A Literature Review Of Ethnic Diversity Models Politics Essay

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This review of literature contains three sections. It begins with a review on ethnic diversity management models. Later on, some experiences on ethnic diversity management models in other nations will be discussed. This section briefly glances on the policies which the political science researchers and policy makers pursue them to deal with ethnic diversity in the world. The review will go on by a quick look on the scholarly work on the relationship between the responsiveness of the authority structure toward ethnic demands and national unity. The last section of this review talks about ethnicity and ethnic diversity models in Iran during recent one hundred years.

The various policies toward ethnic minorities

Theoreticians and policy makers in various multi-ethnic and multicultural countries mention some models to deal with the issue. However the term what it is called "diversity management" was introduced in the late 1990s and is a renewal of old strategies to combat discrimination and promote equal opportunities (Kamp et al., 2004) but from the beginning of the last century, many attempts went on to create proper models to resolve the problems of diversity in the societies. Coakley (1992) introduces the set of policies adopted by states to deal with their ethnic minorities, ranging from genocide, population transfer, and boundary alteration to assimilation and accommodation. The nature of the policies adopted depends on such characteristics as the source of differentiation of the minority, its relationship to other groups in the state in demographic terms, the nature of the cultural division of labour, the tradition of the state in terms of its recognition of individual and group rights, and the state's autonomy in the international domain. The issue of which strategies are appropriate in dealing with ethnic questions is ultimately a political one (Coakley, 1992).

based on Rokkan & Urwin's center - periphery model (1983), Coakley classifies strategies for ethnic conflict resolution in terms of the following dimensions:

Physical: conflict between state and minority for physical survival;

Territorial: conflict between state boundaries and the frontiers of the ethnic minority;

Cultural: conflict between the culture (and especially language) institutions and symbols of the state and those of the ethnic minority;

Political: conflict between the objectives of the state and the ethnic group in terms of the overall program for ethnic conflict resolution.

3. Assimilation 4. Acculturation

1. Indigenization 2. Accommodation

Dimension I


survival of


Dimension II


survival of


Dimension III


survival of


Dimension IV


Change originates with state?

Yes No







5. Population



7. Accommodation

6. Boundary


7. Genocide 8. Ethnic suicide

Figure 7: A Typology of Ethnic Management Strategies (Coakley, 1992)

The most significant features of the subordinate group appear to be (1) the type of group, in terms of the factors that distinguish it from the dominant group; (2) the demographic characteristics of the group, including its relative and absolute size, its growth rate, and its settlement pattern; and (3) the group's location in any cultural division of labour.1 To these may be added two characteristics of the political system: (4) the state tradition in terms of the relationship between individual and group rights; and (5) the state's autonomy in the international environment (Coakley, 1992).

Some of other scholar count these models as; Mosaic, Melting pot, Assimilation, and Segregation (Brug & Verkuyten, 2007), Re-classification and Assimilation (Wimmer, 2008), Pluralism - Civic - Assimilation and Ethnist (Bourhis et al,1997), Multicultural, Mosaic, Assimilation, Segregation (Berry, 2001), Assimilation and Pluralism (Huo et al., 2006) and so forth.

The review of the literature shows that there is a prominence in favour of the two recent models. Also there are some ambiguous on the definition of each term. For example, some scholars distinguish between assimilation and melting pot (see Brug et al., 2007), some others consider them as a same model, as same as pluralism and multiculturalism and the mosaic.

Nevertheless, this part of review will concentrate on these models of ethnic groups' management. These models are also in the two pole of ethnic managing policy. Since the pluralism considers more respect toward minorities' rights, the other has more regard to the unity and oneness of the society and in favour of its mainstream. A little looking at the articles on the area of study enforces the researcher to resolve the ambiguity of the definitions. So at first stage of the review, the author pays attention to the definitions.


Huo and Molina's (2006) definition for assimilation is very simple and short. They define the term as: "eradicating group-based distinctions". Assimilation is effectively a "straight-line" theory, implying that ethnic groups will "disappear" into a single host society, eventually conforming to the values, mores, institutions, and lifestyle of the majority group (Sizemore, 2004).Assimilation also is defined as the voluntary adoption of cultural attributes of the dominant society by members of ethnic minorities (Bloom, 2008).

Theories of assimilation developed in response to earlier waves of immigration to the United States in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century (Greenman & Yu, 2005). Indeed, Assimilationists propose that the nation-state attains the unity through transmit concentration away from subgroups ties toward a common identity. Within the process of assimilation, subgroup ties are replaced by allegiance to and positive feelings toward the common group and its members. Huo and Molina (2006) consider the aim of this approach replacing one set of ties and loyalties (e.g. ethnic group) with another (the nation-state).

Theoreticians like Milton M. Gordon and etc. have proposed some theories on assimilation and assumed different kinds and degrees for it. Gordon (1964) assumes seven stages for ethnic groups' assimilation as:

"Acculturation: new comers adopt language, dress, and daily customs of the host society (including values and norms)

Structural assimilation: large-scale entrance of minorities will enter cliques, clubs and institutions in the host society.

Marital assimilation: widespread intermarriage

Identification assimilation: the minority feels bonded to the dominant culture.

Attitude reception assimilation refers to the absence of prejudice and discrimination.

Behavior reception assimilation refers to the absence of prejudice and discrimination.

Civic assimilation occurs when there is an absence of values and power struggles" (P67).

Classic Assimilation theory was criticized by some theoretician. Regarding to its functions and causes, Gordon (1964) treated assimilation as a social process to be explained rather than as a causal factor affecting outcomes, while some of the earlier Assimilationists like Warner and Srole (1945) assumed it as a necessary and integral part of the process of adaptation and upward socioeconomic mobility for immigrant groups, to the host society (Greenman et al., 2005).

Over the time, Assimilation school has faced to some serious critiques. Van den Berghe (1983) divided these critics into two categories; Marxists and liberals. The first rejected assimilation because they believed it did not apply to non-white minorities. The second criticized assimilation because of primordial elements and the revival of ethnicity in the context of the US. Some other scholars criticized the theory because of their finding on negative effects of immigrants.

Developing these ideas as a critique of classical assimilation theory, Portes and Zhou (1993) propose the theory of "segmented assimilation." This theory asserts that the United States is a stratified and unequal society, and that therefore different "segments" of society are available for immigrants to assimilate into (Greenman et al., 2005). Segmented assimilation supposes three possible paths of assimilation that immigrants may take. 1)increasing integration into the American middle class, 2) into the urban underclass and 3) preservation of the immigrant community's culture and values, accompanied by economic integration (Portes and Zhou, 1993). Segmented assimilation theory warns of the imminent possibility of ever greater inequality between classes, but it also explains how groups that face alternative upward and downward possibilities can most advantageously negotiate their assimilation. Finally, despite to many critiques on the theory, according to Greenman et al (2005) assimilation theory is still relevant.


Pluralism is at the opposite point of assimilation and similarly has many degrees and dimensions but in all of them preserving and (even) intensifying existent differences is taken for granted. Cox (1971) believes that due to its natural, the term of pluralism, is used and discussed widely among the sociologists without reaching to the conceptualization point. Thus there are some problems on understanding and unique meaning. According to Huo and Molina (2006) Pluralism is acknowledging subgroup identities. For Kim (2006) pluralism has linkage to the world view of relativism that "de-emphasizes universalities while emphasizing group differences in human conditions, particularly in languages and religious traditions".

According to Kim (2006) and Huo & Molina (2006) and other proponents of pluralism, indeed, pluralist view is shifting from homogeneity to heterogeneity. In this strategy of dealing with the ethnic diversity, it is assumed that sub-group identity is irremovable. If so, there is no other way to reduce ethnic conflict but respecting the minority by majority and arguing that "they are a valued component of the whole". (Huo & Molina, 2006, p361) Pluralistic approach is divided to some degree of pluralism. Since Structural pluralism looks at group organization based on ethnic lines, Cultural pluralism goes far to ethnic differences along lines of values, beliefs, norms and skills-is of minor importance (Gordon, 1964).

Some scholars examined viability of pluralism by evaluating the rule of "subgroup respect". Huo and Molina (2006) mention this term as "a key psychological principle underlying pluralism" (p361). According to their definition "subgroup respect" can be meant as feelings that one's subgroup is recognized, accepted, and valued by members of a common group.

Ethnic diversity management Models in practice

In real world the functions of means and applications are important rather than their definitions. Indeed the aim of each creation in the theoretical sphere is the putting to practical use of theories. In the context of ethnic diversity management, there are a great deal of variety of theories and models. Some theoreticians and researchers seek to endorsement of the models in particular societies (Brug and Verkuyten, 2007). Others look for the viability of particular model. (Huo & Molina, 2006 - Greenman and Yu, 2006)

Endorsement of the models is at the core of any attempts of diversity management. Brug and Verkuyten in their article have examined the endorsement of four models for dealing with multiculturalism among ethnic minority and majority (youth in the Netherlands). These models are: mosaic, melting pot, assimilation, and segregation. They based their evaluation on Vermeulen and Slijper's arguments.

According to Vermeulen and Slijper (2003), these three arguments (the value of cultural identity and ethnic group identities in general, social equality and equal opportunities, and social cohesion and state unity) are at the core of endorsement for each ethnic diversity management. Brug and Verkuyten findings link between Endorsement of the models and beliefs about equality, national cohesion and group identification. Thus among majority and minority, the former measure was positively related to endorsement of the mosaic and melting-pot models, and negatively to the assimilation and segregation models. It is predictably the Assimilation has a huge positive effect on national cohesion as same as the probability of mosaic model's negative effect on. Due to its nature and because of more respect to minority, the finding states that minorities were more in favor of the mosaic model and less in favor of assimilation. This situation is not comparable to the majorities i.e. the majority was in favor of assimilation more than the others. Finally the research as the last findings, minorities agree with the mosaic model in sake of preservation of their identity, contrary for the assimilation.

Van den Berghe (1983) evaluated the application of the models in three countries; US, Canada and Australia. He argued that the melting pot is clearly misleading but assimilation model in these countries succeed but among the European immigrants. In his article; Australia, Canada and the United States: Ethnic Melting Pots or Plural Societies?, he discussed the problems of melting pot and assimilation in the three countries under consideration here and finally he recommended a plural dynamic and - what he calls - policy of "cultural laissez-faire" for all three countries.

For another instance, Yamamoto (2007) examined the exercise of the two models together in Philippine. He believes that the Philippines government successfully applied both of models into the society. On the one hand, the government assimilated the various ethnic groups by creating a common language and education system and establishing modern political/social institutions. This policy leaded to destruction of the traditional mechanisms of coordination between ethnic groups. On the other hand, by creating a system of power sharing between state and ethnic groups, promoted the dialogue among ethnic leaders.

The review of literature shows that almost the entire world's countries have experienced one or a variation of models to deal with ethnic or migrant groups. It should be recalled the exercise of the ethnic management models has caused many debates among policy makers as well as scholars. These debates raised the questions on failures and advantages of each model in every context. Both of the approaches were criticized because of their negative effects on ethnic groups or the cohesive of the nation-states. These debates redounds to new approach which is called; "Diversity Management". However, according to many writers, this new approach refers to various level of society. Individual, organizational and the societal level of the societies were considered in this kind of management (Faist, 2009).

In his article, Diversity - a new mode of incorporation?, Thomas Faist (2009) argues that there is an immense growth in diversity through the migration in western societies in recent decades and this growth has caused to take up public and academic context. Faist states that Behind the talk of diversity in relation to incorporation is, or at least is claimed to be, the understanding that organizations of the majority society should not discriminate against their staff, their members, or their clientele on the grounds of cultural characteristics, but rather should be sensitive and responsive to these characteristics. These changes raise the question of whether diversity is a new mode or paradigm different from assimilation and multiculturalism.

Faist claims that definitions of diversity are seldom enlightening, so he refers to Roosevelt's definition: "Diversity refers to any mixture of items characterized by differences and similarities"(Thomas, 1996, P5).

By the aim of obtain a clear image of the diversity, Faist compares assimilation and pluralism's backgrounds, effects and outlooks. Explaining the exercise of multiculturalism in Canada and Australia, Faist claims these countries were the first of implement of this kind of policies. However he distinguishes between these countries in exercising multiculturalism. According to Faist's argument:

"Diversity perspective takes the already existing skills and experiences of migrants as the starting point and interprets them as competences to be used by organizations. It thus assumes that the institutions of the majority society must also adapt and accommodate for migrant experiences, implicitly referring to the need for mutual adjustment, albeit in an asymmetric way" (P175).

Generally it can be concluded however "diversity" is a new approach in ethnic management, but there are some similarities between this point of view and pluralistic policy though when the first emphasizes on a competence-based, the latter's agenda is rights-based. "Diversity" can be considered as a step forward in ethnic debates.

The integration policies implemented by states, Yamamoto (2007)categorized them into two types. He refers to the first as policies through which the ruling group in a state attempts to assimilate other ethnic groups into a single nation. And the second type considers the policies through which the ruling group attempts to create systems of power-sharing between ethnic groups and/or the institutions that promote dialogue among the leaders of these groups; this results in the coordination of the interests of each group instead of coercive assimilation.

Lustick et al. (2004) try to show the relationship between repression by the state in one hand and power sharing and responsiveness of the government toward the minorities at the other hand. They conclude that repression, i.e., strengthening a rigid and unresponsive regime bureaucracy, may decrease mobilization by the latently secessionist identity, but it does not significantly decrease secessionist activity within that community. There is no strong support in our experiments, in other words, for a direct relationship between increased repression and the robustness of secessionist movements. Similarly, increasing the responsiveness of the authority structure did not substantially alter secessionist activity.

In contrast, increasing representativeness encouraged public participation by the potentially secessionist, regionally concentrated minority and did in fact decrease the secessionist activity. Particularly strong effects in this direction followed the creation of semiautonomous.

The general view here is that by responding positively and integratively, if only partially, to the demands of disgruntled minorities, secessionism can be abated and secession prevented while preserving the predominance and stability of the central state. By making government more responsive to the concerns of disgruntled minorities, potentially secessionist groups will be encouraged to feel confident of representation and protection for their most vital concerns. Such institutional responses by the central state are deemed capable, if designed and implemented properly, of reducing the intensity of separatist demands by those who otherwise might make them. (Lustic et al, 2004) In Hirschman terms, the impetus for exit is to be blunted by providing opportunities for voice and reasons for loyalty (Hirschmann, 1970cited in Lustick et al, 2004)

in attempt to verify how political and economic context might be relevant in explaining political violence in multi-ethnic societies, Mousseau (2001) accepts whether or not ethnically heterogeneous states are more prone to extreme political violence than homogeneous states. Despite to theories of resource mobilization, ethnic competition, and split labour market which propose that democratization and economic modernization encourage ethnic competition, and also primordialists' supposition, he concluded that in none of his analyses on the data on 126 nations during the period 1948-82, the variable for ethnic heterogeneity significantly related to higher levels of political violence.

A similarly nuanced view of the curvilinear patterns associated with different combinations of pairs of important variables is advanced by Atul Kohli. He argues that if the central authority structure is strong but willing to be accommodating and responsive to demands by potentially secessionist minorities, the result will be short-term increases in ethno political mobilization but long-term decreases in likelihood that the state will face potent secessionist threats. Unaccommodating strong states can expect continuing cycles of mobilization and repression. Weak but accommodating states face increased possibilities of peaceful breakup. Weak and unaccommodating states can be expected to experience turbulence or secession/collapse (Kohli, 1997)


The review shows considerable amount of literature has been published on the effects of plural policies toward ethnic groups on the mobilization or demobilization of ethnic groups. These studies mostly have been did in the West context so the researchers have to study own situation of ethnic diversity.

The most striking result to emerge from the data is that almost all nations of the world are moving toward plural view upon management of ethnic diversity and also the assimilationist view is going to be abandoned. Also the review on the literature indicates that there is an unambiguous relationship between regarding the ethnic groups' rights and increasing in the level of unity and sense of solidarity toward nation and majority. However this relation always have been assumed, but rarely demonstrated so further studies with more focus on the relation between governments' policies and unity of the nation is therefore suggested.

Ethnicity & ethnic diversity management in Iran


This part reviews the literature on ethnicity and ethnic diversity management studies in the case of Iran. Despite importance of these issues in the Iranian context, the review shows (unfortunately) that there is little consideration on the ethnicity studies. Moreover, most of these little studies have concentrated on ethnic groups which migrated to the western countries. The rest studies on in the case of Iranian ethnicity focus on anthropology not on ethno politics. Finally it can be said that studies on managing Iranian ethnic diversity is very rare.

Iran is a country of diverse ethnic and linguistic communities. There are Kurds in the west and northwest, Baluchs in the east, Azeris in the north and northwest, and Arabs in the south. Persians are situated today in the central areas. In the eyes of many foreign observers, such as Bradley (2006) and Rubin (2005), Iran is more an empire than a nation. But many Iranian researchers do not recognize this view that based on Iranian disintegrated ethnic groups. Ahmadi (2003) in his book "Ethnicity and Ethno politics in Iran: Myth and Reality" discusses on concepts like ethnicity and ethnic groups and their application in Iran context. He concludes that these terms are created in western sphere and not capable to explain the reality of people variety in Mid-East generally and Iran in particular. Ahmadi argues there are fewer racial and cultural criteria to distinguish between different existing linguistic or religious groups, as Walker Connor's notion of ethnic group as a distinguished racial and linguistic wholeness. Thus, according to Ahmadi, what is called ethnicity in Iran; it is more a state of mind than a historical fact. Due to the above mentioned, he prefers to use "tribe" instead of "ethnic". It is notable that despite to Ahmadi's claim on use tribe instead of ethnic, we see widely usage of "ethnic" in his books and articles. Even though I agree with Ahmadi's consideration on western created terms like ethnic and ethnicity, but I argue that using of terms like "tribe" instead of ethnic, has not enough sense to cover completely the issue.

Regardless of this consideration, through the history of Iran these various ethnic groups have lived in graphically distinct regions and provinces. During the last one hundred years, ethnic tensions have raised. Iran has experienced two secessionist republics in Azerbaijan and Kurdistan during the World War II era. In addition, whenever the central government weakened, ethnic movements started to take action. In a few years after the Islamic republic, ethnic areas in Kurdistan, Turkmen, Azerbaijan, Khuzestan, and Baluchistan were challenged with the disorder and civil war. The trend of ethnic tensions in Iran was not straight during the times but frequently changed.

From the far history till now, there are some debates on which ethnic groups have most risk on Iran's stability. The literature shows there is no consensus. While Rubin (2005) as a specialist on Iran affairs in the US government, in his article "Domestic Threats to Iranian Stability: Khuzestan and Baluchistan" evaluates the ethnic groups' threats on Iran stability but concludes that only Arabs and Baluchs are the threats. He claims Iran's regime is experiencing new waves of domestic violence and however these violence have some ethnic components but Iranian nationalism trumps ethnic separatism. Rubin considers these waves of violence as a sign of weak central government control but no separatism sentiment. Salehi (2005) as an Iranian expert on ethnicity recognize the Arabs, Azeris, Kurds and Baluchs as the potential threat. Other authors in this review like Bradley (2006), Shaffer (2006) and Maghsoodi (2002) added Turkmen to this collection. It is notable that two of these groups, have experienced movements in form of republic after World War II era. In the Islamic republic era, Arabs, Kurds and Baluchs had armed conflict with the central government but Azeris. There is not clear explanation on why they had no armed conflict. While some scholars see the reason in similarity between their religious faiths (Shi'a), Ahmadi (2003) considers a correlation between tribal and intellectual elites and their effect on armed and peaceful conflict.

Conflict & elite characteristics

Intellectual elites


Tribal elites


The ethnic conflict and its causes in Iran

On the other hand, numerous studies have attempted to explain the causes of ethnic conflicts in Iran. The literature shows that finding actual causes for ethnic conflicts is problematic. While Bradley counts them as:

economic inequalities:

He believes because of the centralized and uneven development in Iran which neglected peripheral areas, the ethnic groups which generally settled in periphery feel discrimination so they fight for their share of resources.

inspiration of ethnic brothers in neighbouring states

Evolution in power in Iraq and changes in position of Kurds and Turkmen in the Iraqis government inspires the ethnic groups to achieve their rights.

the west interferes

Bradley mentions some of the West's activities behalf on Iranian ethnic minorities. These activities contain some seminars, conferences and academic events. He does not note the real interferes but he warns the West from any engagement in ethnic problem in Iran. This view is supported by Rubin (2006) who writes that Iraqi's formers president playing with ethnic card in Iran did not divided it but led to its more unity so he gives the premonition to the US to not do as same as Saddam's playing with ethnic card in Iran otherwise it will backfire and betray not only the Iranian people, but also long-term Western interests. In his case study of ethnic politics in Iran, Ahmadi (2003) identifies three sets of causes. He believes that conflict occurs because of:

confrontation between centralized state and the tribal chiefs (conflicting interests)

The manipulation of religio-linguistic differences by ethnic and non-ethnic elites. As evidence, during the clashes between ethnic groups and the central government in the early years of Islamic republic, non-ethnic elites played a prominent role in intensifying the conflicts.

The promotion of ethnic identity (by Western orientalists and international forces) he believes that international intelligentsia and orientalists have greatly shaped the nationalistic tendencies among the above mentioned groups through their policy-relevant publications.

Maghsoodi (2002) as other Iranian author views the problem from different sights. He categorizes the causes into political, social, economic and cultural. His list on political causes is:

decline in central government's power

He refers to the theories that claim decline in central government's power leads to emersion of ethnic conflict.

transitional period of time

As the second cause, he notes that in transition from pre-modern to modern society, due to some changes, conflicts appear because the process wants to affect ethnic groups' life's style so they resist. Also the transitional period refers to the theories which consider the decrease of national autonomies due to changes pattern of the national to cross national identity.

proper geographic position

The third set of causes according to Maghsoodi has roots in neighbouring brothers of ethnics. The proper position allows to ethnic groups to operate free and inaccessible to government.

super powers

Accompanied to other writers in this regard, Maghsoodi considers the role of super powers in ethnic conflict. From the far history till now, there are many evidences concerning super powers engagement in Iranian ethnic problem and its intensifying.

Salehi's interpretation (2005) of causes is wider than others. He counted at least 7 sets of causes for ethnic conflict break out in Iran. He lists the causes as below:

intensification in identification gaps (national- ethnic)

increase in politicized ethnic organizations

co - relation between ethnic groups in & out borders

distributional crisis

political alienation of ethnic groups

decline in political legitimacy

economic inequalities

Adding to the last mentioned causes, he believes that when the gap between national- ethnic identification increases, the probability of conflict intensifies. Salehi's interpretation of elite manipulation notion reflexes in "increase in politicized ethnic organizations". Salehi also mentions decline in political legitimacy as another cause for conflict.

The level of threats

Another notable point in literature is the level of ethnic diversity in Iran. Usually most of foreign observers consider it in a high level of disintegration. For example Bradley (2005) names the issue as a tinder box which is ready to make explosion. This is because of their lack of cognition on Iran issues like ethnic diversity. Despite of foreigners who consider the Iran's situation in crisis, most of Iranian experts count the issue as a problem. Even Fakouhi as a prominent sociologist regards the ethnic diversity in Iran as a phenomena not problem. He also believes that this variety is an opportunity not threat.

Previous ethnic management models

During at least recent one hundred years, some policies were applied by various governments to deal with the ethnic diversity in Iran. The major policy during most of this period of time was assimilation. It was sometimes coincided with modernization. According to many of observers on Iran history, because of the characteristics of the state and the population (tribal population) during the Qajar dynasty, the policy was intermarriage between the royal family and tribal chiefs (Salehi, 2006& Ahmadi, 2003). This kind of policy facilitates the unity of the country and loyalty to the central government. According to Salehi, this policy was the mere policy in Qajar's era.

Dominance of Pahlavi's dynasty accompanied with deep changes in policies. Reza shah by the goal of modernizing the country believed that the way to achieve the goal is nation-building. To build the nation of Iran, he started to detribalize and what was called in Persian language "takhteh Qapou" or settling the nomadic tribes down. According to Salehi and Ahmadi, Reza shah exiled and executed many of tribal chiefs in Baluchs, Arabs, Kurds, Lors and etc. Since they consider this policy as subduing ethnic leaders, Fakouhi considers these policies as assimilation. Reza shah's assimilation policy was regarded by many Iranian and even foreign authors as extravagance. For example, he tried to change the Iranian clothing. regardless the moral values, the policy was successful because the nation building process facilitated Iran's integrity and paved way to further modernization by his son, the second Pahlavi.

Fakouhi believes that the second Pahlavi continued the assimilation policy with emphasizing to cultural aspect but Salehi considers the policy as modernization by cultural assimilation and economic discrimination to ethnic areas.

The policies of second Pahlavi toward the ethnic issues, elaborated as defeated policies. However, he could terminate two autonomist republics at first years of his kingdom.

After the Islamic republic and because of weakening of central government, promotions of super powers (east and west) and their advocators inside the Iran, weakening in national identity and unity and some other reasons, the ethnic conflicts broke up. The urgent policy was the maintaining of the unity of the nation-state. The first months even the first years of the Islamic era, were spent by this policy and unfortunately there were some armed conflicts and bloody wars. The body of the literature shows there is a consensus on this period's policy. Many of the Iranian and foreign writers argue that in that period of time, the government did not pursue any other policy. Maghsoodi, Salehi Amiri, Fakouhi, Bayat, noted this point. After the Iraq and Iran war, some circumstances enforced the central government to change the policy. Despite of this enforcement, Salehi believes that the government did not pursue any specified pattern to deal with the issue. Some others like Fakouhi and Godazgar & Fathi (2005) consider the applied model in recent years as ummat. According to them, this model tries to deny national and ethnic identity by unity on Islamic values.

Among Iranian writers, Salehi Amiri is the only writer who proposed a model to manage ethnic diversity. He names his model as "plurality within unity". In fact the term is an Islamic philosophic concept. According to his explanation on the model, the model designated in systematic style and "from top to down". Indeed, Salehi's model does not advise any actual changes in structures but some changes in policies specially those which be imposed on issues if ethnic religions.


This review outlines the main theoretical positions in research on ethnicity and ethnic diversity management in Iran. It does not claim to cover all important features of previous studies.

It should be recalled that despite to the prominence of the ethnicity issues in Iranian context, there is a little consideration on the Iranian ethnicity studies. Fakouhi (2004) believes that is because of some taboos on ethnic problems in Iran. Also Bradley (2006) confirms the shortage of attention on Iran's ethnicity among the western policy makers but they are now taking a greater interest in the country's internal ethnic politics, focusing on their possible impact on the Iranian regime's long-term stability as well as their influence on its short-term foreign and domestic policy choices. Fakouhi notes because of Khatami's presidency in the recent years there has been an increasing amount of consideration on ethnic studies.

The body of literature shows that most of existing studies focused on ethnography rather than ethno-politics. Moreover, those are in ethno-politics concentrated on Iranian ethnic migrants to the West. That is, the actual studies on ethno-politics are very scarce.

One of the more significant finding which has emerged from this study is that among to the rare studies on ethnic diversity management, it is not perceived any actual attempts to introduce proper model.

The evidence from this study suggests strong need to modify the obstacles of achieving to success by any previous model applied to deal with ethnic diversity in Iran. The emergence of the extremist chauvinist nationalism and at the other side the extremist chauvinist ethnocentrism, enforces the researchers and intellectuals to find a proper model for ethnic diversity management in Iran (Fakouhi, 2004)

Also in the recent years and especially after the Islamic Revolution proponents of both view on ethnic diversity management claim that the other way leads to the intensification of ethnic demands therefore their view should be abandoned. Unfortunately, few analyses challenge these dichotomies theoretically or empirically. This study hopes to do its own contribution to the knowledge of ethnic diversity management.