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St Catharine’s Political Economy Seminar – ‘The Evolution of Sectarianism: A Political Economy Approach’ by Sebastian Ille
October 30, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Date: Wednesday, 30 October 2019
Time: 18:00 -19:30
Speaker: Sebastian Ille
Talk Title: ” The Evolution of Sectarianism: A Political Economy Approach”
Location: Rushmore Room, St Catharine’s College
Sebastian Ille is a Senior Lecturer in Economics at the New College of the Humanities and Editor-in-Chief of International Social Science Journal. His areas of expertise and interest focus on the impact of different types of rationality and interaction patterns on the dynamics defining institutions under decentralized decision-making. He also studies the elements of conflict, especially the factors leading to revolutions and new social contracts. His fields of research include Institutional Economics, Behavioural Economics, Development Economics, Identity Economics, Evolutionary Game Theory, Complex Systems and Agent-Based Modelling. He has published on various topics, including theoretical papers on stochastic stability and meta-rationality, and interdisciplinary research on identity economics, rational atrocities and ISIS, as well as forced private tutoring in Egypt. He is currently working on topics related to the Arab Spring in Egypt and on a textbook for social scientists on various mathematical approaches to modelling social systems and social change.
The tendency of humans to cooperate for reasons other than self-interest has long intrigued social scientists, leading to a substantial literature in recent years. However, its complement – sectarianism – has not received much attention in the economics literature despite its significant economic impact, its growing importance in recent years and its socio-economic fundamentals. Based on an evolutionary approach, the talk illustrates under which conditions sectarianism and sectarian conflict constitute an evolving property of a social system. The underlying model shows in which manner actions, preferences, economic institutions and sectarian identities co-evolve and suggests an extended constructivist perspective while contesting classical primordial or instrumentalist perspectives. Contrary to common perception, I argue that sectarianism and sectarian conflict are not necessarily driven by a conflict over religious ideologies, but by socio-economic and political grievances. Additionally, the history of interaction and external exertion of influence are key to explaining the tendency for bigotry and hostility.