Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to announce a Call for Papers for the Special issue of Journal of Liberty and International Affairs:



Ethnic and Territorial Politics in the Processes of Democratization


Guest Editor: Josipa Rizankoska, PhD

Academia: https://unisi.academia.edu/JosipaRizankoska

Research Gate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Josipa_Rizankoska


For more information please visit: http://e-jlia.com   

Indexing / Abstracting: The journal is indexed by EBSCO, ANVUR, DOAJ, CEEOL, ESO, SSOAR, Erih Plus, and over 88 other services.

Submission email: contact@e-jlia.com

Contact Details:
Please address all correspondence regarding this Special issue to: contact@e-jlia.com


Important Dates:

Step 1: Abstract Submission: deadline October 15, 2019

Step 2: Abstract acceptance notifications: deadline November 20, 2019

Step 3: Paper submission: deadline December 25, 2019.



  • The authors are strongly encouraged to read the Article Guidelines carefully before preparing a paper for submission.
  • Submissions should be sent in a Microsoft Word format, as an Email attachment to: contact@e-jlia.com, with “JLIA Special Issue” in the subject line.
  • Earlier submission of the papers helps us to manage the review process in a timely manner.



In the late 20th century Keating argued that the current era was witnessing not the end of territorial politics, but their reconfiguration and re-emergence in new and potent forms. He claimed that territory always seems to return because it is intimately linked to identity and politics, although this too is often ignored because it is so fundamental. ‘Political identities are complex and increasingly multiple, but do tend to be linked to a territory, a place, a homeland’, argues Keating.

Long before the 2014 Scottish Referendum for Independence, or the 2014 ‘Consulta’ and the 2017 referendum attempt in Catalonia, Europe abounded with regions where territorially concentrated groups asserted aspirations for national self-determination. The territorial politics of Western Europe has indeed revived in the past decades, and along has increased the scholarship attention to the ethno-regionalist party family. Very often, the ethno-regionalist phenomenon has been investigated under the presumption that it drives potential for secession by violent means, although Sorens argues that violent secession is a rare phenomenon in advanced democracies, and that the struggle for independence normally opts for democratic-electoral tools.

Three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, post-communist Eastern Europe, challenged by parallel nation-state building and democratic transition processes, is still facing political issues of ethno-territorial nature. National minorities had awakened with the disintegration of the former federations of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, and the birth of the newly nationalizing states have raised their nationalist appetites along with the rise of the nationalism by the titular ethnic groups. Brubaker would, therefore, state that ‘at the same moment when Western Europe seemed to be moving beyond nation-state, Eastern Europe and Eurasia appeared to be moving back to the nation-state, entering not a post-national but a post-multinational era’.

While we have been witnessing bloody secessionist movements and inter-ethnic conflicts in several CEE countries, such as those in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Moldova, Ukraine etc., we have also observed a democratizing trend in the mobilization processes of the ethno-regionalist movements in the transitioning period. That is to say, we have been witnessing a proliferation of ethno-regionalist parties (ERP) whose self-determination claims have remained predominantly within the electoral party competition field. In democracies, ERPs have arisen as the main political players claiming to hold the “ownership” of the center-periphery cleavage, and in the past decades, they increased their size, their blackmail potential and coalition bargaining power, therefore they have increased their policy-making influence as well.

The debunking of the “architectonic illusion of the realism of the group” by Brubaker has served as a scholarly motivation to no longer look at national minorities as internally homogeneous and externally bounded groups, where power-sharing model would fit the best (usually met in Lijphart’s work), but to open horizons for new theories on the ERP role in the ethnic politics. Apart from the outbidding competition theory within ethnically heterogeneous societies (met in the scholarship of Rabushka and Shepsle, and Horowitz), novel theory on the competition beyond the segmented market by Zuber has been postulated. These theories no longer neglect the intra-group party competition, but they look in the intra and inter-group electoral party competition games as motors for radicalization of the ERPs’ ideologies. So, the main switch of scholarship attention in both Western and Eastern European ethno-regionalist politics, is from treating ethnic-regionalist parties as a ‘zero-sum’ game factors (power-sharing theory) to considering them as vote-maximizing strategic players in the electoral competition game (outbidding and nested competition theories). Moreover, by acknowledging that center-periphery is not a niche issue or dimension, but a long-standing structural cleavage in many societies, latest literature widens the perspectives for ERPs in the party competition field.

Finally, devolution of politics, where these parties and movements find their reason d’etre, is an issue of democratization for Western Europe, as much as for the post-communist Europe. The European Union (EU) has offered the same mitigating solutions for ethno-regional groups’ territorial appetites to the newly nationalizing states that have already been in the hands of the ethno-regionalists in the Western Europe. Namely, the devolution of politics, along with the pre-accession criteria, among which the demand for strict respect of human and minority rights, were to deal with inter-ethnic issues and secessionist claims. ERPs could now find their place in their party family within the EU Parliament, and directly benefit from the EU Regional Policy. This being said, the EU enlargement process imposed the already existing Nomenclature of territorial units for statistics (NUTS) to the new Member States and the Candidate Countries from the CEE region as well. While initially it is meant to serve for statistical purposes only, NUTS also helps the realization of the Regional Policy as well. The Regional Policy on the other hand helps concentrated national minorities in neighboring cross-country regions to establish better connection with their kin states and deepen the cultural and economic cooperation.

Therefore, decentralization level in many countries has been tailored according to the ethnic structure of the population, and in some, there have been conflicts for the purpose of gaining more territorial autonomy for the territorially concentrated ethno-national minorities. It is no surprise, then, that the high concentration of the same ethnic community in a given region might empower groups for mobilization. And it is in this democratization effort through effective decentralization where ERPs find their ‘playground’. As Keating argues, regions are not a given fact of life but a social construction, they are constantly being made and remade, and even if historic elements are often pressed into service, their meaning is shaped by contemporary forces. ERPs have, consequently, have increased their power in the negotiation processes regarding regions’ shaping. Four out of nineteen countries in Central Easter Europe have never had a regional tier of territorial organization. Yet, the very establishment of administrative-territorial organization at regional level does not directly imply an effective regional tier of government. The span of competences of a region might vary greatly between countries and regions, and this once more, is a crucial issue within ERPs’ ideologies.

We therefore are faced with many research questions tackling territorial politics, devolution of power and ethno-regional issues. This call for a special issue regarding the devolution of politics in ethnically heterogeneous Europe can address research questions covering the following (but not exclusively) topics:


I. General aspects on ethnicity and politics in Europe (at EU, national, regional or local level).

  • Theoretical aspects on ethnic identities in Europe (self-determination and ethnicities).
  • The relationship of national minorities with the nationalizing states, external national homelands and the International community (the quadratic nexus).
  • National minorities’ rights in the EU enlargement processes.

II. Ethnic issues and party politics in Europe (at EU, national, regional or local level).

  • Theoretical perspectives on the ERPs in Europe in the electoral processes.
  • Mainstream and ER parties’ electoral strategies on ethno-territorial issues.
  • Radicalism of ERPs’ ideology in Europe: party manifestos and electoral rhetoric (from protectionism to independence).

III. Territorial politics and devolution of power in ethnically heterogeneous nationalizing states in Europe.

  • Decentralization, self-government and national minorities (gerrymandering, NUTS, regional authority powers). 
  • EU, national, regional and local policies that affect national minorities and stateless nations.
  • Public opinion and devolution of politics.

IV. Democratization challenged by ethno-territorial politics in Europe.

  • Theory on the influence of ethno-territorial issues on the democratization processes.
  • EU enlargement, EU Regional Policy and ethnic issues (Copenhagen criteria, EU Regulations etc.)
  • Secessionist movements and potential for violence.

The authors are encouraged to contribute with innovative theoretical perspectives, variety of (qualitative or quantitative) methods and different data nature. Moreover, the authors have the liberty to choose whether they will elaborate case studies, comparative intra and cross country models, cross-Europe regional perspectives or research from a narrower geographical area.

Open Access:

Journal of Liberty and International Affairs is an electronic and fully open access journal, which means that all articles are freely available, ensuring maximum, worldwide dissemination of content, in exchange for an article publication fee. Special issues are made freely available online to all interested readers, thus leading to the maximum possible dissemination and recognition within the scientific community.

Peer-review Policy:

Journal of Liberty and International Affairs is a peer-reviewed journal, all papers being examined by researchers with credentials in the paper’s field of study before they are published. Papers are subjects to initial editorial screening and anonymous peer-review by two reviewers who will be selected by the editors. Journal of Liberty and International Affairs follows double-blind peer-review policy strictly.

We are looking forward to receiving and reading your papers!


Kind regards,

JLIA editorial team

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