Separatism: Democracy and Disintegration

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Metta Spencer
Rowman & Littlefield, 1998 - History - 338 pages
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As we approach the millennium the world is experiencing civil wars exclusively--half of which are being waged over the issue of secession. This book offers a comparative view of nine historic separatist movements, some of which have achieved the break-up of an empire or a state, and others that to date have not. Separatist struggles occur in waves that tend to coincide with upsurges of democratization. Several chapters explore this connection, making comparisons with economic and geopolitical causes. The authors analyze the long term effects of secession: after partition, ethnic strife typically continues for generations; minorities decline in status; and democracy and human rights are derogated. The break-up of one state often leads to further fragmentation, as in the disintegration of the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian empires, where years later separatism unfolded in the successor states of Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Palestine, Chechnya and Tatarstan. The authors attribute much of today's separatism to the demagoguery of politicians losing legitimacy in post-communist states, for whom nationalism is a convenient populist ideology. A broader explanation, however, points to the failure of modern democracies to develop constitutional mechanisms reconciling the expression of particularistic identities with the universalism of citizenship. The book reviews proposals toward that end.
 

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Ottomanism

Contents

When States Divide
5
Separatism Rationality and Irony
41
The Economics of Secession
67
The Collapse of the AustroHungarian Empire
95
Citizenship and the Collapse of the State The Ottoman Case
117
Who or What Broke Up the Soviet Union?
137
The Breakup of Yugoslavia
159
The Partition of Czechoslovakia
183
Negotiating Autonomy Tatarstan Asymmetrical Federalism and State Consolidation in Russia
225
The Tamil Secessionist Movement in Sri Lanka Ceylon A Case of Secession by Default?
251
Quebec A Unique Case Of Secessionism
279
Conclusion
305
Select Bibliography
317
Index
329
About the Contributors
335
Copyright

Chechen Separatism
203

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About the author (1998)

\Metta Spencer is associate professor of sociology at the University of Toronto.

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