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Understanding state responses to secession

Ker-Lindsay, James (2014) Understanding state responses to secession. Peacebuilding, 2 (1). pp. 28-44. ISSN 2164-7259

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Identification Number: 10.1080/21647259.2013.783258


The response of states to acts of secession on their territory has been subject to relatively little attention in the academic literature. Drawing on the examples of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Serbia and Kosovo, and Georgia and South Ossetia and Abkhazia, this article posits that there are in fact six reasons why states oppose acts of secession. These are: emotional attachment to the territory; internally displaced persons; economic factors; historical and cultural issues; fear of further secession; and national pride. Following on from this, the piece emphasises that subsequent efforts to prevent the secessionist territory from being recognised must be seen in the context of processes to resolve the situation arising from the act of secession. In some cases, this may be reunification. In others, it may be an agreed separation. At other times, it may be about leaving the door open for a military solution. In other words, opposing secession is a response to a tangible grievance. Opposing recognition is about shaping the conditions to redress that grievance. A better understanding of the specific dynamics of, and interrelationship between, these two factors would seem to be crucial for peacemakers.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Taylor & Francis
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2014 10:24
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2021 00:13

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