Political Science departmental doctoral seminar - "Minority territorial claims in post-communist Europe"
Tuesday, May 17, 2011 - 1:30pm to 3:10pm
17 May (Tuesday) 1:30 pm, FT 908
Zsuzsa Csergő (Queen’s University)
Patterns of Territorial Self-governance in Postcommunist Europe: Historical Legacies and Contemporary Opportunities
Zsuzsa Csergő (Queen’s University) and Stefan Wolff (University of Birmingham)
This paper assesses how the legacies of past state development and third-party intervention in response to conflict influence the availability of territorial self-governance (TSG) to minorities in today’s postcommunist region of Europe. Following a conceptualization of TSG as a tool of statecraft and conflict management, we provide data on the minorities in the region that have demonstrateda desire for TSG(25 groups in 16 countries) and compare this with data onhow many have access to it (10 groups in 6 countries). Against this background, we evaluate the impact ofthree kinds of historical legacy: past privilege,violence, andinstitutions. Our findings defy expectations that longer-term historical legacies have demonstrable impact on the contemporary politics of minority TSG arrangements. The strongest “legacy” factor in accounting for the availability of contemporary TSG arrangements is violent conflict at or after the end of communism. The absence of TSG, in contrast, is correlated strongly with an absence of violence. Differences in the kind of TSG—within a common state vs. de-facto statehood—can be explained comprehensively considering the type of external intervention that occurred in the context of inter-ethnic violence: in those cases in which the common state was preserved, third-party involvement has facilitated a negotiated settlement between the conflict parties; de-facto statehood has emerged in those cases in which third-party involvement has consolidated an existing status quo, or created a new status quo that remains contested by one of the conflict parties.