Industrialization and Assimilation: understanding ethnic change in the modern world

Hosted by the Department of International Development

MAR.2.04, Marshall Building


John Breuilly

John Breuilly

Professor Emeritus of Nationalism and Ethnicity, LSE

Elliott Green

Elliott Green

Associate Professor of Development Studies, LSE

Maya Tudor

Maya Tudor

Associate Professor of Government and Public Policy, Oxford University


Kathy Hochstetler

Kathy Hochstetler

Professor of International Development and HOD, Department of International Development, LSE

Join us for the book launch of Elliott Green's book, Industrialization and Assimilation: Understanding Ethnic Change in the Modern World, which examines the process of ethnic identity change in a broad historical context.

Elliott Green explains how and why ethnicity changes across time, showing that, by altering the basis of economic production from land to labour and removing people from the 'idiocy of rural life', industrialization makes societies more ethnically homogenous. More specifically, the author argues that industrialization lowers the relative value of rural land, leading people to identify less with narrow rural identities in favour of broader identities that can aid them in navigating the formal urban economy. Using large-scale datasets that span the globe as well as detailed case studies ranging from mid-twentieth-century Turkey to contemporary Botswana, Somalia and Uganda, as well as evidence from Native Americans in the United States and the Māori in New Zealand, Industrialization and Assimilation provides a new framework to understand the origins of modern ethnic identities.

Copies of the book will be on sale outside MAR.2.04 after the event. 

About the speakers

Elliott D. Green (@ElliottDGreen) is Associate Professor of Development Studies in the Department of International Development at the London School of Economics.  His research focusses on the origins of ethnic and national identification and the political economy of development, with a regional focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. His research has been published in such journals as the British Journal of Political ScienceComparative Political StudiesEconomic Development and Cultural ChangeInternational Studies Quarterly and the Journal of Modern African Studies, where he was the co-winner of the Kimble Award for the best article published in 2020.

About the discussants

John Breuilly is Professor Emeritus of Nationalism and Ethnicity in the Department of Government at LSE. Professor Breuilly's expertise lies in modern German history and the comparative history of modern Europe. He is also involved in modern urban history, the history of socialism and liberalism, the history of bourgeois culture and the history and theory of nationalism and of modernisation.

Maya Tudor (@MayaJTudor) is an Associate Professor of Politics and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. She researchers the origins of effective and democratic states with a regional focus on South Asia. She is the author of two books, The Promise of Power: The Origins of Democracy in India and Autocracy in Pakistan (2013) and Varieties of Nationalism (with Harris Mylonas, 2023 Forthcoming). She writes for the media on a regular basis, including in Foreign Affairs, Washington Post, New Statesman, The Hindu, India Express, and The Scotsman.

About the Chair

Kathryn Hochstetler (@hochstet) is Professor and Head of the Department of International Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has published widely on themes of environment and development, especially in Brazil and other large emerging economies. Her most recent book is Political Economies of Energy Transition: Wind and Solar Power in Brazil and South Africa (Cambridge University Press 2021). 


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