Irredentas and secessions

Adjacent phenomena, neglected connections

Authored by: Donald L. Horowitz

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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From Irredentism and International Politics, edited by Naomi Chazan. Copyright © 1991 Lynne Reinner Publishers inc. Reproduced here by permission of the publisher.

To think about something makes it necessary to identify and isolate it, to fix upon it and, in fixing upon it, to reify it. Even before conscious conceptualization occurs, even in the selection of phenomena for study, concepts creep in. The more careful the thinking, the more precise the identification of the phenomena for study, the greater the isolation of one phenomenon from its neighbours, even its near neighbours. When the careful thinker says, “I mean to include this and to exclude that,” the precision that makes any careful thinking possible may come at a price. Less careful but perhaps more nimble thinkers – namely, those actors whose behaviour forms the subject of social-science thinking – have a way of putting back together what careful thinkers pull apart.

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