Secession and Self-determination in the Late 20th Century

  • Milica Zarkovic Bookman


The redefinition of borders and the realignment of regional economies have taken place throughout history. While in the past reevaluations of center-region relationships have consisted of cost-benefit analyses based largely on religion, language and military power, in the present, economic factors seem to have taken on a new importance. Indeed, this study has shown that all 37 contemporary secessionist regions have clearly identifiable economic components that serve to increase the secessionist drive.1 In only six could one say that economics played an insignificant role.2 It furthermore seems likely that issues in regional economics will play an ever larger role in the revaluation of center-region relations in the years to come. This is true for several reasons. First, communications technologies have served to promote western lifestyles and thus create a demand for the concomitants of economic development. Given the widespread realization of what is attainable, pressure is exerted on regional leaders to maximize economic development. This drive for economic growth will tend to focus attention on economic elements of the relationship between regions and the center. Second, competition for scarce resources has increased as environmental pressures have restrained methods of production and population growth has put pressure on educational, health, and employment systems. This competitive environment is further intensified by the end of the cold war, which has decreased the availability of politically motivated aid and investment, causing regional leaders in potentially secessionist regions to become resentful of the dissipation of regional resources, and thus regionally introverted with respect to policy and goals.


Late 20th Century Small State Double Standard Regional Leader Communist Government 
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  1. 5.
    William L. Langer, An Encyclopedia of World History, 5th ed., Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1972.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    The role of the Catholic church in anti-Serbian war activities in Croatia during World War II is discussed in the following: The Economist, August 22, 1992, p. 36; and Stewart Lamont, Church and State: Uneasy Alliances, London: Bodley Head, 1989, p. 146. Furthermore, the Croatian minister of the interior of the independent fascist government during World War II, A. Artukovic, stated at his trial that whatever he and his Ustashas had done conformed to the principals of morality of the Catholic church (Borba, December 26, 1988).Google Scholar
  3. 9.
    Conor Cruise O’Brien, Godland: Reflections on Religion and Nationalism, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988, p. 40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Milica Zarkovic Bookman 1992

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  • Milica Zarkovic Bookman

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