Debating partition

Evaluating the standard justifications

Authored by: Brendan O’Leary

Routledge Handbook of Ethnic Conflict

Print publication date:  October  2010
Online publication date:  October  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415476256
eBook ISBN: 9780203845493
Adobe ISBN: 9781136927577


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Political partition may usefully be defined as a fresh political border cut through at least one community’s national homeland with the goal of resolving conflict (see Talbot and Singh 2009; applying the approach suggested in O’Leary 2007). Political partition is therefore distinct from adjacent phenomena, such as secessions, which are attempted within existing recognized units (O’Leary 2001: 54, 2005, 2007; the latter article defends this definition), or from border adjustments, such as those that occur after a shift in the course of a river bed, or from a shift in maritime boundaries following the immersion of an island, i.e., where the placements of people are not at stake.

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