Majority-group Crisis Behavior [microform] : Restraint Vs Confrontation

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Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Toronto, 2005 - 672 pages
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What explains patterns of restraint vs. patterns of confrontation in the crisis behavior of majority groups? My thesis examines two dominant national majorities and their miscellaneous patterns of crisis behavior, manifested either in confrontational policies or in policies of restraint. I focus on the external security conditions and constraints that shape confrontational behavior, the domestic political dynamics that drive crisis behavior, and the framing of grievances and opportunities preceding ethnopolitical crises. In the course of the study, I use two types of methods, supplementing the semi-quantitative Boolean method with qualitative analysis. More specifically, I test alternative hypotheses on Greece and Turkey, two neighboring countries that feature a rich, highly explosive, but also diverse pool of ethnopolitical contention. I find that in the Boolean tests, the security dilemma explains fewer cases with more accuracy (i.e. 14 out of 15 cases, thus being an "almost" sufficient cause); the diversionary theory speaks for the majority of cases, albeit with less precision (20 out of 30). In sum, the findings suggest that the diversionary theory needs to be complemented by other variables, if we wish to explain a number of puzzling clusters of cases in Greece and Turkey. In the qualitative part of my thesis, I probe more deeply into these cases. Nationwide protests and confrontational policies over the Macedonian issue in Greece in the turbulent first half of the 1990s were not replicated over arguably equally important issues involving either Turkey or Albania. Likewise, political instability in Turkey and discontent over the Kurdish issue translated into mass mobilizations and confrontational policies towards Syria and Italy in the fall of 1998; however, the same factors did not prevent a significant Greek-Turkish compromise at the 1999 European Council summit in Helsinki. I argue that pre-crisis framing (i.e. framing before the advent of each crisis) can explain these apparently dichotomous cases, and working through parliamentary debates, I demonstrate the causal links between a predominantly adversarial framing of opportunities and grievances, on the one hand, and confrontational action, on the other. Finally, I argue that pre-crisis frames are causal: they become entrenched in the social norms, definitions of national interest, domestic politics, and even international negotiations of the majority-group, preventing adaptation as well as reassessment of policy errors.

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