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East, rivista internazionale di geopolitica
European Regional Master's Degree in Democracy and Human Rights in South East Europe
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Neopatriarchy and Political Violence. Understanding Ethnic Conflict in the Balkans and Transcaucasia

by Ivan Ivekovic

The developmental disequilibrium in the Transcaucasus and ex-Yugoslavia was described as the consequence of an uneven and contradictory process of transition from traditional agrarian to industrial economy. This process was characteristic of the communist type of modernisation 'from above' and of the related 'Pittsburgh' type of industrialisation, during which rural populations were brutally uprooted and called on to play social roles for which they were not prepared and to which they had difficulties adapting. In our parts the 'Pitts­burgh' technological peak was reached in few industrial sectors only, while the economy as a whole lagged behind, with an unresolved 'peasant question' which neither the closed So­viet nor the more open Yugoslav systems have succeeded in putting ad acta. It should not be forgotten that only a generation ago both countries still had a predominantly rural popula­tion. Indeed, the rural population's proportion in the present conflict zones both in the Bal­kans and in the former Soviet space remains still very high. Relevantly, some of these re­stricted rural zones exhibit a relatively higher population density per square kilometre than adjacent ones with higher levels of urbanisation where violent conflicts have been so far avoided. It would be interesting to map up the geographical distribution of 'ethnic' conflicts in Eastern Europe and in the former Soviet space and compare it with the rural-urban ratio, population density and recent demographic changes in zones where the conflicts have been the most violent.


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