Ethnoregional Conflict in Democracies: Mostly Ballots, Rarely Bullets

Ethnoregional Conflict in Democracies: Mostly Ballots, Rarely Bullets

Ethnoregional Conflict in Democracies: Mostly Ballots, Rarely Bullets

Ethnoregional Conflict in Democracies: Mostly Ballots, Rarely Bullets

Synopsis

Most advanced industrial democracies have been successful in controlling ethnic political conflicts peacefully. This book examines ethnoregional conflicts in seven ethnoregions--in Scotland, Flanders, Wallonia, Brussels, Quebec, Northern Ireland, and the Basque region of Spain--to explain what mactors determine electoral support for ethnoregional parties, why in some cases electoral conflict has co-existed with ethnic violence, and why there appears to be an inverse relationship between electoral success and policy success among many ethnoregional parties. As ethnic conflicts--peaceful and violent--continue to rage around the world, this important new study merits the attention of scholars and students in comparative politics and ethnic studies.

Excerpt

The political transformations that have captivated the world's attention at the end of the twentieth century have sparked both renewed hope and despair in the abilities of men to solve political problems peacefully and constructively. the collapse of the former Soviet empire, and with it the institutional strength and emotional allure of communism, has created an opportunity for the democratization of dozens of formerly authoritarian states. At the same time numerous other states, in Asia and Latin America in particular, have been working to stabilize new democratic regimes. This hope has been tempered with a despair fed by the knowledge that the process of democratization is rarely easy or painless. the emergence of bitter ethnic conflicts in many of these states has led to a pervasive fear that "primordial" ethnic ties will eat away at the democratic process and undermine the foundations of a peaceful, progressive future.

There is no doubt that newly democratizing states may fall prey to the poisonous venom of ethnic conflict. Nevertheless, the situation is not beyond hope. At some point many democracies seem to acquire the antidote to ward off the debilitating impact of ethnic conflict. in fact, in some cases the emergence of ethnic conflict has even expanded democratic opportunities by leading to a restructuring of government to allow for the decentralization of avenues for political participation. in other cases democratic politics have survived, in various shades of development, while coexisting uneasily with ethnic political violence.

This book is about the most prominent cases of ethnic conflict in democracies and the lessons that can be learned from the manner in which these democracies have coped with ethnic conflict. in the 1960s and 1970s many ethnic movements rose to prominence in Western democracies. in several . . .

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