The Neighborhood Effect: The Imperial Roots of Regional Fracture in Eurasia

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Stanford University Press, Aug 23, 2022 - Political Science - 320 pages

Why are certain regions of the world mired in conflict? And how did some regions in Eurasia emerge from the Cold War as peaceful and resilient? Why do conflicts ignite in Bosnia, Donbas, and Damascus--once on the peripheries of mighty empires--yet other postimperial peripheries like the Baltics or Central Europe enjoy quiet stability?

Anna Ohanyan argues for the salience of the neighborhood effect: the complex regional connectivity among ethnic-religious communities that can form resilient regions. In an account of Eurasian regional formation that stretches back long before the nation-state, Ohanyan refutes the notion that stable regions are the luxury of prosperous, stable, democratic states. She examines case studies from regions once on the fringes of the Habsburg, Ottoman, and Russian Empires to find the often-overlooked patterns of bonding and bridging, or clustering and isolation of political power and social resources, that are associated with regional resilience or fracture in those regions today.

With comparative examples from Latin America and Africa, The Neighborhood Effect offers a new explanation for the conflicts we are likely to see emerge as the unipolar US-led order dissolves, making the fractures in regional neighborhoods painfully evident. And it points the way to the future of peacebuilding: making space for the smaller links and connections that comprise a stable neighborhood.

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About the author (2022)

Anna Ohanyan is Richard B. Finnegan Distinguished Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Stonehill College. She is the author of Networked Regionalism as Conflict Management (Stanford, 2015).

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