Referendums and Ethnic Conflict
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press
Title Page, Copyright
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The core problem in political theory is that fundamental and equally axiomatic principles often collide. A paradox can almost be defined as a clash of two equally incontestable maxims of truth. Two such ‘‘truths’’ are (1) that each nation has a right to determine its own affairs and (2) that the majority has a right to govern...
1. The History and Logic of Ethnonational Referendums, 1791–1945
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Before the French and American Revolutions it was accepted that the ruler had a mandate from God. In fact, in the libretto of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, first performed in 1791 but originally penned in 1774, the protagonist Sarastro eulogized the divine rights of kings: ‘‘The Earth a heavenly kingdom, and mortals...
2. Difference-Managing Referendums
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The difference-managing referendum is a mechanism that limits the scope for action and offers the possibility of what we, paraphrasing the Declaration of Independence, may call the dissent of the governed. Typically, these referendums are held on matters regarding so-called devolution. One of the problems with these referendums...
3. Secession and Partition
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‘‘Secession,’’ according to Aleksandar Pavkovic and Peter Radan, is a ‘‘process of withdrawal of a territory and its population from an existing state and the creation of a new state on that territory’’ (Pavkovic and Radan 2007: 1). Needless to say, secession is a process of far-reaching and irreversible consequences. Once undertaken, the process of a political...
4. Ethnonational Referendums in Constitutional Law: A Case Study of Scotland
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Historically, the question of the legality of self-determination through referendums has, as Philip Goodhart noted, ‘‘almost invariably followed national lines’’ (Goodhart 1971: 107). He continued, ‘‘For almost twentyfive years after the Franco-Prussian War the leading French international lawyers, Montluc, Ott, Cabouat, Renan and Audinet steadily...
5. Right-Sizing Referendums
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‘‘Nationalism,’’ George Orwell wrote dismissively, is ‘‘the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’ ’’ (Orwell 1953: 75). Whatever its other possible virtues, the fact remains that nationalist sentiment creates problems...
6. Difference-Eliminating Referendums: E Pluribus Unum?
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In their work on ethnic politics, John McGarry and Brendan O’Leary introduced the concept of difference-eliminating policies in multiethnic states (McGarry and O’Leary 1993). The idea was that ethnic differences in multiethnic states could be eliminated by strategies that emphasize—indeed insist on—the unity of the...
7. EU Referendums: Nationalism and the Politics of Supranational Integration
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Jean Monnet, the founding father of the European Union, was as honest as he was unequivocal about the involvement of citizens in the process of making an ‘‘ever closer union.’’ He confessed that he ‘‘thought it wrong to consult the people of Europe about the structure of a Community of which they had not practical...
8. Regulation of Ethnonational Referendums: A Comparative Overview
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Cardinal Rezzonico’s protest against the alleged (but very plausible) irregularities during the 1791 plebiscite in Avignon is testament to the fact that elections and referendums have always been marred by claims of fraud and vote rigging. Perhaps as long as there have been elections and referendums, there have been attempts to cheat. Some, of course...
Conclusion. Patterns and Tendencies in Ethnonational Referendums
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‘‘If you are in democratic politics you have to take account of what people are thinking and you have to keep listening to the people. Parties which don’t do that fail badly.’’ Tony Blair was characteristically confident and bold when he told the BBC why he submitted issues to referendums (April 20, 2004). Whether it was the idealistic concern...
Appendix. Legislation and Litigation
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Page Count: 216
Illustrations: 2 illus.
Publication Year: 2014
Series Title: National and Ethnic Conflict in the 21st Century