This Special Issue of Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Journal focuses on the domination
of social and political relations by Ethnocracy – rule or would-be rule by an ethnic
group or ethnos, as distinct from Democracy or rule by the demos of all the people.
Ethnocracy encompasses state regimes and associated political movements and parties
that discriminate systematically in favour of a particular ethnic group (or groups)
and against others. When we proposed the Special Issue in late 2014 ethnocratic practices
were as prevalent as they had ever been; and now two years later they appear to be
on the increase with an ethno-populist upsurge and the election or threatened election
of governments pursuing ethnocratic agendas. From India to the USA, from Russia to
Hungary, leading politicians openly discriminate against ethnic ‘others’ to attract
support from ‘their own’ ethnic groups; across the European Union and in other liberal
democracies they increasingly scapegoat ‘immigrants’ to hide their own inadequacies
and further their political objectives. Now, more than ever, it is critical that the
dynamics of ethnocracy are more clearly understood. This Issue documents the logics
of ethnocracy in a variety of different contexts, posing questions about how it develops
and how it can be challenged.