Nationalism after Communism: Lessons Learned

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Publication Type: 
Central European University Press
Place of Publication: 
CPS Books
What if a policymaker charged with crafting a peace arrangement in an ethnic conflict situation would ask an academic what practical wisdom can theory of ethnic conflict and nationalism offer in support? Can a bridge be thrown between the world of academia, suffocated with political correctness and driven by the empty intellectual ambition of system-paradigms, and the world of those who have to craft policies of interethnic peace and cooperation with little knowledge of theory, scarce time to order proper research, and limited resources of money to invest? This book tries to analyze in this context what the postcommunist experience of ethnic revival and conflict has in common with other nationalisms and nation-related conflicts of our world, and what, if anything, is special about it; what the best practices are of managing different ethnic conflicts within a state or in neighboring states; and what institutions work and under what circumstances? The introductory chapter includes the only theoretical discussion, sketching briefly the basics recent research on nationalism and ethnic conflict with relevance for policymaking. The next three chapters look at the political economy of ethnic conflicts: Vladimir Gligorov's chapter analyzes the system on incentives which pulled Yugoslavian Republics apart, and the one now in place trying to bring them together again; Charles King looks at the small separatist Republics of the post-Soviet world to understand why some of them were more successful than legitimate Soviet successors in building states and running economies; and Gerald Knause and his collaborators use a case study from Macedonia to highlight the difficulty of two ethnic groups sharing equitably the state and public sector. The primordial-type hypotheses of ethnic social capital and ancient hatreds are tested in the chapter by Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, which analyzes public opinion surveys on nationalism and ethnic cohabitation in Kosovo, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Hungary. A critical analysis of political institutions which try to prevent and then contain ethnic conflict is provided by Valerie Bunce and Philip Roeder on ethnofederalism, from former Yugoslavia to the former Soviet Empire; by Florian Bieber on power-sharing arrangements, and by Mathjis Bogaaards on voting systems, both on the Balkans. The book concludes with a review of policy options by the editors.