After forced migration to a country where immigrants form an ethnic majority, why do some individuals support exclusivist and nationalist political parties while others do not? Based on extensive interviews and an original survey of 1,200 local Serbs and ethnic Serbian refugees fleeing violent conflict in Bosnia and Croatia, The Politics of Social Ties argues that those immigrants who form close interpersonal networks with others who share their experiences, such as the loss of family, friends, and home, in addition to the memory of ethnic violence from past wars, are more likely to vote for nationalist parties. Any political mobilization occurring within these interpersonal networks is not strategic, rather, individuals engage in political discussion with people who have a greater capacity for mutual empathy over the course of discussing other daily concerns. This book adds the dimension of ethnic identity to the analysis of individual political behavior, without treating ethnic groups as homogeneous social categories. It adds valuable insight to the existing literature on political behavior by emphasizing the role of social ties among individuals.
Mila Dragojevic is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics at The University of the South in Sewanee, TN. She earned a Ph.D. in Political Science from Brown University. Her previous research was published in Ethnic and Racial Studies and Nationalities Papers, among other sources. Her ongoing research is driven by questions about the conditions under which cultural traits become foundations of politicized collective identities and conditions under which political violence occurs. She is currently working on a project exploring the relationship between collective memories and violence against civilians for which she received an ACA (Appalachian College Association) grant. She is also working on a collaborative project examining party patronage in post-communist democracies.
’Mila Dragojevi provides a detailed and thorough analysis of the ways Serbian refugees from Bosnia and Croatia integrated into political life in Serbia proper. But the work is much more than an impressive case study. Dragojevi’s research is path-breaking in specifying how refugees form interpersonal networks and how, once formed, these networks sustain social identities and affect political behaviors.’ Roger Petersen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA ’This is a superb micro-level analysis of why nationalist parties are more successful at attracting the support of some co-ethnics and not others. Based on an original examination of ethnic Serbs who migrated to Serbia from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina after 1991, Mila Dragojevi sheds light on the role of social ties within immigrant communities in shaping both their political attitudes and voting behavior. Her finding that immigrants are more likely to hold extreme beliefs and support extreme political parties when they have low levels of social incorporation has significant theoretical and policy implications. This book is a must read for both students of ethnic politics and policymakers in multi-ethnic states.’ Pauline Jones Luong, University of Michigan, USA ’This beautifully written and expertly crafted research on the political behavior of ethnically defined refugees (escaping discrimination as a minority to an ethnic homeland) destroys an entire literature on the relation between ethnic identity and conflict. Read this book for the unexpected experience such migrants face, the new refugee identities they establish in response, and why, and when, nationalist political parties benefit - not only in her primary case of Serbs and Serbia but also in Croatia, Algeria, and Israel.’ Susan L. Woodward, City University of New York, USA 'From its captivating subtitle, this book indeed raises some interesting theoretical questions, specifically how the refugee experience m