Why are certain regions of the world mired in conflict? And how did some regions in Eurasia emerge from the Cold War as peaceful and resilient? Why do conflicts ignite in Bosnia, Donbas, and Damascus—once on the peripheries of mighty empires—yet other postimperial peripheries like the Baltics or Central Europe enjoy quiet stability?
Anna Ohanyan argues for the salience of the neighborhood effect: the complex regional connectivity among ethnic-religious communities that can form resilient regions. In an account of Eurasian regional formation that stretches back long before the nation-state, Ohanyan refutes the notion that stable regions are the luxury of prosperous, stable, democratic states. She examines case studies from regions once on the fringes of the Habsburg, Ottoman, and Russian Empires to find the often-overlooked patterns of bonding and bridging, or clustering and isolation of political power and social resources, that are associated with regional resilience or fracture in those regions today.
With comparative examples from Latin America and Africa, The Neighborhood Effect offers a new explanation for the conflicts we are likely to see emerge as the unipolar US-led order dissolves, making the fractures in regional neighborhoods painfully evident. And it points the way to the future of peacebuilding: making space for the smaller links and connections that comprise a stable neighborhood.
About the author
Anna Ohanyan is Richard B. Finnegan Distinguished Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Stonehill College. She is the author of Networked Regionalism as Conflict Management (Stanford, 2015).
"Anybody interested in the never-ending ethnic conflicts around the world has much to learn from this book. The Neighborhood Effect makes the powerful case that regional fragmentation and adaptation have been primary to the empires and multi-ethnic states ruling over them, and any solution to these conflicts will require a better understanding of the regional context."
—Daron Acemoglu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"A must-read, especially for social scientists and regional specialists. This most impressive, insightful analysis traces the Habsburg, Ottoman, and Russian historical peripheries in Eurasia to demonstrate that, ultimately, it is the strength of regional ties that determine the political resilience of ensuing states."
—Fatma Muge Gocek, University of Michigan
"Anna Ohanyan's highly creative and ambitious study could not be more timely. The Neighborhood Effect reveals how regional susceptibility to conflict owes itself to social fault lines lingering from empires predating contemporary state formation. This book is essential for understanding the enduring role of empire and hierarchy across a diverse range of contemporary regional orders."
—Alexander Cooley, Barnard College, Columbia University
"Anna Ohanyan's intellectual courage makes this fascinating book particularly valuable for the reader seeking to make sense of our shifting global order. She plumbs the depths of the historical record, analyzes the contested meanings of today's geopolitical realignments, and does not shy away from hinting at the future directions of Eurasia's political realities."
—Stephen B. Riegg, Texas A&M University
"In this bold new study, Anna Ohanyan looks beyond the state to a world of neighborhoods forged in the peripheries of Eurasia's historical empires. To understand regional patterns of conflict and cooperation, Ohanyan argues, one needs to examine the nature of social connections within and between ethno-religious communities prior to contemporary statehood. The Neighborhood Effect's rich combination of history, theory, and comparison makes it a landmark contribution to Eurasian security studies."
—Brian D. Taylor, Syracuse University