Religious Minorities, Nation States, and Security: Five Cases from the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean
- Publish Date: 2001-05-13
- Binding: Hardcover
- Author: Mario Apostolov
This text concentrates on the difficult relations between nation states and religious minorities in several countries of the Balkans and the Middle East, exploring why certain societies stand out as hubs of social fragmentation and communal violence, turning the eastern Mediterranean into an arc of insecurity and defying the trend towards regional and global integration. The author argues that the problem is primarily political: stemming from the inability to construct the appropriate political institutions of accommodating various communal identities, and that confessional identity is a form of political identity. Various collective identities - ethnic, confessional and political - are increasingly regarded as the basis for constructing nationhood and statehood. The book is divided into three parts. The first elaborates the difficulties of defining the key concepts: religious minorities, their relationship to international security, and the social and political specificity of the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean as the area of investigation. The second part proceeds to empirical research on five cases of religious minorities, focusing on the fragmented political and social identities in the area. The third part returns to the level of theoretical analysis of the potential causes of conflict and communal mobilization for conflict. If communal relations are understood in a constructivist perspective as social relations which depend on how people interpret and construct them, then it is obviously necessary to construct broader political arrangments, beyond the narrow, localist psychology.