The Neighborhood Effect
The Imperial Roots of Regional Fracture in Eurasia
Anna Ohanyan


Contents and Abstracts
1 The Neighborhood Effect: From Empires and States to Regional Resiliency
chapter abstract

The first chapter introduces the core arguments of the book. In particular, it presents the framework of regional connectivity on the former imperial peripheries, identifying the imperial legacies of regional instability and armed conflict on parts of the Eurasian continent. The chapter defines regions as systems that predate the state-centric system of world politics. This regions-before-state paradigm presents the methodology of regional connectivity (fracture/resilience), the neighborhood effect. It shows how the structure and distribution of societal connectivity within formal empires, as well as within nation-states, matters for the management of contemporary armed conflict. The chapter distinguishes between imperial and Westphalian (state-centric) approaches to regional studies. It provides theoretical implications for comparative regional studies.

2 How to Study Imperial Peripheries as Political Regions
chapter abstract

This chapter starts by situating the concept and theory of regional fracture/resilience in the context of the methodology of comparative historical analysis. This is followed by a concept development section, which then connects with the discussion of imperial peripheries as political regions. This section draws from the scholarship on social capital and produces a typology of connectivity on imperial peripheries. Categories of imperial peripheries are then profiled, according to their resilience, limited resilience, latent fracture, or subjection to predation. The empirical cases are discussed in the context of this typology. The chapter concludes with case selection, and a note on the descriptive and causal inferences that have emerged from this research design.

3 The Imperial Roots of Armed Conflict in Eurasia
chapter abstract

This chapter seeks to clarify the impact of regional connectivity at the imperial peripheries on contemporary armed conflicts in Eurasia. It begins with a rationale for applying an imperial frame to Eurasian security studies, explaining how this enriches existing theories and perspectives on the topic. The second section examines existing theories on the post-Soviet wars, some of which are cases that are covered in chapter 7. Next, the chapter delineates the key causal claims within the theory of regional fracture and resilience that is developed in Chapter 2, with a focus on its value to understanding contemporary armed conflicts across Eurasia. The chapter concludes with a section profiling imperial peripheries according to the density and nature of their connectivity and their neighborhood effect.

4 The Habsburg Empire and the Bosnian Province
chapter abstract

This chapter starts with a discussion of the neighborhood effect on the political peripheries of the Habsburg empire, focusing largely on the imperial institutions and their colonial governance style on the empire's political peripheries. It then focuses on the stressors that imperial governance applies to the regional connectivity on the peripheries. As with the subsequent two empirical chapters, this chapter focuses on a single political periphery, in this case the Bosnian province. This chapter is a study of regional connectivity expressed in terms of the existing bridging/bonding social capital and the density of civic institutions. This discussion is then integrated with chapter 7, on the conflict onset and severity of the Bosnian war in the post-Cold War period.

5 The Ottoman Empire and Eastern Anatolia
chapter abstract

This chapter starts out with a background discussion of the millet system of imperial governance in the Ottoman empire, explaining how the system was both a lever and a liability for imperial longevity. Particular emphasis is placed on the opportunities provided by and the limitations of center-periphery relations and their management. This entails discussing the regional implications of the millet system and the nature of regional connectivity and/or fracture in which it manifested. The chapter focuses on the issue of taxation as an area where imperial governance had very direct regional implications. The chapter then follows the same template as is followed for the Habsburg and Russian empires in chapters 4 and 6: it zooms in on one of the political peripheries of the empire, Eastern Anatolia in the last quarter of the 19th century and the early 20th century.

6 The Russian Empire and Transcaucasia
chapter abstract

The chapter begins by discussing the ways in which the Russian empire navigated two problems of imperial governance: attempts at administrative centralization and reform without broad-based political participation; and territorial expansion without institutional consolidation of administrative governance in the conquered territories. The chapter reviews various peripheries of the empire, largely within the analytical framework of the regional connectivity, the neighborhood effect, developed in this work. The chapter then focuses on Ukraine, describing its history as a political region in imperial Russia. This section is linked to the armed conflicts in eastern Ukraine, covered in chapter 7. The chapter also introduces a case study of a single political region, Russian Transcaucasia. A key theme introduced here is a reflection on regional hybridity, manifested in this region in parallel processes of regional fracture and resilience.

7 Paired Peripheries and (C)old Conflicts
chapter abstract

This chapter offers a theory of conflict that builds on the regional framework of connectivity, the neighborhood effect, developed in the book. It shows that this conflict theory is multitiered and regional in its scope, grounded in the comparative historical case studies of select imperial peripheries covered in chapters 4-6. Having examined the quality of imperial governance on the selected peripheries of the three empires, this chapter moves to assess the onset and severity of armed conflicts in these regions in the aftermath of the Cold War. It builds on the empirical analysis of the quality of regional governance on the imperial peripheries and probes the ways in which these imperial legacies have affected the contemporary onset and severity of armed conflict, against the backdrop of the receding of geopolitical rivalries in the post-Cold War period.

8 Peace by Proxy: The Neighborhood Effect in Turbulent Times
chapter abstract

The policy implications of this work are presented in this chapter. Building on the concept of the neighborhood effect, the chapter argues that regional statecraft has been under-utilized in fractured regions, with direct consequences for armed conflicts and peacebuilding. The policy implications also touch on the neo-imperial rivalry on the Eurasian continent, including an argument for region-building as a policy strategy for managing turbulent multipolarity in post-Cold War Eurasia.