Paper Submission for ISA 2008

The quarter is ending faster than I am able to keep pace, but deadlines do roll in whether you like them or not. 

Today was the final deadline for submissions to next year’s International Studies Association conference in New York.  I finally got my act together and wrote up a quick abstract of my second year paper.  Let me know what you think. 

Unfortunately, I will not know for quite some time whether or not it will be accepted for presentation.  This year the selection criteria is supposed to be especially tough.  We’ll see what happens…

Title: Disputed Territoriality and Ethnohistorical Claims: Understanding Intractable Territorial Conflict in Israel, Serbia, and Armenia

Participants: Author – Ariel Zellman

Abstract: In an era of increasingly credible international commitments to the inviolability of existing borders and markedly decreasing material and strategic returns to territorial conquest, the objective costs of engaging in territorial revisionism are, in many respects, at an all-time high. While the initial wartime acquisition of territory can be explained by any number of factors, the real puzzle is why some states remain resistant to withdrawal. Often facing threats of international isolation or even military intervention and active resistance to rule by preexisting populations, instrumentally rationalist explanations cannot readily account for instances of “foreign” occupation in the contemporary international environment. Examining the cases of Israel, Serbia, and Armenia, this paper asserts that where a territory is seen as being imbued with culturally-informed historical meanings, conflict is significantly more likely to be intractable. Claims of this nature assign meaning to territory neither dependent on nor perfectly substituted by “more conventional” concerns of security, economic growth, strategic political positioning, or regime survival. The value-laden nature of these spaces further contributes to the sense that they are integral to the identity of the state and nation making the prospect of withdrawal increasingly unlikely.

Section/Theme/Organization Designations:
International Security Studies
Ethnicity Nationalism Migration

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