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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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Nationalism and Transitions: Mobilizing for democracy in Yugoslavia

Daniel P. Ritter

Type: Working Paper
Year: 2012

The Yugoslav transition(s) to democracy is perhaps the most complex of all the Eastern European cases. It can be argued that Yugoslavia enjoyed the most favorable initial conditions of any country in the region: the regime was relatively liberal, there was an indigenous, vibrant civil society, an economic crisis had put politicians on the defensive, and the country was not overly tied to either Western or Eastern influence. Had these structural conditions been the full story, Yugoslavia might have been able to dissolve without the most violent war Europe has experienced since 1945. However, one major factor came to trump all others: nationalism. The history of Yugoslavia’s fall cannot be told without attention to ethnic rivalries. Since the country was a federation consisting of six republics and two autonomous provinces imposed on its citizens by the communists that came to power after World War II, only communism could hold the federation together. Once that (discredited) ideological glue was removed, Yugoslavia collapsed on itself.

EUI SPS - Cosmos Working Paper 2012/03. Full text available

2012WP03COSMOS

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Edited Volume - 2018

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