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“In particular, in German-speaking Europe there is a lot of expertise on ethnic tensions in Central and Eastern Europe…as this book testifies. The chapters are well written and can be read as separate pieces…They are of a high quality.” · Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Nation states and minorities resort more and more to violence when safeguarding their political interests. Although the violence in the Middle East has been dominating world politics for some time now, European governments have had their share of ethnic violence to contend with as this volume demonstrates. And as the case studies show, ranging as they do from the Basque Country to Chechnya, from Northern Ireland to Bosnia-Herzegovina, this applies to western Europe as much as to eastern Europe. However, in contrast to other parts of the world, instances where political struggles for power and social inclusion between minorities and majorities lead to full-fledged inter-ethnic warfare are still the exception; in the majority of cases conflicts are successfully de-escalated and even resolved. In a comprehensive conclusion, the volume offers a theoretical framework for the development of strategies to deal with violent ethnic conflict.
Stefan Troebst is Professor of East European Cultural Studies at the University of Leipzig and a former Director of the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI), Flensburg, Germany.
Farimah Daftary is a former Senior Research Associate of the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI), Flensburg, Germany.
Among the means nation-states and minorities have at their disposal to safeguard and to pursue political and other interests, violence figures prominently. This is valid for central governments and ethnic peripheries in today's Western Europe as well as in Eastern Europe, including the Balkans and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Yet, whereas in the European Union area separatist terrorism in Northern Ireland, the Basque Provinces and Corsica is safely fenced in inside the United Kingdom, Spain and France respectively, ethnopolitical conflicts in Eastern Europe still have the potential to trigger off interstate wars — Bosnia-Herzegovina being the most recent example, and Kosovo, the Caucasus and Cyprus at or beyond the threshold of ethnic warfare. Accordingly, in Europe ethnic conflict is an almost ubiquitous phenomenon; it is, however, not a predominant one. Although there are a few instances where political struggles for power and participation between minorities and majorities lead to interethnic warfare, in the majority of cases they do not. We know of ethnonational conflicts being successfully transformed, even solved, by efficient power sharing models, and we know of ethnoregional movements that have withered away during what Miroslav Hroch would call their 'A phase' (Hroch 2000). We even find cases where the ethnic entrepreneurs of a movement, after having turned to violent means, switch back to nonviolent forms of action.
If the historian takes a bird's-eye view of the changing political map of Europe since the end of the Second World War, the well-known characterisation of Europe as unity in diversity almost automatically springs to mind. From the late 1940s, under pressure from the United States in the West and the Soviet Union in the East – some of it subtle, some less so – the diversity of Europe was largely relegated to the background. The prevailing catchword was unity: in Western Europe under the banner of Western European integration (whose individual stages since the Schuman Plan was sanctioned cannot be discussed here), and in the East with the ruthless 'Sovietisation' of the broad band of states from Poland to Czechoslovakia and Hungary, right down to Bulgaria and Albania. In postwar Europe only a few states within the former Soviet Union's sphere of influence were able to avoid this process for any length of time, amongst them certainly Yugoslavia and Finland and also, to some extent, Poland, Romania and later Hungary.
Ethnoradicalism as a Mirror Image of State Centralisation
The Basque Paradigm in Franco's Spain
Few cases are better suited to explore the central topic of this book than the instance of Spain. My aim is to address the relationship between state centralisation and the rise of ethnoradicalism through the prism of the Basque experience.1 I will show the close relationship between the two, arguing that the choice of radical violence was both an ultima ratio, that is, a form of anguish and despair, and, at the same time, a carefully pondered decision. The latter resulted from prolonged discussions, rather than being merely a form of broadly defined 'rational choice'. A long-lasting ideological debate predated the decision to embark on the path of political violence.
Introduction: The War in Chechnya (1994-6) Russia's war in Chechnya in 1994-6 was, as most Russians and Chechens would agree, a serious mistake.1 Probably all wars fought by central powers against regions in upheaval, minorities or ethnoradical movements can be said to be mistakes in the final analysis. At least it can be seen as a sign of political maturity to admit it.
International Dimensions of the Northern Ireland Conflict and Settlement
Few political settlements have been as unexpected as Northern Ireland's Good Friday Agreement of 10 April 1998. In the week of the settlement itself, John Taylor, the Deputy Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), the largest party in electoral terms of the eight parties participating in the multiparty talks in Belfast, had put the odds of reaching agreement at 4 percent.
Though this be madness, yet there's method in't.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet.
During four years of war, public opinion has identified Bosnia mostly with extremely violent ethnic conflicts, in which all kinds of atrocities were committed against prisoners of war and innocent civilian populations.
Introduction This article will address the possibilities open to the international community for influencing violent ethnopolitical conflicts in a peaceful direction, seeking to address the question: 'What are the remedies outside actors have at their disposal to put an end to the spiral of violence, to transform protracted ethnic conflicts into nonviolent ones, even reverse them into dialogues?'
In Quest of Peaceful Coexistence — Strategies in Regulating Ethnic Conflicts
Ulrich Schneckener and Dieter Senghaas
Minorities and the Nation-state
Twentieth-century European history knows numerous 'tragedies'. One has become a constant 'companion' throughout the decades: the almost notorious exclusion of and discrimination against cultural minorities which to some extent undermine the concept of the 'nation-state'. Nation-states are based on the idea that state, i.e. a political entity, and nation, i.e. a certain cultural-symbolic entity, have to be concurrent.