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Democratisation and the prevention of violent conflict in south eastern Europe: The cases of Bulgaria and Republic of Macedonia.

Engstrom, Jenny Marika (2004) Democratisation and the prevention of violent conflict in south eastern Europe: The cases of Bulgaria and Republic of Macedonia. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis critically examines the common notion that the process of democratisation in multiethnic societies is directly linked with the emergence of ethnic nationalism and violent inter-communal conflict. Whereas generally assuming a positive relationship between democracy and the absence of violent conflict on the national as well as international level, academic studies maintain that this positive correlation does not apply to the actual process of democratisation, which, it is thought, may heighten interethnic tension and increase the risk of armed conflict in divided societies. Exposing the flaws in this argument, this thesis offers an alternative account of the relationship between democratisation and interethnic relations, suggesting that the former can in fact help to prevent violent conflict in societies divided along ethnic lines. Drawing on literature from democratisation theory and peace and conflict studies, and applying it to two case studies, Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia, this thesis shows that the development of democracy - albeit flawed - helped to moderate inter-communal tension between the ethnic Bulgarian majority and the Turkish minority in Bulgaria, and the ethnic Macedonian and Albanian communities in Macedonia. Comparing the experiences of Bulgaria and Macedonia in the 1990s, this thesis further suggests that the existence of unresolved issues over the gratification of certain fundamental human needs such as identity, security and recognition, amongst ethnic communities in heterogeneous societies must be resolved outside of the liberal democratic process, since needs are non-negotiable and as such cannot be bargained over through the democratic process. Furthermore, without some measure of national/political unity that is inclusive of ethnic communities, peaceful democratisation will be seriously undermined. Additionally, an aspect that has not been adequately accounted for in studies on democratisation in ethnically plural societies is the way in which the external security environment influences the domestic process of democratisation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, General, East European Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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