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Ethno-Nationalism during Democratic Transition in Bulgaria: Political Pluralism as an Effective Remedy for Ethnic Conflict

Ethno-Nationalism during Democratic Transition in Bulgaria: Political Pluralism as an Effective Remedy for Ethnic Conflict

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Title: Ethno-Nationalism during Democratic Transition in Bulgaria: Political Pluralism as an Effective Remedy for Ethnic Conflict
Author: Volgyi, Bistra-Beatrix
Abstract: Contrary to mainstream liberal accounts placing Eastern European countries under the common denominator of being exclusively ethnically divisive societies plagued by historically entrenched primordial divisions, the eruption of violent ethno-religious conflict in the former Yugoslavia was an exception rather than the rule in the region. This paper will argue that ethnic nationalism although present in some form, is not an eternally prevailing, historically and geographically fixed feature of all Eastern European countries, and the processes of remedying ethnic animosities during transition vary from country to country determined by diverse factors such as history, culture, national identity and domestic politics. This variation in unique ethnic conflict management will be illustrated with the case of Bulgaria, which witnessed during its initial transition period (1989 -1991) the escalation of animosities between the country’s largest Muslim minority population and the national Bulgarian majority. Nevertheless, ethnic differences were channeled for mediation in the political and social space, without resorting to violent means. Ethnic politics do not always represent a ‘ticking time bomb waiting to explode’ if they involve cooperation and compromise. Democratic ethno- pluralism was constructive in the Bulgarian case to fostering civic unity, while guaranteeing safeguards for ethnic identity and self- expression in various spheres (education, party politics and the media). During the country’s unstable transition period, democratic ethno-pluralism fostered the conditions for managing the initial escalation of ethnic tensions.
Subject: national identity
democratic ethno-pluralism
Bulgarian history
communism
Movement for Rights and Freedoms
MRF
Type: Other
Rights: http://www.yorku.ca/yciss/
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/1374
http://www.yorku.ca/yciss/activities/documents/PCSPPaper003.pdf
Published: YCISS
Series: Post-Communist Studies Programme Research Paper ; 003
Date: 2007-03

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