Assimilation and Exclusion: An Analysis of Failed Policy in Macedonia
Strauss, Joshua G.
- Submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Abstract: According to multiple political scientists, there is a direct correlation between the heterogeneity of a country's population and the potential for ethnic politicization and violence. In the face of such heterogeneity, governments face various options to limit ... read morethe potential damage, including forming a national identity which transcends ethnic bonds; instituting a policy of assimilation; and following a program of exclusion. Given the relatively recent appearance of Macedonia in its modern form, its ability to create a national identity which would encompass all ethnic groups found within its borders was extremely hindered. Additionally, there was a historic use of forced assimilation and harsher forms of homogenization in the Balkans. When faced, therefore, with Albanian nationalism in the 1980s and 1990s, Macedonia's following a program of assimilation and exclusion was understandable and predictable. Via policies such as educational reform, restrictions on language and family size, and economic, cultural, and political exclusion, the Macedonian Government attempted to counteract Albanian nationalism. The Macedonian Slav majority, however, was unable to bring the desired results of their exclusionary and assimilative policies to fruition. The Albanian minority's most innocuous resistance involved boycotts to peaceful protests, while the more violent ranged from the throwing of rocks to acts of terrorism. In fact, the ethnic Albanian resistance almost resulted in the dissolution of Macedonia by means of a referendum on Albanian autonomy and the subsequent declaration of the independent republic of Ilirida. Although the initial aim of the policies of assimilation and exclusion was to shore up Macedonia's political and territorial integrity, the result was almost the opposite; Macedonia was on the brink of civil war by 2001. This essay will analyze the rationale behind the Macedonian government's policies, the methods of Albanian resistance, and an explanation of the failure of government policy.read less