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close this bookEthnicity and Power in the Contemporary World (UNU, 1996, 298 pages)
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View the documentNote to the reader from the UNU
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentIntroduction
close this folder1. Governance and conflict resolution in multi-ethnic societies
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View the document1 Governance, ethnicity, and conflict resolution
View the document2 The role of the state
View the document3 The concept of self-determination
View the document4 Governance and conflict resolution in multi-ethnic societies
View the document5 International responses and mechanisms
close this folder2. Ethnic conflict in the Horn of Africa: Myth and reality
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View the documentIntroduction
View the documentConceptual problems
View the documentProblems of definition
View the documentEthnicity and social harmony
View the documentThe role of ideology
View the documentTraditional remedies
View the documentAn alternative approach
View the documentConclusion
View the document3. Ethnic conflicts in the context of social science theories
close this folder4. Settlement of ethnic conflicts in post-Soviet society
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View the document1 Introduction
View the document2 Types of inter-ethnic conflicts and their distribution
View the document3 Ways to prevent ethnic conflicts
close this folder5. Dynamics of the Moldova Trans-Dniester ethnic conflict (late 1990s to early 1990s)
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View the document1 Introduction
View the document2 Historical background
View the document3 Linguistic disputes and growth of ethnic political activism in Moldova
View the document4 First power shift and proclamation of sovereignty
View the document5 From declaring sovereignty to declaring independence
View the document6 The august 1991 coup attempt and the transition to independence
View the document7 Large-scale inter-ethnic violence
View the document8 Bloodshed and conflict settlement in Bendery
View the document9 Socio-political change and inter-ethnic violence
View the document10 Ethno-political legitimacy crisis as transition to violence
View the document6. Ethnic conflict in the Osh region in summer 1990: Reasons and lessons
close this folder7. From centre-periphery conflict to the making of new nationality policy in an independent state: Estonia
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View the documentFrom country to borderland, from nation to minority
View the documentAn ethnically divided society
View the documentThe language issue
View the documentWho has been the minority since august 1991?
View the documentConclusion
close this folder8. Conflict management in the former USSR and world experience
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View the document1 Introduction
View the document2 On the notion of ''conflict management''
View the document3 Two cultures of conflict management
View the document4 Ethnic conflicts as objects of management
View the document5 Ethnic conflicts in the former USSR: history and lessons
View the document6. Conclusion: Learning lessons
close this folder9. The dissolution of multi-ethnic states: The case of Yugoslavia
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View the documentPrologue
View the documentThe situation after the process of dissolution
View the documentUnresolved problems will remain
View the documentWhat are the prospects?
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close this folder10. Ethnic conflict, federalism, and democracy in India
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View the documentIndia's ethnic spectrum
View the documentPotential for conflicts and their protraction
View the documentSimultaneous conflict formation and conflict containment
View the documentDynamics of development
View the documentFederalism
View the documentDemocratic politics
View the documentConclusion
close this folder11. An intractable conflict? Northern Ireland: A need for pragmatism
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View the documentIntroduction
View the documentAn intractable conflict?
View the documentA tractable conflict?
close this folder12. Political autonomy and conflict resolution: The Basque case
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View the document1 Introduction
View the document2. Basque singularity
View the document3. The significant political problems
View the document4 The statute of autonomy
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View the document6 Conclusion
close this folder13. Ethnic and racial groups in the USA: Conflict and cooperation
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View the documentIntroduction
View the documentPost-1965, immigration and the breakdown of the racial/ethnic dichotomy
View the documentVoluntary and involuntary minorities
View the documentThe identities of the dominant groups
View the documentIdentities and bias incidents
View the documentIncidents of bias in New York city
View the documentHoward beach
View the documentCompeting perspectives, multiple realities
close this folder14. Ethnic conflicts and minority protection: Roles for the international community
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View the document1 Why should the international community be concerned with ethnic conflicts?
View the document2. International roles in conflict prevention and resolution
View the document3 Reconciling the humanist impulsion and the quest for a stable international order: Requirements by the international community on how to manage minority conflicts
View the document4 Conclusions
View the document15 The right to autonomy: Chimera or solution?
View the documentOther titles of interest

1 Introduction

"The Basque Country," Euskal Herria, and Vasconia are all names referring to a territory divided between Spain and France. It encompasses the Spanish provinces of Navarre, Alava, Guipuzcoa, and Biscay and the ancient countries of Lapurdi, Zuberoa, and Lower Navarre in the Atlantic Pyrenees Department of France. This division has left the continental Basque Country in the north traditionally dependent on France, while the peninsular Basque Country, in turn, is dependent on the Spanish State.

Situated between an oceanic basin and the Ebro River, the territory spreads over 20,644 sq km. The peninsular zone is highly industrialized, although it is undergoing a structural crisis, particularly in Guipuzcoa and Biscay, and to a lesser degree in Navarre and Alava. The economy of the continental area is sustained by its primary sector, but other economic activities, such as tourism, are expanding.

While there have been constant claims for autonomy in the Basque territory controlled by France, the French government has never conceded any degree of political control. This article, therefore, deals exclusively with the peninsular, or Spanish, area. The Spanish Basque territory is itself politically divided into two autonomous communities: the Statutory Community of Navarre and the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country.

The Autonomous Community is governed by a basic law called the Statute of Autonomy. From a political and institutional point of view, this statute offers solutions to problems that persist in the Basque Country as a whole.

The Basque Country has always maintained a very notable singularity. It has its own language, Euskera (or Basque), which is of pre-Indo-European origin and is spoken by over one-fourth of the population. There is also a peculiar political-institutional framework, consisting of self-government through provincial parliaments, which has been historically respected by the Castilian monarchy (as well as that of France up to the 1789 revolution).

The nineteenth century was particularly hard on the peninsular Basque Country, because the majority of the population supported the losing faction in this period's two great dynastic wars (the Carlist Wars). The four provinces opted for defence of monarchic autocracy, the right to their own Church of the Old Regime, and, with unquestionable intensity, the continuation of the Basque Country's political uniqueness. During the second civil war, the Basque territory was the stage for war operations and a defeat which, for the first time in its history, resulted in the disappearance of its autonomous government. The only exception was an agreement to share taxes collected with the Spanish State.

It was precisely this formula, known as the "economic contract," which enabled Basque provincial institutions to undergo vigorous industrialization. This started with tremendous force at the end of the last century in Biscay, thanks to the sale of iron to England. This led to the accumulation of large sums of capital which were soon distributed to the adjacent territories. The Basque Country led Spain in industrialization and, subsequently, in development and standard of living.

Throughout this century, because of the appearance of the nationalist phenomenon, the Basque Country has made continuous demands for recognition of its political reality. The reign of Alfonso XIII brought no response to this growing demand. The monarch limited himself to conserving the economic contracts regime. It was during the Second Republic (1931-39) that the Basque Country (as well as Catalonia) articulated its strong will to obtain an autonomous political regime.

Its concept was based on the Statute of Autonomy and followed the decentralized model of the Weimar Republic. The Statute was obtained at the late date of 1936, in the midst of the Civil War, at a time when the Spanish Republican government needed to attract Basque support in the struggle against fascism and the insurgent military forces. Franco's regime suppressed all signs of Basque identity. Perhaps as a consequence of this overt oppression, when the political transition to democracy occurred after Franco's death, claims for autonomy, particularly in the Basque case, became an essential issue to be resolved. This was due both to the intensity of the claims as well as to political violence with clearly separatist objectives. For this reason, the Spanish Parliament approved a new Statute of Autonomy covering the provinces of Alava, Guipuzcoa, and Biscay. It was proclaimed on 18 December 1979. The Spanish legislators believed that an autonomy generous to the wishes of the Basque representatives would end terrorism and serve to integrate a territory that had traditionally been reluctant to take part in the Spanish political sphere.