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Strategic Rebellion

Ethnic Conflict in FYR Macedonia and the Balkans


Pavlos Ioannis Koktsidis

Since the end of the Cold War, the consolidation of peace and security in south-eastern Europe has been one of the most complex and troublesome issues facing the international community. The sequence of conflicts in the Balkans has resulted in serious loss of life, economic collapse, and a number of controversial interventions, leading contemporary scholars to reconsider old perceptions about violent ethnic conflict. Drawing on a wealth of theoretical and empirical sources, this book tackles some of the prevailing questions on the root causes and management of ethnic conflict. Under what conditions do ethnic minorities become violent? How credible are the theories of «relative deprivation» and «greed» in explaining the outbreak of conflict? Is the use of coercive diplomacy a superior alternative to direct military forms of intervention? This book provides an analytical account of the socio-economic roots of ethnic conflict, the opportunities for violent mobilization and the success of strategic coercion in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and it also examines related developments in Kosovo and the Balkans.


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Conclusion 219


Conclusion The question of ethnic strife has preoccupied numerous theorists and poli- cymakers. The study of ethnic conf lict contains many schools of thought, and depending on which one we subscribe to, we might get dif ferent answers to our questions. Despite the growing accumulation of knowl- edge, and the increased sophistication of methodological approaches, new debates continue to emerge. This study provides a thorough strategic analysis of the emergence, management and security implications of intra- state violent ethnic conf lict through the prism of relative deprivation and strategic mobilization. The analysis has concentrated on the dominant theoretical debate between advocates of greed-based conf lict accounts and supporters of grievance-based explanations of the origins of ethnic conf lict (Gurr, 1970; Woodward, 2005; Collier, 2004; Fearon and Laitin, 2003). Supporters of the deprivation theory argue that violent conf lict is the result of real or perceived social, economic and political grievances (Gurr, 1970, 1993; Gurr and Moore, 1997; Davis, 1999; Woodward, 2005). The theory claims that ethnic groups encounter discontent because of the perceived discrepancy between their expectations and capabilities (Gurr, 1970). The gap between what ethnic groups get and what they think they deserve creates a feeling of frustration. As a result, disgruntled ethnic groups may become aggressive. The theory emphasizes that the level of aggression and violence is determined by the levels of discontent. Thus, economic, social and political grievances instigate the psychological mechanism of frustration-aggression, in order to produce ethno-political conf lict. The theory of relative deprivation has...

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