ISBN: 9780812245226 (hardcover)

Anna Batta

US Air War College

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Maria Koinova presents an analysis of two important research questions: why do we see different levels of violence in ethnonationalist conflicts and why do these conflicts persist despite solid international conflict resolution efforts? With an elegant theory and clear writing, she demonstrates that the reason Bulgaria experienced low levels of violence, Macedonia mid-range level of violence, and Kosovo high levels is because of the conflict dynamics that were established between majorities, minorities, and international actors during the ’critical junction’ period at the end of communism. These dynamics have set relations on various paths which became solidified over time. In addition to providing analysis on the degree of violence, the author’s other contribution lies in her methodology, which is historical institutionalism combined with path dependence, timing, and sequencing. Scholarship rarely brings out the importance of exogenous shocks and change in conflict analysis, however she is able to tackle these topics. I think the stronger parts of the book are the sections on majority-minority relations and international intervention during the formative period. Perhaps the most challenging sections are the description of continuity and change in the ethnonationalist context, which is understandable given the complexity of the topic. This book is for those who want to reach deeper than the usual models of conflict theories, which often neglect the historical path of various cases. With interviews and extensive fieldwork Koinova delivers and the result is a distinct pattern of ethnic violence that is still relevant today.