Central secession: towards a new analytical concept? The case of former Yugoslavia

Conversi, Daniele (2000) Central secession: towards a new analytical concept? The case of former Yugoslavia. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 26 (2). pp. 333-355. ISSN 1369-183x

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Full text URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13691830050022839

Abstract

Political literature customarily defines secession as a movement developing in the periphery against the centre. This article questions this common assumption by raising the possibility that secession may be propelled by the centre. A working definition of 'central secession' (or 'secessionism by the centre') will be limited to those cases where a powerful nationalist movement operates from within the core or dominant nation(ality). The focus will be on the break-up of Yugoslavia - the disintegration of which was consistently and widely perceived as a conflict of secessionist republics opposed by, and confronted with, a unitary state. A brief geo-political excursus of recent secessionist movements will serve to highlight the singularity of the Yugoslav 'model'. In the case of Serbia, the rhetoric was adamantly unitarian, anti-secessionist, even anti-nationalist. It emphasised the defence of territorial integrity at all costs. In this way, the centre could cast itself as the spotless saviour of the country's integrity versus a 'treacherous' periphery. In fact, the hidden agenda of the regime was ethnic separation - of Serbs from non-Serbs

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Political literature customarily defines secession as a movement developing in the periphery against the centre. This article questions this common assumption by raising the possibility that secession may be propelled by the centre. A working definition of 'central secession' (or 'secessionism by the centre') will be limited to those cases where a powerful nationalist movement operates from within the core or dominant nation(ality). The focus will be on the break-up of Yugoslavia - the disintegration of which was consistently and widely perceived as a conflict of secessionist republics opposed by, and confronted with, a unitary state. A brief geo-political excursus of recent secessionist movements will serve to highlight the singularity of the Yugoslav 'model'. In the case of Serbia, the rhetoric was adamantly unitarian, anti-secessionist, even anti-nationalist. It emphasised the defence of territorial integrity at all costs. In this way, the centre could cast itself as the spotless saviour of the country's integrity versus a 'treacherous' periphery. In fact, the hidden agenda of the regime was ethnic separation - of Serbs from non-Serbs
Keywords:Theories of nationalism, Homogenisation, Comparative sociology, Ethnicity, Conflict resolution, Nationhood, Nationality, Serbia, Political theory
Subjects:L Social studies > L214 Nationalism
L Social studies > L240 International Politics
L Social studies > L330 Ethnic studies
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:1949
Deposited By: Bev Jones
Deposited On:16 Jul 2009 10:02
Last Modified:18 Jul 2011 16:21

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