Abstract

Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Town & Country Resort and Convention Center, San Diego, California, USA, Mar 22, 2006This paper explores the history of outside intervention, specifically coerced partition (implementing segregationist institutions through force), in the cases of Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s. The aim is to determine the overall success of this technique in consolidating peace and promoting multi-ethnic democracy in divided societies. The effectiveness of coerced partition is, on this evidence, discouraging at best. In Bosnia, implementing consociational institutions that tie ethnicity to territory has had the paradoxical effect of reifying the divide between the three groups, impeding refugee return, and preventing the emergence of inter-ethnic political cooperation. In Kosovo, the de facto ethnic partition of the protectorate from Serbia proper has further segmented Kosovar inhabitants along ethnic lines, hindered refugee return, and created a climate of insecurity among ethnic Serbs. This paper argues that alternative methods of mediation (mostly in the realm of preventive diplomacy) existed at every stage of both conflicts. Moreover, since the external actors ultimately used coercion to achieve peace in both cases, integrationist institutions might have been imposed in Bosnia and Kosovo to divorce ethnicity from territory and thereby develop truly multi-ethnic democracies.