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Explaining irredentism: The case of Hungary and its transborder minorities in Romania and Slovakia.

Fuzesi, Julianna Christa Elisabeth (2006) Explaining irredentism: The case of Hungary and its transborder minorities in Romania and Slovakia. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis seeks to explain irredentism by identifying the set of variables that determine its occurrence. To do so it provides the necessary definition and comparative analytical framework, both lacking so far, and thus establishes irredentism as a field of study in its own right. The thesis develops a multi-variate explanatory model that is generalisable yet succinct. It builds critically on Donald Horowitz's theory of irredentism (1985;1991) which, like many studies of ethno-nationalism, underperforms due to a bias towards rationalism, materialism and individualism. The present study improves explanatory value by identifying three further variables that tackle ethno-territorial retrieval on its own terms. It argues that irredentism is primarily determined by shared ethno-national identity and the political system factors that condition its politicisation domestically and internationally. The resulting combined model is applied in two, variable-centred parts. First, it is quantitatively tested on a dataset of irredentism which the thesis collates based on its novel definition of irredentism. Second, the theory is applied in a historic case study of so-called "inconsistent irredentism" (Saideman 1998), i.e. an instance where retrieval was abandoned in an outwardly identical setting and therefore must result from factor change over time. The chosen example is that of the Hungarian irredenta in the interwar period (1920-1940), contrasted with its absence in the postcommunist era (1989-2005). To enhance generalisability, the thesis adds a comparison across space by examining Hungary and not one, but two transborder Magyar minorities (in Southern Slovakia and Transylvania). By offering a comprehensive definition of irredentism this thesis unifies previously disjointed cases for analysis. It avoids a rationalist and materialist bias in favour of what genuinely matters: namely the ethno-national bond and the factors shaping its politicisation. Because this approach does greater justice to ethno-national movements it furnishes a more explicative, generalisable and, potentially, predictive model of irredentism.

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

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