|Contributions of the volume, conducted by the study group of University of Berkeley and Santa Cruz, are examining the causes of sectarian and ethnic conflicts. The authors are advancing a monocausal explanation of the growth of ethnic and sectarian violence, which they perceive as a consequence of the triumph of economic globalization and the victory of “world-shrinking” ideologies. The main argument is refined in the introductory article by Beverly Crawford, in which the notions of ethnic violence and cultural conflicts are critically examined. Crawford maintains that causes of violence lie in processes of globalization and liberalization, which is undermining the legitimacy of the current institutions in postsocialist and the Third World, allowing hence the emergence of political entrepreneurs who utilize on identity policies and give the conflict its ethnic facet.
Contributions are testing the central thesis on a wide variety of examples (12 cases from Western Europe, former Communist bloc and developing world). The immediate nexus between nationalism and war is examined in: Andrew V.Bell-Fialkoff, Andrei S.Markovits, Nationalism: rethinking the paradigm in European context, 147-196; Beverly Crawford, Explaining cultural conflict in the ex-Yugoslavia: Institutional Weakness, Economical Crisis and identity Politics, 197-260; John C. Leslie, Reemerging ethnic politics in Germany: far right parties and violence. 353-393 and Maria Todorova, Identity Transformation among Bulgarian Muslims, 472-511.