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Unintended consequences of state-building and the management of diversity in post-conflict Kosovo

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2018

Marius-Ionut Calu*
International Politics, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK. Email:


This paper examines the adoption of a multiethnic liberal-democratic model of governance in post-independence Kosovo and the dual task of state-building to secure unity and manage diversity. This article explains why in post-conflict and post-independence Kosovo, its domestic sovereignty and legitimization have become conditioned by the integration, accommodation, and protection of its minorities. While the existing literature has mainly focused on the shortcomings deriving from the exogenous character of state-building in Kosovo, this paper aims to challenge and complement this view by drawing on the “state-in-society” approach developed by Joel Migdal, which highlights that the actual states have less coherence than their theoretical counterparts. Analysis of post-independence Kosovo reveals the legislation-implementation gap and the unintended consequences arising under the impact of endogenous factors. Overall, this article shows that multiethnic state-building in Kosovo has been crucially transformed and “limited” by local idiosyncrasies.

Copyright © 2017 Association for the Study of Nationalities 

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