Queen's University

Institutional Outcomes of Territorial Contestation: Lessons from Post-Communist Europe, 1989–2012

This article, co-authored with Stefan Wolff and Philippe Roseberry, appeared in Publius (vol.47, no.4, 2017, pp.491-521).

Since 1989, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have experienced major institutional transformations. As part of that process, territorial contestations between states and ethnic minorities engendered three outcomes: negotiated territorial self-government (TSG) arrangements; the denial of such arrangements; and the emergence of de-facto states. Through a qualitative comparative analysis of twenty-four minority TSG claims in seventeen post-communist CEE states, we find that: (i) TSG arrangements emerged as externally facilitated instruments for managing or preventing violent conflict in predominantly low-capacity, only partially democratic states; (ii) peacefully pursued TSG claims were most likely to be denied in high-capacity consolidated democracies; and (iii) de-facto states emerged where patron-states intervened in violent conflicts in low-capacity states. These findings defy widely held expectations about the influence of Europeanization, coupled with democratic consolidation, on the accommodation of minority claims; and they offer new insights into the significance of external intervention for the institutional outcomes of ethnic minority TSG claims.] (Read More)