Abstract

Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association 48th Annual Convention, Hilton Chicago, CHICAGO, IL, USA, Feb 28, 2007This paper explores the record of ethnic reintegration—the use of refugee return and property restitution to recreate multi-ethnic states in post-conflict settings—in the cases of post-conflict Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia and Kosovo. I aim to determine the overall success of this technique in reestablishing civic identities in divided societies. An evaluation of these cases suggests that the success of this strategy requires a considerable commitment on the part of third parties. There appear to be three principal factors that account for variation in success: (1) the use of coercion to return minorities to majority communities, (2) speedy intervention in the post-conflict period, and (3) a compliant host government. The difficulty of securing these conditions should serve as a warning against entering into such programs lightly. However, given the expressed desire of the international community to avoid the alternative solution (ethnic partition), a concerted effort to achieve these conditions may be well worth the effort.