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One view of the war . . . “It’s really a tragic problem . . . The hatred between all three groups – the Bosnians, the Serbs, and the Croations – is almost unbelievable. It’s almost terrifying, and it’s centuries old. That really is a problem from hell.”

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One view of the war
One view of the war . . .

  • “It’s really a tragic problem . . . The hatred between all three groups – the Bosnians, the Serbs, and the Croations – is almost unbelievable. It’s almost terrifying, and it’s centuries old. That really is a problem from hell.”

    - Warren Christopher, Secretary of State under President Clinton

Geography and demographics
Geography and Demographics

  • 6 republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovinia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia

  • 2 autonomous regions in Serbia: Vojvodina and Kosovo

Geography and demographics1
Geography and Demographics

  • Many ethnic groups: Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, etc.

  • Serbs largest in country, but not majority

  • Complications: boundaries of ethnic groups not the same as boundaries of republics!

Ancient history
Ancient History

  • Prior to WWI: Area dominated by Austro-Hungarian (in NW) and Ottoman (in SE) Empires.

  • No history of fighting, groups not enemies.

  • At times, groups cooperated to oppose foreign occupying powers.

First yugoslav state
First Yugoslav State

  • Formed at the end of WWI.

  • Marriage of convenience, entered into willingly by all parties.

First yugoslav state1
First Yugoslav State

  • BIG challenges:

    • Economic

    • Political: what would this new state look like?

      • Serbs: wanted strong, centralized state to protect Serb minority populations in other regions.

      • Others: wanted decentralized state to protect against Serb domination.

First yugoslav state2
First Yugoslav State

  • Solution: a strong, centralized state

    • Serb preferences won out (this time).

    • Other groups not happy, but try to work together to iron out problems.

One view of the war

  • Hitler invades Yugoslavia in 1941

    • Installs puppet regimes in Serbia and Croatia.

      • Croat state (Ustasha): cleanse Croatia of Serbs.

      • Serb paramilitaries (Chetniks) organize and fight Ustasha.

    • Horrific fighting, bitter memories. Irony: Ustasha not popularly chosen.

One view of the war

  • Tito and the Partisans

    • Communists.

    • Integrating force.

    • Fought with Allies

    • Fought civil war against Ustasha and Chetniks

    • Won, took power at close of WWII

Tito s yugoslavia
Tito’s Yugoslavia

  • Inherited a tough situation:

    • Economic devastation

    • Bitter memories of civil war

    • Demographic snake pit: what to do about Serbia?

Tito s yugoslavia1
Tito’s Yugoslavia

  • Use the CP as an integrating force.

  • Promote ideology of growth and development.

  • Stomp out nationalism.

  • Not a democracy. Dissent and opposition not tolerated. CP only game in town.

  • Rely on personal popularity and charisma.

Tito s yugoslavia2
Tito’s Yugoslavia

  • Give republics autonomy over own affairs, veto power over central decisions.

  • Make Vojvodina and Kosovo autonomous regions, give them veto power also.

  • Consociationalism: keep the power of the largest group (Serbs) in check.

Tito s yugoslavia3
Tito’s Yugoslavia

  • Happy Days:

    • Country experienced economic growth into the 1970s.

    • Peace!

  • But: costs of stifling alternative political voices, vacuum when Tito died.

Post tito

  • 1980s: Economic slowdown, population distressed, unhappy.

  • CP bureaucrats paralyzed by crisis:

    • What was good for one region was bad for another.

    • Regions used veto in Federal Presidency to block any policy that hurt them.

    • Stalemate!

Post tito1
Post Tito

  • Political crisis also:

    • Serbian leaders unhappy about status of Kosovo and Vojvodina.

    • Tried to address problem legally, but were blocked by veto power of other republics.

    • Deadlock!

Moves by serbia
Moves by Serbia

  • Serb politicians look for way around the deadlock: appeal to Serb grievances in Kosovo.

    • Kosovo: historical significance to Serbs.

    • Serbs a minority in Kosovo (largely for economic reasons), felt discriminated against.

    • Politicians: Serbs are being run out of their homeland! (exaggerated claim, but effective).

Moves by serbia1
Moves by Serbia

  • Enter Slobodan Milosevic

    • 1988: President of Serbia, Ivan Stambolic, sends Milosevic to Kosovo to hear out the complaints of the Kosovo Serbs

    • Was supposed to stick to CP anti-nationalist line.

Moves by serbia2
Moves by Serbia

  • Instead, took the side of the nationalists.

  • Famous words, addressing crowd:

    “You will not be beaten again.”

Moves by serbia3
Moves by Serbia

  • “Rallies for Truth”

    • Orchestrated by politicians

    • Demanded end of autonomy of Vijvodina and Kosovo

    • Dramatized situation of Serbs in Kosovo

  • Non-Serb leaders continue to refuse to negotiate with Milosevic.

Moves by serbia4
Moves by Serbia

  • Milosevic topples leaders in Vojvodina, Kosovo, and Montenegro, installs men loyal to him.

  • Radical effect on balance of power in Yugoslavia: Milosevic now controls 4 out of 8 votes in the Federal Presidency.

Response of slovenia and croatia
Response of Slovenia and Croatia

  • Leaders of Slovenia and Croatia very nervous, set about trying to weaken the federal authority of Yugoslav state.

  • Slovenia:

    • Backed Albanian resistance in Kosovo

    • Refused to allow rally for truth

    • Pulled out of Yugoslav CP

Response of slovenia and croatia1
Response of Slovenia and Croatia

  • Croatia:

    • At first: try to broker compromise, preserve Yugoslavia

    • Strategy changed abruptly with election of Franjo Tudjman in May 1990.

Response of slovenia and croatia2
Response of Slovenia and Croatia

  • Tudjman and cronies: provocative nationalists.

    • Checkerboard flag.

    • Serbs: secondary minority status.

    • Talked big about taking Croatia out of Yugoslavia.


  • Serb minority in Croatia: scared. Fears played up by Serb politicians.

  • Summer 1990: Serbs in Krajina (area of Croatia) armed themselves and declared self-rule.

  • Tudjman: formed own paramilitaries


  • June 1991: Slovenia and Croatia declare independence.

  • Serbia lets Slovenia go without fight.


  • Not so Croatia. Serbia, plus Yugoslav National Army (JNA), fight to keep it in.

  • Large-scale war erupts in Croatia. Fighting spread from there to Bosnia.

Implications for ethnicity theories
Implications for Ethnicity Theories

  • Contrary to expectations of Primordialism, war in Yugoslavia not the result of ancient hatreds. Peace, not conflict, was norm.

  • And yet, the population responded quickly to the provocations of politicians. Hard for instrumentalism to explain why.

  • Also difficult for instrumentalism: the brutality and emotion of the fighting.

Implications for conflict theories
Implications for Conflict Theories

  • Yes, grievances existed. However, they were nothing new. Why did they suddenly flower into conflict? Societal explanations important, but insufficient.

Implications for conflict theories1
Implications for Conflict Theories

  • Politicians played a critical role: whipped up emotions, initiated conflict.

  • At national level, change in political leadership important: Tito suppressed nationalism, his successors encouraged it.

Implications for conflict theories2
Implications for Conflict Theories

  • But also key: the weakness of the Yugoslav state after Tito.

    • Communist Party: unable to cope with challenges.

    • Veto power of republics => deadlock.

    • State unable to contain nationalist politicians, gave them critical window of opportunity.

For the rest of the course
For the rest of the course…

  • How do we explain democratic stability? Why is democracy the “only game in town” in some countries but not others?

  • Different answers:

    • Level of economic development

    • Culture

    • Institutions

And culture is
And culture is?

  • Political culture = the set of attitudes, beliefs, and norms held by a population toward politics.

And culture is1
And culture is?

  • Attitudes = dispositions towards politics (political leaders, events, institutions, governments, policies, etc.).

    • Examples: support for the government, tolerance for opposing view points, trust in political institutions, feelings of political efficacy and so on.

And culture is2
And culture is?

  • Beliefs: cognitive ideas about cause and effect.

    • Example: the “domino theory” in the 1950s.

And culture is3
And culture is?

  • Norms: evaluative ideas about the world, judgments about good and bad.

    • Example: “Democracy is good.”


  • Liberalism arose in Western Europe response to feudalism, which was very hierarchical and involved very little social mobility.

  • Feudalism = individuals at the mercy of the social hierarchy.

  • Liberalism = individuals over social hierarchy.

Liberalism s key norms
Liberalism’s Key Norms

  • The protection of individual rights from powerful groups and governments.

  • Competition and disagreement versus harmony and consensus.

  • Tolerance of dissent rather than unanimity.

  • Egalitarianism over hierarchy.

  • Society should have a separate, protected realm from the state.

Liberalism and democracy
Liberalism and democracy

  • Historically, liberalism was a precedent to democracy in Western Europe and the US.

  • This has lead some to see liberalism as a necessary condition for democracy.

Liberalism and democracy1
Liberalism and democracy

  • Why?

  • Norms like egalitarianism and tolerance of dissent may improve the quality of competition.

  • Emphasis on individual rights may make majority rule less frightening for minorities.

Huntington s cultural argument
Huntington’s cultural argument

  • Samuel Huntington: liberal norms are associated with some religions (Protestantism) but not others (Catholicism, Confucianism, Islam).

  • No democracy where these “non-liberal” religions are found.

Huntington s cultural argument1
Huntington’s cultural argument

  • Catholicism: hierarchical, emphasizes a single, collective good. Values harmony and consensus.

  • Confucianism: authority, hierarchy, responsibility, harmony. Sees conflict as dangerous. Merges state and society.

  • Islam: rejects separation of religion and state.

Huntington s cultural argument problems
Huntington’s cultural argument: problems

  • Religions and cultures are dynamic, not static.

  • All religions have aspects that conform with liberal norms and others that contradict them.

  • Consensus building may be as important to democracy as competition.

  • And the empirical record is bad!

Liberalism and democracy2
Liberalism and Democracy

  • Do we throw the baby out with the bathwater?

  • Even if we do not buy Huntington, perhaps specific liberal norms – eg. tolerance – none-the-less matter for democratic consolidation?

Liberalism and democracy3
Liberalism and Democracy Russia, and South Africa

  • But what comes first, the chicken or the egg? Democracy or liberalism, liberalism or democracy? Can living in a healthy democracy teach people to be liberal?

  • More generally: correlation is not the same as causation! Just because x and y are often found together, doesn’t mean x causes y. Maybe y causes x?

The civic culture almond verba
The Civic Culture: Almond &Verba Russia, and South Africa

  • Two components:

    • A participatory attitude toward politics. Individuals value participation and become involved in their communities (not just their own narrow self interest). Communities therefore have a rich associational life.

    • Trust in other people and a willingness to cooperate.

The civic culture almond verba1
The Civic Culture: Almond &Verba Russia, and South Africa

  • In contrast to “Amoral Familism.”

    • All loyalty and trust is centered in the family.

    • People are not public-spirited: they don’t participate in community life, are not informed about politics, etc.

    • No trust of “outsiders,” no willingness to cooperate.

    • Maximize material, short-run advantage of family.

    • Communities lack much associational life.

The civic culture almond verba2
The Civic Culture: Almond &Verba Russia, and South Africa

  • Hypothesis:

    • Civic Culture => Stable Democracy

    • Amoral Familism => Unstable Democracy

The civic culture almond verba3
The Civic Culture: Almond &Verba Russia, and South Africa

  • Test:

    • Measure civic culture in 5 countries that vary in their level of democratic stability

    • Prediction: Civic culture high in US and GB, low in Mexico and Italy, moderate in Germany.

  • Results: hypothesis confirmed!

  • Conclusion: culture => democratic stability

The civic culture almond verba4
The Civic Culture: Almond &Verba Russia, and South Africa

  • BUT: Couldn’t the relationship run the other way? Perhaps high levels of civic culture are an effect of stable institutions, not their cause!

  • AND: Perhaps both cultural values and democratic stability are caused by something else, namely, economic development?

  • In general: correlation is not the same as causation!!!

The civic culture revisited putnam s making democracy work
The Civic Culture revisited: Putnam’s Russia, and South AfricaMaking Democracy Work

  • Why does democracy work well in some places but not others?

  • The Italian experiment: 15 identical regional governments situated in different economic and cultural contexts. Would they perform differently? If so, why?

The civic culture revisited putnam s making democracy work1
The Civic Culture revisited: Putnam’s Russia, and South AfricaMaking Democracy Work

  • In fact: performance has been quite varied. Government in the north = good; government in the south = not so good.

  • The institutions are the same but their performance varies. WHY?

Explanations for the difference between the north and the south
Explanations for the difference between the North and the South?

  • Explanation One: Economic development. The North is rich, the South is poor.

  • Explanation Two: Culture. Civic culture is high in the North, low in the South.

  • So which is it? And what causes what?

Explanations for the difference between the north and the south1
Explanations for the difference between the North and the South?

  • Putnam: Culture.

  • Why? Because the cultural differences observed in Northern Italy emerged first, before the economic differences, and long before the political ones.

The historical argument
The historical argument . . . South?

  • Medieval Italy: a time of great violence and anarchy. Insecurity was a constant fact of life.

    • In the South: the solution was to strengthen the power of the king, who could then secure the area. Cost: community autonomy.

    • In the North: the solution was self-governance and mutual aid and defense.

The historical argument1
The historical argument . . . South?

  • These different solutions had a long-lasting impact on the cultural traditions of the areas. A rich associational life flourished in the North, atrophied in the South.

  • Furthermore, these cultural traditions emerged well before economic differences became entrenched.

  • Thus, culture preceded politics and economics.

Okay so why
Okay, so why? South?

  • Rich associational life (“social capital”) => Solves collective action problems.

    • Rich associational life means people interact repeatedly with one another, which helps them identify and punish free-riders.

    • Rich associational life also promotes “norms of reciprocity.”

Questions and problems
Questions and Problems South?

  • Cooperation might be good or bad for democracy.

  • Not all associational life is created equal. Associational life has a dark side too.

  • Trust may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Liberalism: good government is founded on distrust!