Co-authored with Zsuzsa Csergő and Philippe Roseberry and published in Publius, this article starts with the observation that, since 1989, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have experienced major institutional transformations. As part of that process, territorial contestations between states and ethnic minorities engendered three outcomes: negotiated territorial self-government arrangements; the denial of such arrangements; and the emergence of de-facto states.
Through a qualitative comparative analysis of twenty-four minority territorial self-government claims in seventeen post-communist CEE states, we find that: (i) territorial self-government arrangements emerged as externally facilitated instruments for managing or preventing violent conflict in predominantly low-capacity, only partially democratic states; (ii) peacefully pursued territorial self-government claims were most likely to be denied in high-capacity consolidated democracies; and (iii) de-facto states emerged where patron-states intervened in violent conflicts in low-capacity states.
These findings defy widely held expectations about the influence of Europeanization, coupled with democratic consolidation, on the accommodation of minority claims; and they offer new insights into the significance of external intervention for the institutional outcomes of ethnic minority territorial self-government claims.
This article is an open-access publication.