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Minority civil society, inter-ethnic peace and sustainable democracy

Project description

Minority integration in the democratic process

Nationalism is on the rise today in post-Communist Europe. Nationalist sentiments have been used by dominant political forces against ethnic, racial and religious minority groups. Minorities have been blamed for economic and social problems the countries are facing. As a consequence, minorities lack full integration in the democratic institutions and ethno-cultural boundaries are created. The EU-funded MINSOC project aims to conduct a comparative study in post-Communist countries on the role the social institutions of both majority and minority groups (church, school, cultural associations) play in the creation of the ethno-cultural boundaries and on how minorities can be integrated into the democratic process.


"Minority civil society, inter-ethnic peace and sustainable democracy

Ethnic minorities make up a significant part of societies around the world, and contemporary migration patterns indicate that ethnic diversity is increasing globally. Meanwhile, state-driven majoritarian nationalism has strengthened in many regions of the world, including new and long-established democracies. In recent years, an increasing number of governments have used majoritarian nationalism to regain or construct legitimacy, following a familiar script: blaming internal and external ""others"" for economic and social issues. Comparative evidence reveals that members of ethnic, racial, or religious minorities are more likely than majority members to become alienated from democratic institutions. There is an urgent need for the scholarly community to find useful answers to the question of how democracy and inter-ethnic peace can be maintained under such conditions.

There is a rich body of scholarship about governmental strategies and policies aimed at achieving minority integration. There is, however, a dearth of comparative research on the role of social institutions, and particularly on the role of minority social institutions, in shaping state-minority relations, despite broad consensus on the significance of social institutions (such as churches, schools, cultural associations, etc.) in ethno-cultural boundary-making. This research begins to fill that gap by creating a comparative index of minority civil society institutions that minority populations use for ethnic boundary-making, based on the patterns observable among ten minority populations in post-communist Europe. The research will also identify those combinations of minority civil society institutions that are most likely to provide resources for democratic (vs. violent) forms of minority contestation and sustainable inter-ethnic peace, and it will assess the impact of external support on the development of minority civil society.


Net EU contribution
€ 186 167,04
8010 Graz

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Südösterreich Steiermark Graz
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 186 167,04