- Why do ethno-national conflicts reach different degrees of violence? Insights from Kosovo, Macedonia, and Bulgaria during the 1990s
- Nationalism & Ethnic Politics
- Volume | Issue number
- 15 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Why did ethnonational conflicts reach different degrees of violence during the 1990s: high in Kosovo, middle-ranged in Macedonia, and low in Bulgaria? This article analyzes the relationship between the Albanians of Macedonia and Kosovo, the Turks of Bulgaria, and their respective states. Challenging democratization and security dilemma theories, it argues that the relative changes in minority rights compared to the communist period, rather than the absolute scope of minority rights granted by the new constitutions, created a political threshold early in the transition period that propelled causal chains of minority-majority interactions that led to different degrees of ethnonational violence. Combined with the status change, governmental strategies of co-optation, or coercion prompted the minorities to pursue their demands either through the institutions of the state (Bulgaria), through clandestine activities (Kosovo), or through a combination of both (Macedonia). This article also argues that a timely governmental response to nonterritorial minority demands prevented them from expanding to become territorial and from triggering higher levels of violence.
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