. And it is perhaps for this reason, as well as for his matchless ability to keep local bosses loyal, in line, and reasonably unambitious, that the problem of succession--"after Nehru, who?"--has in India even more of a fundamentally disquieting quality than in most of the other new states where succession is also nearly always a prominent anxiety. The fact that India has been held together up to now, Ambedkar says flatly, is due to the force of Congress Party discipline--"but how long is the Congress to last? The Congress is Pandit Nehru and Pandit Nehru is Congress. But is Pandit Nehru immortal? Anyone who applies his mind to these questions will realize that the Congress will not last until the sun and the moon."37 If the Burmese integrative problem is to restrain primordial enthusiasm at the center, the Indian seems to be to restrain it at the periphery.


The fears surrounding the succession problem, real enough when the above was written, proved to be baseless. After Nehru's death in May 1964, and a brief period of rule by Lal Bahadur Shastri, the "apostolic" succession pattern was re-established with the accession to the Prime Ministership of Nehru's daughter and Gandhi's namesake, Mrs. Indira Gandhi. In the early phases of her regime, the Congress lost ground, and a series of upheavals on the state level led to the imposition of direct central government rule in several states. In May 1969, President Zakir Husein, a Muslim, died, threatening the Hindu-Muslim understanding within India and precipitating a showdown between Mrs. Gandhi and the traditional Congress bosses, which Mrs. Gandhi decisively won. Though faced with continued upheaval on the state level, Mrs. Gandhi won a decisive victory in the general elections of March 1971, capturing undisputed control of the government. The Bangladesh revolt, perhaps the most dramatic, and certainly the most successful, primordial separatism in the new states so far, broke out later in the year, followed by Indian intervention and the short, successful war with Pakistan. With all this, the Congress' ability to keep India's multiple primordial groups under control has surely at least temporarily increased. But that the problem persists is clear from a wide range of "events," stretching from the continuing Naga revolt in Assam to continuing Sikh riots in Punjab. Indeed, the Bangladesh example may prove a two-sided one for India in the long run, not only in Bengal itself, but elsewhere: in February of this year ( 1972), the Dravidian Advancement Party launched a campaign for Tamil Nadu, an autonomous Tamil state in South India, drawing an open parallel with Bangladesh and accusing Mrs. Gandhi of behaving like General Yahya Khan. Thus, though the increased strength of the Congress central government has for one moment somewhat cooled down India's multifront war against primordialism, it has very far from ended it.




Lebanon may be--as Phillip Hitti has pointed out--not much larger than Yellowstone Park, but it is a good deal more astonishing. Although its population is almost entirely Arabic-speaking and shares a generally "Levantine" ethos, it is rigidly partitioned into seven major Moslem (Sunni, Shi'a, and Druze) and Christian (Maronites, Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic, and Armenian Orthodox) sects and about that many minor ones (Protestants, Jews, Armenian Catholics, and so on), a confessional heterogeneity that not only forms the principal public framework of individual self-identification, but is woven directly into the whole structure of the state. Seats in the parliament are allotted on a strictly sectarian basis according to demographic proportions that are fixed by law and that have remained essentially unchanged in the five elections held since independence. Paramount executive authority is not merely bisected, but trisected, with the president of the country conventionally a Maronite, the prime minister a Sunni, and the chairman of parliament a Shi'i. Cabinet posts are carefully doled out on a confessional basis, and a similar balance is maintained in the civil service from ministry secretaries, district administrators, and diplomatic posts all the way down to rank-and-file clerical jobs. The judicial system is equally a maze of religious pluralism, with both the laws themselves and the courts applying them varying as to sect, final authority in personal law cases sometimes lying outside the boundaries of the country altogether. Arab province and Christian outpost, modern commercial entrepÙt and last relic of the Ottoman millet system, Lebanon is almost as much an entente as a state.


The sort of politics this entente supports are equally wondrous. Political parties, though formally present, play as yet but a marginal role. The struggle for pelf and power pivots instead around strong local leaders, who tend to be either important absentee landlords or, in the freehold sections of the country, heads of large and prominent extended families. Each of these faction chiefs, whose following is bound to him in essentially traditional rather than ideological terms, then forms alliances with similar faction chiefs from other locally represented sects, yielding in the election campaign a Tammany Hall sort of "one Irishman, one Jew, one Italian" ticket-balancing.


This process is encouraged by the device of having the entire electorate in any one district vote in all the local races regardless of sect. Thus a Maronite voting in a district where there are also Sunni, Greek Orthodox, and Druze seats at stake chooses among the Sunni, Greek Orthodox, and Druze candidates as well as among his own--the Maronite ones--and vice versa. This, in turn, leads to the forming of composite lists through which the candidates in each sect attempt to link themselves with popular candidates in other sects so as to attract the necessary external votes. As lists are rarely split, because the possibility of a candidate making effective alliances rests on his ability to bring loyal voters with him (and because the average voter has little knowledge of candidates of other sects on which to base rational judgments of their worth, anyway), this means that although, for any given seat, Maronite competes against Maronite, or Sunni against Sunni, and so on, it is actually lists that are elected. The electoral process thus acts to align certain leaders from the various sects over against certain other such leaders in such a way that political ties tend to cross-cut sectarian ones. Members of different sects are driven into each other's arms in interconfessional coalitions; members of the same sect are driven apart into intraconfessional factions.


Such calculated forging (and breaking) of alliances between significant political personalities is not confined merely to campaign tactics, but extends over the whole of political life. Among the strongest leaders the same principles come into play with respect to the higher national offices; so that, in example, a leading Maronite who considers himself as a possible president will attempt to align himself in public life with a leading Sunni who is aiming for the order to gain Sunni support and to prevent his immediate Maronite rivals for the presidency from making so effective an alliance themselves. Similar patterns operate throughout the system, at every level and in every aspect of government.


As such coalitions are so opportunistically rather than ideologically put together, they frequently dissolve overnight, as seeming bosom companions suddenly fall out and mortal enemies unite amid a storm of accusations and counteraccusations of betrayal, corruption, incompetence, and ingratitude. The pattern is thus fundamentally an individualistic, even egoistic, one, despite its grounding in traditional religious, economic, and kinship groupings, with each would-be political power scheming to advance his career by a skillful manipulation of the system. Both places on tickets led by strong figures and votes themselves are bought (during the 1960 elections the amount of money in circulation rose three million Leb.); rivals are slandered and, on occasion, physically attacked; favoritism, nepotic or otherwise, is accepted procedure; and spoils are considered the normal reward of office. "There is no right in Lebanon," Ayoub's Mount Lebanon Druzes say, "there is only silver and the 'fix.'"38


Yet out of all this low cunning has come not only the most democratic state in the Arab world, but the most prosperous; and one that has in addition been able--with one spectacular exception--to maintain its equilibrium under intense centrifugal pressures from two of the most radically opposed extrastate primordial yearnings extant: that of the Christians, especially the Maronites, to be part of Europe, and that of the Moslems, especially the Sunnis, to be part of pan-Arabia. The first of these motives finds expression mainly in a so-called isolationist view of Lebanon as a special and unique phenomenon among the Arab states, a "nice piece of mosaic," whose distinctiveness must be jealously conserved; the second takes the form of a call for reunion with Syria. And insofar as Lebanese politics escapes the merely personal and traditional and becomes involved with general ideas and issues, it is in these terms that it tends to polarize.


The one spectacular exception to the maintenance of equilibrium, the 1958 civil war and American intervention, was in great part precipitated by just this sort of atypical ideological polarization. On the one hand President Sham'un's unconstitutional attempt to succeed himself and, presumably, to align Lebanon more closely with the West in order to enhance Christian power against the rising tide of Nasserism, excited the ever-present Moslem fears of Christian domination; on the other, the sudden outburst of pan-Arab enthusiasm stimulated by the Iraqi revolution and Syria's turn toward Cairo led to the equally ever-present Christian fear of drowning in a Moslem sea. But the crisis--and the Americans--passed. Sham'un was, at least temporarily, discredited for "dividing the country." The pan-Arabist fever was, also at least temporarily, checked by a renewed conviction, even within Sunni circles, that the integrity of the Lebanese state must at all costs be preserved. Civil rule was quickly restored, and by 1960 a new election could be held peacefully enough, bringing back most of the old familiar faces to the old familiar stands.


It seems, therefore, that Lebanese politics, as they are now constituted, must remain personalistic, factional, opportunistic, and unprogrammatic if they are to work at all. Given the extreme confessional heterogeneity and the penetration of this heterogeneity throughout the entire organization of the state, any increase in ideologized party politics tends very quickly to lead to an unstable Christian-Moslem polarization over the pan-Arab issue and to the breakdown of the cross-sect links that in the course of normal political maneuvering divide the sects and unite, if somewhat precariously, the government. Machiavellian calculation and religious toleration are opposite sides of the same coin in Lebanon; in the short run, anyway, the alternative to "silver and 'the fix'" may very well be national dissolution.


Though sorely tried by the continuation of the Arab-Israeli confrontation, and especially by the appearance of the Palestinian commandos as an important political force in the area, the Lebanese "nice piece of mosaic" remains intact. Indeed, of all the countries reviewed here, Lebanon has continued to be the most effective in containing its deep primordial cleavages, and though harassed by economic difficulties, by the presence of small radical groups of Left and Right (no major mullisectarian parties have yet been able to form), and by frequent outbursts of popular violence, the Lebanese political system continues to function about as it has since the end of World War II. Differences in view as to the appropriate attitude to take toward the Palestine commandos (and toward Israeli incursions into the country) have led to the fall of cabinets, extended government crises, and some realignments among the major sectarian groupings. In 1970, the Christian-supported presidentwon by only one vote over his Muslim-backed opponent, despite the unwritten rule that the post is reserved for a Maronite. But as the cabinet continues to be headed by a Muslim, the established arrangements persist, and the government's authority vis-ý-vis the Palestinian commandos and their Lebanese supporters has increased, especially since the defeat of the commandos by the Jordanian army in September 1970. Nothing lasts forever, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean, but to date Lebanon continues to be a proof that although extreme primordial diversity may make political equilibrium permanently precarious, it does not necessarily, in and of itself, make it impossible.


won by only one vote over his Muslim-backed opponent, despite the unwritten rule that the post is reserved for a Maronite. But as the cabinet continues to be headed by a Muslim, the established arrangements persist, and the government's authority vis-ý-vis the Palestinian commandos and their Lebanese supporters has increased, especially since the defeat of the commandos by the Jordanian army in September 1970. Nothing lasts forever, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean, but to date Lebanon continues to be a proof that although extreme primordial diversity may make political equilibrium permanently precarious, it does not necessarily, in and of itself, make it impossible.




Across the whole of the Middle East--except for Nile-bound Egypt --runs an ancient social contrast between, as Coon puts it, "the tame and the insolent, the domestic and the independent"--between those living within the political, economic, and cultural orbit of the great generative cities and those living, if not precisely outside that orbit, along its fringes and providing "the supply of rebels who, since the beginning of the Bronze Age, have kept the urban civilizations refreshed and in motion." 39 Between the central power of the shahs and sultans and the stubborn libertarianism of the outlying tribes there existed (and to a great extent still exists) a delicate balance. When the state was strong, the tribes were obliged to give it at least grudging recognition and to check their anarchic impulses; when it was weak, they ignored it, plundered it, or--one or another of them--even overthrew it to become in turn the carriers and defenders of the urban great tradition. For the better part of the time, however, neither fully effective despotism nor mere tribal rampage prevailed. Rather, an uneasy truce between center and perimeter was maintained, tying them together in "a loose system of give and take" under which "mountaineers and nomads come to town freely, their fastnesses are left alone, and they let the caravans of travelers, traders, and pilgrims cross [their territories] without hindrance or inconvenience over and above the normal rigors of travel."40


In Morocco, this contrast has always been particularly strong, in part because so much of the terrain is mountainous, in part because of the gradual superimposition, after the seventh century, of an Arabic culture migrant from the East upon a relatively large indigenous Berber population, and in part because of the country's relatively great distance from the primary foci of Middle Eastern civilization in Egypt and Mesopotamia.


The complex early history of the region aside, the establishment of the Arabized, Islamic reformist Sherifian dynasty toward the end of the seventeenth century and the subsequent royal efforts to reduce the field of Berber customary law in favor of Koranic law, to repress saint worship and cultic practices, and to purify Islamic belief of local pagan accretions, reinforced the distinction between bled al makhzen--"the land of government"--and bled as siba--"the land of insolence." Claiming direct descent from the Prophet (the meaning of the term "sherif"), the dynasty, which rules until today, attempted to assert both spiritual and temporal power over the more Arabized population of the Atlantic Plain as well as over the more Berberized ones of the encircling Rif and Atlas mountains; but though the spiritual claim--that of imamship-has been commonly accepted, the temporal has been more of a sometime thing, particularly in the peripheral upland regions. Thus arose perhaps the most striking and distinctive feature of the Moroccan political system: the attachment of the urban and peasant populations of the plain to the sultan as autocratic head of a rather developed patrimonial bureaucracy (the Makhzen) of ministers, notables, soldiers, magistrates, clerks, policemen, and tax collectors; and the attachment of the tribal peoples to his person as "Lord of the Believers," but not to his secular government or its representatives.


By the time of the establishment of the French and Spanish protectorates in 1912, the sultanate had become so seriously weakened by a combination of internal corruption and external subversion that it was unable to exert effective control not merely over the mountains but in the plain as well. Though for a decade or so the seignoral proconsulship of Marshal Lyautey held the tribes in check and, in a somewhat paternalistic way, reinvigorated the Makhzen bureaucracy, after his departure his successors initiated the so-called Berber Policy, dedicated to drawing a sharp distinction between Arab and Berber and isolating the latter from the influence of the Makhzen entirely. Special Berber schools, designed to produce a "Berber elite," were set up; missionization increased; and--most important--the symbolic supremacy of Koranic law (and thus of the sultan as imam) was undermined by the placing of the mountain tribes under the French criminal code and officially recognizing the judicial competence of customary law tribal councils in civil disputes. Coinciding with the rise of the intense Islamic puritanism of the Egyptian and Afghan-Parisian reformers Abduh and Al-Afghani among the notables of the Arabized towns, and particularly those around the ancient Qarawiyin University at Fez, the Berber Policy and its implied threat to Islam stimulated the growth of nationalism under the banner of defending the faith against European-sponsored secularization and Christianization. Thus--even if under rather seriously altered conditions--the national movement in Morocco has also taken the classic form of attempting to strengthen the integrative power of a generally mid-Eastern urban civilization against the centrifugal tendencies of tribal particularism.


The exile of Sultan Mohammed V by the French in 1953 and his wildly triumphant return as a national hero in 1955 put the cap on this political and cultural revival of the Makhzen, and inaugurated, after independence was achieved, a new-state regime perhaps most aptly described as a "modernizing autocracy."41 With the French and the Spanish gone, the Rabat Sultanate has become again the double-pronged pivot of the system. The major nationalist party, the Istiqlal, its independent power undercut by the lack, thus far, of national elections of a genuine parliament, has become the incumbent of a somewhat modernized but still essentially patrimonial Makhzen. Led by conservative Arabized notables of the lowland cities and towns (and again most especially of Fez--"la ville sainte de l'Islame . . . la mÈtropole de l'arabisme . . . [et] la vraie capitale du Maroc"),42 it has acted as the administrative arm of the throne, a "college of viziers" dominating the royal-appointed Councils of Government, the party-rationalized civil bureaucracy, and the reinstated (and reformed) Islamic judicial system. But as the attitude toward Istiqlal among the tribesmen has been, like their attitude to earlier palace officialdoms, at best lukewarm and at worst actively hostile, the relationship between the sultan and at least the more intact, peripheral tribes has remained essentially personal. Loyal to the king and resistant to his government, the tribes have been, since the transfer of sovereignty as they were before it, the main source of primordial threats to national integration.


Since 1956, heartland--hinterland crises have come thick and fast. The absorption into the Royal Army of the irregular military force formed from among the tribes during the sultan's exile--the so-called Liberation Army--has proved to be a most ticklish task leading to open clashes; only after the king firmly removed the Royal Army from Istiqlal influence and attached it directly to the palace under his son, Prince Moulay Hasan, as chief of staff, was the tension in part eased. In the fall of 1956, a Berber chieftain from the Middle Atlas, an intimate of the king, and a bitter opponent of the Istiqlal, resigned his post as interior minister in the royal cabinet, and returned to the mountains to preach primordialism to the tribes ("It is the tribes who have made the glory of Morocco"), calling for the dissolution of all political parties ("It is contrary to the interests of the country to confer responsibility on men who totally ignore the tribes") and a national rally around the figure of Mohammed V. ("We have in this nation both weak and strong. United on the same mountain and under the same skies, they are equal before the king.")43 His effort soon ceased--at least openly--evidently upon the advice of the king; but a few months later an even more traditionalistic Berber, the governor of the southeastern province of Tafilelt, went into semirevolt, simultaneously refusing to obey "a party which hinders us from living as we wish," and declaring his undying loyalty to the sultan. The king soon secured his peaceful submission and placed him in forced residence near the imperial palace; but in late 1958 and early 1959 sporadic uprisings also occurred in the north and northeast, they too being contained within narrow limits largely through the agency of the king's personal popularity, diplomatic skill, military strength, and religious charisma.


Yet the modernizing aspect of the new Moroccan state is as real as the autocratic, and probably more enduring. The restlessness of the tribes does not represent merely "the past and the province against the future and the nation," but the concern of the traditional, "land of insolence" groups to find a secure and accepted place in that future and nation.44 The development, first clandestinely and then--as the various parapolitical expressions of tribal dissatisfaction collapsed--openly, of a new national political party, the Popular Movement, as the vehicle of rural aspirations, is but one of the more obvious signs that mere hostility to urban culture and unbending resistance to central authority is coming to be replaced among the outlying peoples by a fear of being relegated to second-class citizenship within a modern civil order. Under the leadership of the former head of the Liberation Army, Ahardane, and with the vaguest of programs--"Moslem Socialism" and a new union around the king as imam, not just for Morocco, but for the whole Maghrib--the new party has at best but one foot in that order. But as a rapid sequence of very serious political mutations--the holding of local elections; the breakaway of the left wing of Istiqlal to form a proletarian party; the sudden, premature death of Mohammed V, and the succession of his less popular son--have cast a cloud of uncertainty over the future of monarchical government in the last couple of years, the new state may well find itself increasingly hard pressed to satisfy and contain the subtle fusion of traditional siba sentiments and modern political ambitions neatly summed up in Ahardane's stiff-necked slogan, "We have not acquired independence in order to lose liberty."45


Though it is perhaps true that in the long run the modernizing aspect of the new Moroccan state is more enduring than the autocratic, over the last decade it is the autocratic which has flourished. The king, Hassan II, suspended the constitution and dissolved parliament in 1965 after riots in Casablanca led to the death, largely at the hands of government forces, of anywhere from thirty (the official count) to several hundred people. The king took direct control of the government, ruling by executive fiat and systematically reducing the influence of the two major parties--the Islamist Istiqlal and the socialist Union Nationale des Forces Populaires--and the urban Arab masses which, for the most part, formed their constituencies. The period was one of accelerating neotraditionalism, as Hassan attempted to draw various sorts of local notables, many of them Berber, and army officers, the great majority of them Berber, into direct, personal loyalty to the throne. In 1970, the so-called state of exception was at least nominally ended when the king promulgated a new constitution and announced general elections. The parties (except for the Berber-dominatedMouvement Populaire) found the constitution insufficiently democratic and the elections insufficiently free, however, and regarded the whole maneuver as an effort by theking to institutionalize and legitimize the throne-centered system of neotraditional government he had evolved during his first decade of rule. Thus, though the elections were held and the constitution approved-under conditions generally held to be less than honest--the pattern of court-and-notables politics persisted. This pattern came to something of a dramatic dissolution with the attempted army coup at the king's forty-second birthday picnic in July of 1970, in which about a hundred of the approximately five hundred guests (many of them foreign) were killed. A major, five colonels, and four generals were executed almost immediately (others, including its leader, died in the coup attempt itself), and a number of other officers were imprisoned. The degree to which primordial loyalties played a role in the attack is unclear (almost all the leaders were Berbers, most of them from the Rif; and most were outstanding beneficiaries of the king's favors under the throne-centered policy); but since the attack (which was followed in August 1972 by another, which also failed) the king has moved to de-emphasize the Berber role in the army as well as to find a basis of support among the A rabspeaking populations of the large cities that the two major parties, novt, united into a "National Action Bloc" claim to represent. Thus, whatever the reality of the bled al makhzen /bled as siba contrast might, or might not, ever have been (and I would now be inclined to regard it as having never been as clear-cut or simple as European scholarship described it), the distinction--partly cultural, partly linguistic, partly social, partly a kind of ethnopolitical myth, a traditional, almost instinctive way of perceiving group differences--between "Arab" and "Berber" remains an important, if elusive, factor in Moroccan national life.


king to institutionalize and legitimize the throne-centered system of neotraditional government he had evolved during his first decade of rule. Thus, though the elections were held and the constitution approved-under conditions generally held to be less than honest--the pattern of court-and-notables politics persisted. This pattern came to something of a dramatic dissolution with the attempted army coup at the king's forty-second birthday picnic in July of 1970, in which about a hundred of the approximately five hundred guests (many of them foreign) were killed. A major, five colonels, and four generals were executed almost immediately (others, including its leader, died in the coup attempt itself), and a number of other officers were imprisoned. The degree to which primordial loyalties played a role in the attack is unclear (almost all the leaders were Berbers, most of them from the Rif; and most were outstanding beneficiaries of the king's favors under the throne-centered policy); but since the attack (which was followed in August 1972 by another, which also failed) the king has moved to de-emphasize the Berber role in the army as well as to find a basis of support among the A rabspeaking populations of the large cities that the two major parties, novt, united into a "National Action Bloc" claim to represent. Thus, whatever the reality of the bled al makhzen /bled as siba contrast might, or might not, ever have been (and I would now be inclined to regard it as having never been as clear-cut or simple as European scholarship described it), the distinction--partly cultural, partly linguistic, partly social, partly a kind of ethnopolitical myth, a traditional, almost instinctive way of perceiving group differences--between "Arab" and "Berber" remains an important, if elusive, factor in Moroccan national life.




The distinctive feature of Nigerian political life as it has evolved since World War II has been what Coleman has called "the regionalization of nationalism."46 Whereas in most of the other new states the final phases of the pursuit of independence saw a progressive unification of diverse elements into an intensely solidary opposition to colonial rule, open dissidence emerging only after devolution and the inevitable waning of revolutionary comradeship, in Nigeria tension between various primordial groups increased in the last decade of dependency. After 1946 the Nigerian struggle for freedom was less a matter of defying foreign authority and more a matter of drawing boundaries, founding capitals, and distributing powers in such a way as to dampen and contain sharpening ethnoregional hostilities prior to the disappearance of that authority. It was marked not so much by growing insurgency in order to force the British to leave as by feverish negotiation, in both Lagos and London, in order to create a modus vivendi among the Yoruba, Ibo, and Hausa-Fulani so that they could leave.


The arrangement ultimately devised (in a 240 -page, fine-print constitution) was a radically federal one, composed of three powerful constituent regions--the Northern, the (south-) Eastern, and the (south-) Western--each with its own capital, its own parliament, cabinet, and high court, and its own budget. Each region was dominated by a particular ethnic group--respectively, the Hausa, Ibo, and Yoruba; a particular political party--the Northern People's Congress (NPC), the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC), and the Action Group (AG); and a particular political personality--Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna ("Sultan") of Sokoto, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, and Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Perched, somewhat insecurely, on top of these regional strongholds was the federal government at Lagos as the arena in which the sort of two-against-one coalition politics one would naturally expect from this type of three-person game took place and out of whose changeful processes the authoritative leadership to fill the vacuum at the center of the system was supposed at length to emerge.


The sort of form that leadership was to take, who was to provide it, and how, in the working of this Swiss-clock governmental mechanism, it was to actually be produced remained, however, entirely obscure. In the meantime, the triangular pattern of primordial identification crystallized in the country at large, as the tribal societies of traditional Nigeria gradually regrouped themselves into the regional-linguistic (and in the Moslem North, religious) folk societies of modern Nigeria. But though increasingly important as the country's ethnic skeleton, this pattern did not exhaust the full variety of ingrained "consciousness of kind," because in each region there remained a large number of smaller groups outside the core Hausa, Yoruba, and Ibo areas at least somewhat resistant to assimilation to these broader subnational entities. And it was in these marginal areas--the southern half of the North, the eastern edge of the West, and the southern and eastern borders of the East--that the most vital electoral competition between major ethnic groups tended to take place, as each party attempted, with some success, to capitalize on minority resentments within their opponents' strongholds. What appeared at the center as a three-way subnational competition, and at the regional capitals as (more and more) a one-party ethnocracy, represented in the countryside a much more complex and diversified network of tribal alliances and oppositions.47 It was a tiered system in which local loyalties remained mostly organized in traditional terms, provincial ones became organized in party-political terms, and national ones were only barely organized at all.


Thus, although the regionalization of nationalism process led to the establishment of a party system and constitutional structure in which Nigeria's several hundred primordial groups, ranging from the nearly six million Hausa to tribal fragments of only a few hundred were able, for a while, to live in at least reasonable amity, it also created a void at the very heart of national political life and left the country more or less acephalous.


After independence (in October, 1960). political attention consequently turned toward the federal capital at Lagos as parties and their leaders jockeyed for starting positions from which to launch their campaigns to correct this condition. After an initial attempt to form a governing alliance between the economically and politically more advanced Eastern and Western regions against the more traditional North stumbled over the entrenched hostility between the mobile, aggressive Ibo intelligentsia and the stolid, wealthy Yoruba business class--and between the mercurial Dr. Azikiwe and the lofty Chief Awolowo--the North and East formed such an alliance, isolating the West. Azikiwe resigned the Eastern premiership to become governor general, in theory a merely symbolic office, but which he hoped to make into something more; the Sardauna of Sokoto, choosing to remain lion of the North in his regional premiership, sent his lieutenant, Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, to serve in his stead as federal prime minister; and Awolowo, odd man out in this first of what was a series of two-against-one coalitions, resigned his post as Western premier to become leader of the opposition in the federal parliament.


Posts taken, the maneuvering began. The federal parliament decided to form a fourth state, the Midwest, out of the minority area of the Western Region; Awolowo shifted from a markedly right- to a markedly left-wing ideological position in an attempt to shake the somewhat tory government and ride the antineocolonialism horse to power, splitting the Action Group in the process; tensions within the NCNC between the increasingly accommodative old guard and the still radical Young Turks increased, and so on.


But all this more confused issues than clarified them; complicated matters rather than simplified them. Independent (as this is written) for less than a year, Nigeria, the newest of the new states considered here, offers but the most unformed materials upon which to base an assessment of its essential character and probable future. Possessed of what would appear to be an extraordinarily unwieldy set of political institutions hurriedly put together in the last hectic years of constitution-making before independence, lacking a comprehensive national party, a supereminent political leader, an overarching religious tradition or a common cultural background, and--seemingly--of several minds about what to do with freedom now that it has, almost as a matter of course, received it, it has an unusually tentative, up-in-the-air quality, even for a new state.


Nigeria was the least well-defined of the generally ill-defined states reviewed as examples in my original essay. At the time, its situation seemed at once the most hopeful and the most ominous. Hopeful, because it seemed to have escaped the usual upheavals of decolonization, to be large enough to be economically viable, and to have inherited a moderate, well-trained, and experienced elite; ominous, because its primordial group tensions were both extremely great and unbelievably complex. The sense of ominousness proved to be the prophetic one. In January 1966 a military coup led to the death of a number of Northern political leaders, including Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, and the establishment of an Ibo-led military regime. A second coup, led by a Northerner from a minor, that is, non-Hausa, tribe, Colonel Yakubu Gowon, eventuated in the massacre of somewhere between ten and thirty thousand Ibos living in the Hausa areas of the North, while anywhere from two hundred thousand to a million and a half Ibos fled from the North to their Eastern region homeland. In May of 1967, Colonel Gowon assumed emergency powers and sought to divide the Eastern region into three states as a device to increase the power of the non-Ibo Easterners and decrease that of the Ibos. The Ibos, forming themselves into the Republic of Biafra, rebelled, and, after nearly three years of some of the most bitter warfare of modern times (perhaps more than two million people were killed and countless others died of starvation), were suppressed by the federal government under Gowon, now a general and head of the country. After all this, surely one of the most dramatic examples of the power of primordial loyalties and antipathies (though, again, the causes of the coups and the war were not "merely" primordial, as the involvement of the great powers demonstrates), the "tentative," "up-in-the-air" quality of the country remains, as does its complex, intense, and but narrowly balanced pattern of group distrust.





Center-and-arc regionalism and dual leadership in Indonesia, single-party interracial alliance in Malaya, aggressive assimilationism wrapped in constitutional legalism in Burma, a cosmopolitan central party with provincial machines fighting a multifront war against every sort of parochialism known to man (and a few known only to Hindus) in India, sectarian slate-making and log-rolling in Lebanon, Janus-faced autocratic rule in Morocco, and unfocused check-and-balance scrimmaging in Nigeria--are these systems as merely unique as they appear? From this array of efforts after political order, does any evidence emerge for the claim that the integrative revolution is a general process?


Over the cases reviewed here, at least, one common developmental tendency does stand out: the aggregation of independently defined, specifically outlined traditional primordial groups into larger, more diffuse units whose implicit frame of reference is not the local scene but the "nation"--in the sense of the whole society encompassed by the new civil state. The leading principle in terms of which this lumping is mainly carried out varies--region in Indonesia, race in Malaya, language in India, religion in Lebanon, custom in Morocco, and quasi kinship in Nigeria. Whether it involves becoming an Outer Islander in addition to a Minangkabau, a Kachin over and above a Duleng, a Christian as well as a Maronite, or a Yoruba rather than only an Egba, the process, though variously advanced, both as between countries and within them, is general. It is a progressive extension of the sense of primordial similarity and difference generated from the direct and protracted encounter of culturally diverse groups in local contexts to more broadly defined groups of a similar sort interacting within the framework of the entire national society, an extension Freedman has described particularly well for Malaya:

Malaya was and remains a culturally plural society. Paradoxically, from a purely structural point of view, its plural nature is more marked today than ever before. Nationalism and political independence in their early phases have tended to define, on a pan-Malayan basis, ethnic blocs which in former times were merely categories. Then the social map of Malaya was, so to speak, made up of a kaleidoscope of small culturally defined units rearranging themselves in accordance with local conditions. "The Malays" did not interact with "the Chinese" and "the Indians." Some Malays interacted with some Chinese and some Indians. But as "Malays," "Chinese" and "Indians" come to be realized as structural entities on a nationwide scale, they can begin to have total relations with one another.48

The emergence of a nationwide system of "ethnic blocs" engaged in "total relations with one another" sets the stage for a direct clash between personal identity and political integrity in the new states. By generalizing and extending tribal, racial, linguistic, or other principles of primordial solidarity, such a system permits the maintenance of a profoundly rooted "consciousness of kind," and relates that consciousness to the developing civil order. It allows one to continue to claim public acknowledgement of one's existence and import in terms of the familiar symbols of group uniqueness, while at the same time becoming more and more drawn into a political society cast in a mold wholly different from the "natural" community those symbols define. But, on the other hand, it also simplifies and concentrates group antagonisms, raises the specter of separatism by superimposing a comprehensive political significance upon those antagonisms, and, particularly when the crystallizing ethnic blocs outrun state boundaries, stirs international controversies. The integrative revolution does not do away with ethnocentrism; it merely modernizes it.


Yet modernizing ethnocentrism does render it more easily reconciled to the presence of developed national political institutions. The effective operation of such institutions does not require the simple replacement of primordial ties and identifications by civil ones. In all probability, such a replacement is a sheer impossibility. What it does demand is an adjustment between them, an adjustment such that the processes of government can proceed freely without seriously threatening the cultural framework of personal identity, and such that whatever discontinuities in "consciousness of kind" happen to exist in the general society do not radically distort political functioning. At least as they have been conceived here, primordial and civil sentiments are not ranged in direct and implicitly evolutionary opposition to one another in the manner of so many of the theoretical dichotomies of classical sociology-Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft, mechanical and organic solidarity, folk and urban society; the history of their development does not consist simply of the expansion of the one at the expense of the other. Their marked tendency to interfere with one another in the new states stems not from any natural and irremovable antipathy between them but rather from dislocations arising from the differing patterns of change intrinsic to each of them as they respond to the disequilibrating forces of the mid-twentieth century. Their clash is an outcome of the contrasting sorts of transformation that traditional political institutions and traditional modes of self-perception undergo as they move along their separate paths toward modernity.


On the self-perception side, the nature of the modernizing process is virtually uninvestigated; it is not usually even recognized that such a process exists. The already mentioned aggregation of narrowly circumscribed tribal, linguistic, religious, and so on, groups into larger more generalized ethnic blocs set within the context of a common social frame is certainly a crucial part of it. A simple, coherent, broadly defined ethnic structure, such as is found in most industrial societies, is not an undissolved residue of traditionalism but an earmark of modernity. But how this reconstruction of the system of primordial affiliation takes place, the stages through which it passes, the forces that advance or retard it, the transformations in personality structure it involves, all are largely unknown. The comparative sociology (or social psychology) of ethnic change remains to be written.


With respect to the political side, it can hardly be said that the problem is unrecognized, for the notion of a civil society, of the nature of citizenship and the diffuse social sentiments on which it rests, has been a central concern of political science since Aristotle. But it remains nonetheless vague; much easier to point to than describe; much easier to sense than to analyze. What the civic sense more than anything else seems to involve is a definite concept of the public as a separate and distinct body and an attendant notion of a genuine public interest, which though not necessarily superior to, is independent of and at times even in conflict with, both private and other sorts of collective interest. When we talk about the changing forms of civil politics in the new states or elsewhere, it is the vicissitudes of just this sense of the public and the public interest, its waxings and wanings, its alterations in mode of expression, to which we refer. Again, however, though we have at least a general idea of the nature of civility and the range of forms through which it is materialized in industrial states, very little is known about the processes by which the present patterns have come to be what they are. A genuine civil sense is often even denied--incorrectly in my opinion--to traditional states at all. In any case, the stages through which a modern sense of political community arises out of a traditional one have been at best but impressionistically traced, and thus both the roots and the character of civility remain obscure.


A satisfactory understanding of the reasons for the chronic tension in the new states between the need to maintain a socially ratified personal identity and the desire to construct a powerful national community demands, therefore, a more circumstantial tracing of the stages through which their relationship to one another passes as each proceeds along the special lines of its own development. And it is in the histories of those states as they unfold before our eyes that such a tracing is most readily to be accomplished. The diverse constitutional, quasi-constitutional, or simply ad hoc experiments in government that characterize at least those new states described here represent, among other things, an attempt to establish a pattern of politics in which the looming headlong clash of primordial and civil loyalties can be averted. Whether ethnic differentiation is given its political expression in terms of territorial subunits, political parties, government posts, executive leadership, or, as is most common, one or another combination of these, the effort is everywhere to find a formula that will keep the pace of modernization of the nation's sense of selfhood in step with the parallel modernization not only of its political, but of its economic, stratificatory, domestic, and so on, institutions as well. It is by watching the integrative revolution happen that we shall understand it. This may seem like a mere waitand-see policy, inappropriate to the predictive ambitions of science. But such a policy is at least preferable, and more scientific, to waiting and not seeing, which has been largely the case to date.


At any rate, the success of the efforts to find a formula for balance in the midst of change now taking place in the new states is nowhere assured. A high degree of governmental immobilism resulting from the attempt to reconcile divergent primordial groups is everywhere apparent. The mere prejudices that must be tolerated in order to effect such reconciliations are often repugnant. But as the alternatives to such attempts as these to construct a civil politics of primordial compromise would seem to be either Balkanization, Herrenvolk fanaticism, or the forcible suppression of ethnic assertion by a leviathan state, can they be viewed, especially by members of a society that has notably failed to resolve its own most troublesome primordial problem, with either indifference or contempt?



Quoted in S. Harrison, "The Challenge to Indian Nationalism," Foreign Affairs 34 ( April 1956): 3.


For a very dim view, see S. Harrison, India: The Most Dangerous Decades (Princeton, N.J., 1960). For a lively Indian view that sees the "scheme of dividing India in the name of Linguistic States" as "full of poison" but yet necessary "to make easy the way to democracy and to remove racial and cultural tension," see B. R. Ambedkar, Thoughts on Linguistic States ( Delhi, ca. 1955).


See, for example, K. Deutsch, Nationalism and Social Communication ( New York, 1953), pp. 1-14; R. Emerson, From Empire to Nation ( Cambridge, Mass., 1960); J. Coleman, Nigeria: Background to Nationalism ( Berkeley, 1958), p. 419 ff; F. Hertz, Nationalism in History and Politics ( New York, 1944), pp. 11-15.


W. Z. Laqueur, ed., The Middle East in Transition: Studies in Contemporary History ( New York, 1958).


Coleman, Nigeria, pp. 425-426.


Emerson, Empire to Nation, pp. 95-96.


I. Berlin, Two Concepts of Liberty ( New York, 1958), p. 42.


E. Shils, "Political Development in the New States," Comparative Studies in Society and History 2 ( 1960): 265-292, 379-411.


E. Shils, "Primordial, Personal, Sacred and Civil Ties," British Journal of Sociology 8 ( 1957): 130-145.


Ambedkar, Thoughts on Linguistic States, p. 11. Noting that the modern bilingual states of Canada, Switzerland, and (white) South Africa might be quoted against him, Ambedkar adds: "It must not be forgotten that the genius of India is quite different than the genius of Canada, Switzerland, and South Africa. The genius of India is to divide--the genius of Switzerland, South Africa and Canada to unite." [In 1972, both this note and my passage about the declining role of primordial divisions in "modern" countries seem, to put it mildly, rather less convincing than they did in 1962, when this essay was originally written. But if events in Canada, Belgium, Ulster, and so on have made primordial definition seem less predominantly a "new state" phenomenon, they have made the general argument developed here seem even more germane.]


For a similar but rather differently conceived and organized listing, see Emerson, Empire to Nation, Chaps. 6, 7, and 8.


The intensity, prevalence, or even the reality of such desires in each case is another matter, about which nothing is being asserted here. How much, if any, feeling in favor of assimilation to Malaya exists among the South Thailand Malays, the actual strength of the Abako idea, or the attitudes of Tamils in Ceylon toward the Dravidian separatists of Madras are matters for empirical research.


Nor does the interstate significance of primordial sentiments lie wholly in their divisive power. Pan-African attitudes, weak and ill-defined as they may be, have provided a useful context of mild solidarity for the confrontation of leaders of major African countries. Burma's strenuous (and expensive) efforts to strengthen and revitalize international Buddhism, as in the Sixth Great Council at Yegu in 1954, served, at least temporarily, to link her more effectively with the other Theravada countries--Ceylon, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. And a vague, mainly racial, feeling of common "Malayness" has played a positive role in the relations between Malaya and Indonesia and Malaya and the Philippines, and even, more recently, between Indonesia and the Philippines.


I. Wallerstein, "The Emergence of Two West African Nations: Ghana and the Ivory Coast" (Ph.D. thesis, Columbia University, 1959).


For a brief discussion of this problem with respect to Indonesia, see C. Geertz , "The Javanese Village," in Local, Ethnic and National Loyalties in Village Indonesia, ed. G. W. Skinner, Yale University, Southeast Asia Studies, Cultural Report Series, No. 8 ( New Haven, 1959), pp. 34 - 41.


S. Sjahrir, Out of Exile ( New York, 1949), p. 215.


As Talcott Parsons has pointed out, defined as the capacity to mobilize social resources for social goals, is not a "zero-sum" quantity within a social system, but, like wealth, is generated by the working of particular, in this case political rather than economic, institutions. "The Distribution of Power in American Society," World Politics 10 ( 1957): 123-143. The growth of a modern state within a traditional social context represents, therefore, not merely the shifting or transfer of a fixed quantity of power between groups in such a manner that aggregatively the gains of certain groups or individuals match the losses of others, but rather the creation of a new and more efficient machine for the production of power itself, and thus an increase in the general political capacity of the society. This is a much more genuinely "revolutionary" phenomenon than a mere redistribution, however radical, of power within a given system.


D. K. Rangenekar, "The Nationalist Revolution in Ceylon," Pacific Affairs 33 ( 1960): 361-374.


Quoted in M. Weiner, "The Politics of South Asia," in G. Almond and J. Coleman , The Politics of the Developing Areas ( Princeton , N.J., 1960), pp. 153 - 246.


About half the Tamils are stateless "Indian Tamils"--that is, individuals transported to Ceylon in the nineteenth century to work on British tea estates, and now rejected as citizens by India on the ground that they live in Ceylon, and by Ceylon on the ground that they are but sojourners from India.


Commenting on the spectacular failure of Sir Ivor Jennings' 1954 prediction that Bandaranaike was unlikely to win the leadership of the nationalist movement because he was a "political Buddhist," having been educated as a Christian, Rangenekar shrewdly remarks, "In an Asian setting a Western-educated politician who renounces his Westernization and upholds indigenous culture and civilization wields a much greater influence than the most dynamic local thoroughbred can ever hope to do." Rangenekar, "Nationalist Revolution in Ceylon."




H. Wriggins, "Impediments to Unity in New Nations--The Case of Ceylon" (unpublished).


D. Apter, The Gold Coast in Transition ( Princeton, N.J., 1955), p. 68.


H. Fieth, "Indonesia," in G. McT. Kahin, ed., Government and Politics of Southeast Asia ( Ithaca, N.Y., 1959), pp. 155 - 238 ; and Kahin G. McT., ed., Major Governments of Asia ( Ithaca, N.Y., 1958), pp. 471-592. This is not to say that the crystallization of regional enmities was the sole motivating force in the Padang rebellion, nor that the Java-Outer Islands contrast was the only axis of opposition. In all the quoted examples in this essay, the desire to be recognized as a responsible agent whose wishes, acts, hopes, and opinions matter is intertwined with the more familiar desires for wealth, power, prestige, and so on. Simple primordial determinism is no more defensible a position than economic determinism.


W. Lewis, "Feuding and Social Change in Morocco," Journal of Conflict Resolution 5 ( 1961): 43-54.


R. Nolte, "The Arab Solidarity Agreement," American University Field Staff Letter, Southwest Asia Series, 1957.


P. Talbot, "Raising a Cry for Secession," American University Field Staff Letter, South Asia Series, 1957.


M. Weiner, "Community Associations in Indian Politics" (unpublished). The reverse process, "ethnogenesis by census redefinition," also occurs, as when in Libreville, the Gabon capital, Togolese and Dahomeans are lumped statistically into a new category, "the Popo," or in Northern Rhodesia copperbelt towns Henga, Tonga, Tambuka, and so on, are "by common consent" grouped together as Nyasalanders, these manufactured groupings then taking on a real "ethnic" existence. I. Wallerstein, "Ethnicity and National Integration in West Africa," Cahiers d'Ètudes africaines 3 ( 1960): 129-139.


The 35 percent figure can be found in N. Barbour, ed., A Survey of North West Africa ( New York, 1959), p. 79; the 60 percent figure in D. Rustow, "The Politics of the Near East," in Almond and Coleman, Politics of Developing Areas, pp. 369-453.


On Burmese dress, see H. Tinker, The Union of Burma ( New York, 1957), p. 184. On Nigerian tribal histories, see Coleman, Nigeria, pp. 327-328. On Ceylonese license plates, see Wriggins, "Ceylon's Time of Troubles, 1956-8," Far Eastern Survey 28 ( 1959): 33-38. On Hindi railroad signs, see Weiner, "Community Associations."


For a general discussion of the role of voluntary associations in the urbanization process in modernizing societies, see Wallerstein, "The Emergence of Two West African Nations," pp. 144-230.


As, with the partial exception of Indonesia [and now--1972--Morocco], all the following summaries are based on the literature rather than on field research, a full bibliography of sources would obviously be too lengthy for inclusion in an essay. I therefore list below only those works upon which I have relied rather heavily. The best general survey including the countries discussed is Almond and Coleman, Politics of Developing Areas, and for Asia I have found the two previously cited symposia edited by Kahin, Governments and Politics of Southeast Asia and Major Governments of Asia, most useful. Emerson, Empire to Nation, also offers some valuable comparative materials.

INDONESIA: H. Feith, The Wilopo Cabinet, 1952-1953 ( Ithaca, N.Y., 1958); H. Feith , The Indonesian Elections of 1955 ( Ithaca, N.Y., 1952); G. Pauker, "The Role of Political Organization in Indonesia," Far Eastern Survey 27 ( 1958): 129-142; G. W. Skinner, Local, Ethnic. and National Loyalties in Village Indonesia.

MALAYA: M. Freedman, "The Growth of a Plural Society in Malaya," Pacific Affairs 33 ( 1960): 158-167; N. Ginsburg and C. F. Roberts Jr., Malaya ( Seattle, 1958); J. N. Parmer, "Malaya's First Year of Independence," Far Fastern Survey 27 ( 1958): 161-168; T. E. Smith, "The Malayan Elections of 1959," Pacific Affairs 33 ( 1960): 38-47.

BURMA: L. Bigelow, "The 1960 Elections in Burma," Far Eastern Survey 29 ( 1960): 70-74; G. Fairbairn, "Some Minority Problems in Burma," Pacific Affairs 30 ( 1957): 299-311; J. Silverstein, "Politics in the Shan State: The Question of the Secession from the Union of Burma," The Journal of Asian Studies 18 ( 1958): 43-58; H. Tinker, The Union of Burma.

INDIA: Ambedkar, Thoughts on Linguistic States; S. Harrison, India; R. L. Park and I. Tinker, eds., Leadership and Political Institutions in India ( Princeton, N.J., 1959); Report of the States Reorganization Commission ( New Delhi, 1955); M. Weiner, Party Politics in India ( Princeton, N.J., 1957).

LEBANON: V. Ayoub, "Political Structure of a Middle East Community: A Druze Village in Mount Lebanon" (Ph.D. thesis, Harvard University, 1955); P. Rondot , Les Institutions politiques du Liban ( Paris, 1957); N. A. Ziadeh, Syria and Lebanon ( London, 1957). N. A. Ziadeh, "The Lebanese Elections, 1960," Middle East Journal 14 ( 1960): 367-381.

MOROCCO: D. Ashford, Political Change in Morocco ( Princeton, N.J., 1961); N. Barbour , ed., A Survey of North West Africa ( New York, 1959); H. Favre, "Le Maroc A L'Epreuve de la DÈmocratisation" (unpublished, 1958); J. and S. Lacouture , Le Maroc A L'Epreuve ( Paris, 1958); W. Lewis, "Rural Administration in Morocco," Middle East Journal 14 ( 1960): 45-54; W. Lewis, "Feuding and Social Change in Morocco," The Journal of Conflict Resolution 5 ( 1961): 43-54.

NIGERIA: J. Coleman, Nigeria; Report of the Commission Appointed to Enquire into the Fears of Minorities and the Means of Allaying Them ( London, 1958); H. and M. Smythe, The New Nigerian Elite ( Stanford, Calif., 1960).

For current events I have found the American University Field Staff Letters, particularly those on Indonesia ( W. Hanna), Malaya ( W. Hanna), India ( P. Talbot), Morocco ( C. Gallagher), and Nigeria ( R. Frodin), very useful.

[Since the above list was compiled, a decade ago, an enormous number of new works bearing on our subject have appeared. So far as I know, however, a comprehensive bibliography in this field does not yet exist.]



Fairbairn, "Some Minority Problems in Burma."


E. Shils, The Intellectual Between Tradition and Modernity: The Indian Situation, Comparative Studies in Society and History, Supplement 1 ( The Hague, 1961), p. 95. [Now, of course, it is his daughter, Mrs. Gandhi, who stands there, and rather less wistfully, but the pattern remains.]


"The success of the Kerala Communist Party as the first regional Communist Party in India to capture control of a state government can be explained, above all, by its ability to manipulate the regional patriotism of all Kerala at the same time that it manipulated politically strategic class lobbies within linguistic boundaries."-- Harrison, India, p. 193. In Bombay, both the Communists and the Praja Socialists joined in the Maharashtra linguistic front; in opposed Gujerat, the Gujerati one.


Ambedkar, Thoughts on Linguistic States, p. 12. The Chinese attack may, of course, provide an even more powerful cement than Nehru--a common enemy.


Ayoub, "Political Structure," p. 82.


C. Coon, Caravan ( London, 1952), p. 295.


Ibid., pp. 264 - 265.


For this concept and its analytic implications, see D. Apter, The Political Kingdom in Uganda ( Princeton, N.J., 1961), pp. 20-28.


Favre, "Le Maroc. [Since working in Morocco, I would now formulate some of these matters a bit differently: see C. Geertz, Islam Observed: Religious Development in Morocco and Indonesia ( New Haven, 1968), esp. Chap. 3.1.]


Quotations in this sentence from Lahcen al-Youssi and in the following from Addi ou Bihi taken from Lacouture, Le Maroc, p. 90.


Ibid., p. 93.


Quoted in Ashford, Political Change, p. 322.


Coleman, Nigeria, pp. 319-331.


The whole picture was further complicated, not only by the fact that tribal identifications within the three major groups had not altogether given way before the wider ethnolinguistic loyalty, but also that not all members of such larger units were located in their home regions, having migrated or spilled over into the others where they sometimes formed, particularly in the towns, an important oppositional minority. The whole problem of the allegiance of an individual living outside his "home region" is an extremely ticklish one for all new states in which integrative problems have been coped with by creating territorial substates tinged with primordial significance, as Nehru's continual insistence that, for example, a Bengali living in Madras is a citizen of the state level, of Madras, not of Bengal, and that all notions of a "national homeland" for ethnic groups living elsewhere in India must be stamped out demonstrates. The additional fact that some such groups are more mobile than others (in Nigeria, the Ibo; in India, the Marwari and so on) only intensifies this problem.


Freedman, "Plural Society in Malaya."



The integrative revolution: primordial sentiments and politics in the new states, in: Clifford Geertz (ed.): Old societies and new states: the quest for modernity in Asia and Africa. New-York/N.Y./USA 1963: The Free Press of Glencoe & London/UK 1963: Collier-Macmillan, pp. 105-157

cf. The interpretation of cultures: selected essays, New-York/N.Y./USA etc. 1973: Basic Books, pp. 255-310.


online source:


Using this text is also subject to the general HyperGeertz-Copyright-regulations based on Austrian copyright-law (2001), which - in short - allow a personal, nonprofit & educational (all must apply) use of material stored in data bases, including a restricted redistribution of such material, if this is also for nonprofit purposes and restricted to the scientific community (both must apply), and if full and accurate attribution to the author, original source and date of publication, web location(s) or originating list(s) is given ("fair-use-restriction"). Any other use transgressing this restriction is subject to a direct agreement between a subsequent user and the holder of the original copyright(s) as indicated by the source(s). HyperGeertz@WorldCatalogue cannot be held responsible for any neglection of these regulations and will impose such a responsibility on any unlawful user.

Each copy of any part of a  transmission of a HyperGeertz-Text must therefore contain this same copyright notice as it appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission, including any specific copyright notice as  indicated above by the original copyright holder and/ or the previous online source(s).