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Processes of Ethnic Mobilization in the Former Yugoslav Republics Reconsidered

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The first part of the article presents different and opposing theoretical approaches and discusses their explanatory value for the disintegration of the SRFY and the following wars in the Balkans, such as primordialism vs. constructivism, liberal vs. ethnic nationalism, accommodation vs. integration, neo-realism vs. liberalism in international relations and structure- vs. action-oriented approaches in sociology. In conclusion, it will be argued that these theoretical dichotomies have to be overcome and that there is a need for complementary research strategies in order to not only 'explain', but also to 'understand' the processes of ethnic mobilization as an actor-driven process of political mobilization by 'ethnic' entrepreneurs in order to create a security dilemma for their own goals in the ongoing fight for political power. The second part of the article then develops a framework for comparative empirical studies with reference to structural settings, the situational context and actors and introduces into the following articles by Mujkic and Harzl discussing, for instance, the structural similarities between communism and nationalism and the dysfunctionality of communism and federalism as historic legacies.


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