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"Right-Peopling" the state: nationalism, historical legacies, and ethnic cleansing in Europe, 1886-2020

Muller-Crepon, Carl, Schvitz, Guy and Cederman, Lars-Erik (2024) "Right-Peopling" the state: nationalism, historical legacies, and ethnic cleansing in Europe, 1886-2020. Journal of Conflict Resolution. ISSN 0022-0027

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Identification Number: 10.1177/00220027241227897


Many European nation-states were historically homogenized through violent ethnic cleansing. Despite its historical importance, we lack systematic evidence of the conditions under which groups where targeted with cleansing and how it impacted states’ ethnic demography. Rising nationalism in the nineteenth century threatened multi-ethnic states with “right-sizing” through secessionism and irredentism. States therefore frequently turned to brutal “right-peopling”, in particular where cross-border minorities and those with a history of political independence increased the risk of territorial losses. We test this argument with new spatial, time-variant data on ethnic geography and ethnic cleansing from 1886 to the present. We find that minorities that politically dominated another state and those that have lost political independence were most at risk of ethnic cleansing, especially in times of interstate war. At the macro-level, our results show that ethnic cleansing increased European states’ ethnic homogeneity almost as much as border change. Both produced today’s nation-states by aligning states and ethnic nations.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author(s)
Divisions: Government
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
J Political Science
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2024 12:00
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 17:30

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