Referendums and Ethnic Conflict

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Although referendums have been used for centuries to settle ethnonational conflicts, there has yet been no systematic study or generalized theory concerning their effectiveness. Referendums and Ethnic Conflict fills the gap with a comparative and empirical analysis of all the referendums held on ethnic and national issues from the French Revolution to the 2012 referendum on statehood for Puerto Rico. Drawing on political theory and descriptive case studies, Matt Qvortrup creates typologies of referendums that are held to endorse secession, redraw disputed borders, legitimize a policy of homogenization, or otherwise manage ethnic or national differences. He considers the circumstances that compel politicians to resort to direct democracy, such as regime change, and the conditions that might exacerbate a violent response. Qvortrup offers a clear-eyed assessment of the problems raised when conflict resolution is sought through referendum as well as the conditions that are likely to lead to peaceful outcomes. This original political framework will provide a vital resource in the ongoing investigation into how democracy and nationalism may be reconciled.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationPittsburgh
PublisherUniversity of Pennsylvania Press
Number of pages200
ISBN (Print)978-0-8122-4580-6, 978-0-8122-0932-7
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

NameNational and Ethnic Conflict in the 21st Century
PublisherUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Bibliographical note

All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations used for purposes of scholarly citation, none of this work may be reproduced in any form by any means without written permission from the publisher. For information address the University of Pennsylvania Press, 3905 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4112.

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