Deploying Constructivism for the Analysis of Rare Events: How Possible is the Emergence of "Punjabistan"?

Ian S. Lustick; Edited volume by Kanchan Chandra

The purpose of this volume is to demonstrate that a rigorous conceptual framework can enable constructivist insights to be deployed for the solution of a variety of theoretical and empirical problems. In this chapter I offer a use case in which the framework set forth by the editor, if not the exact details of its entire vocabulary, is employed to solve a difficult empirical and policy-relevant problem. The general problem involves is to evaluate a future for Pakistan involving the secession of its Punjabi core Рa future whose probability experts have had difficulty assessing. Since secession is itself a rare event, and secession of the center an even rarer event, data relevant to addressing this problem must be generated by a computer simulation model designed and implemented in conformance with available social theories, including constructivist theory, along with information and Pakistani society relevant to the categories of those theories. The thrust of this chapter is to demonstrate that by integrating constructivist approaches to political contestation, via the framework offered in this volume, which specific knowledge of a complex and important case Рthe future of Punjabi-dominated Pakistan Рan agent-based modeling approach can be used to analyze the conditions under which secession of the center can take place and to estimate its likelihood.

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If you are interested in replicating this experiment, please contact the authors for replication resources.

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