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The Politics of Forced Migration in the Drvar (Bosnia) and Maronite (Cyprus) Communities

European Politics
Migration
National Identity
Nationalism
Political Sociology
Negotiation
Neophytos Loizides
University of Kent
Danae Elston Alphas
University of Kent
Neophytos Loizides
University of Kent
Nina Sajic
University of Kent
Djordje Stefanovic
Saint Mary's University

Abstract

With few exceptions, the politics of internal forced migration remain under-theorized when it comes to the study of the interplay between political institutions, diaspora communities, and forced displacement. In this article, we compare the experiences of two communities ethnically displaced from their ancestral homeland; the Serbs in the Drvar region and the Cypriot Maronites. Drawing on interviews and survey data from Cyprus and Bosnia, we examine the impact of forced migration for displaced persons themselves and also the strategies employed leading to the partial reversal of ethnic cleansing. The article further highlights the different manifestations of community engagement at the local, national and global levels. We demonstrate the critical role of political institutions in facilitating voluntary peaceful return despite major differences in the opportunity structures facing Cypriot Maronites and Bosnia Serbs and argue that community effort resolves coordination and commitment problems even under conditions of inter-communal fear, mistrust and economic insecurity.