Publications of Erin K. Jenne

When will we Part with Partition Theory? An Account of its Flawed Premises and Improbable Longevity

This paper argues that the theory of ethnic partition, first formally articulated in the early 1990s, is plagued by flawed premises and weak empirical support. Partition theory is based on the assumption that ethnic civil wars create such intense fears and insecurities at the sub-state level that the warring sides will no longer be able to coexist in a common society. Owing to the intractable nature of this so-called ethnic security dilemma, the combatant groups will only agree to disarm once they are safely separated into defensible state-like territories. This paper argues that the security dilemma is a poor heuristic for explaining the dynamics of protracted sectarian conflicts. As a result, partition theorists underestimate the potential for ethnic reintegration, offer political cover for ethnic cleansers, and prescribe more extreme solutions to ethnic war than are actually warranted. Having demonstrated the flawed assumptions upon which partition theory is based, the paper concludes by outlining possible reasons for the theory's persistence despite its faulty underpinnings.

Hungary’s Illiberal Turn: Can Outsiders Help?

Hungary’s "constitutional revolution" presents the most significant case of democratic backsliding in the European Union to date. The illiberal constitution, introduced by the Orbán government and protected by a host of new appointees, undermines the independence of various political institutions and guarantees virtually unlimited powers for the ruling party. But it also challenges the core values of the European Union, while underscoring significant limitations of supranational community in regulating the more troublesome behavior of its member states. In this article, the authors identify the key weaknesses of the main domestic and international actors in resisting Orbán’s constitutional revolution and highlight some promising developments within Hungarian civil society, which deserve direct and indirect support from the international community.

Jenne EK. The Causes and Consequences of Ethnic Cleansing. In: Cordell K, Wolff S, editors. Routledge Handbook of Ethnic Conflict. London: Routledge; 2010. p. 112-21.
Jenne EK. Ethnic Partition under the League of Nations: The Cases of Population Exchanges in the Interwar Balkans. In: Chenoweth E, Lawrence A, editors. Rethinking Violence: States and Non-State Actors in Conflict. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press; 2010. p. 117-40. (Belfer Center studies in international security.).
Jenne EK, Saideman SM. The International Relations of Ethnic Conflict. In: Midlarsky MI, editor. Handbook of War Studies III: the intrastate dimension. Ann Arbor: Univesrsity Of Michigan Press; 2009. p. 260-79.
Jenne EK, Saideman SM. The International Relations of Ethnic Conflict. In: Midlarsky MI, editor. Handbook of War Studies III. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press; 2009. p. 260-80.