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Department 1

Political Science


This study provides a critical examination of the relationship between segment states and nationalist crises through a consideration of Nicaragua's recent history. Nicaragua experienced a nationalist crisis from 1981 to the mid-1980s. That crisis ended with the creation of two autonomous regions on the Atlantic Coast. Although relations between the common state and the new segment state proved difficult over the next few years, the new arrangement held for two decades. Roughly around 2007, however, a new nation-state crisis emerged in Nicaragua. Taking advantage of the fact that Nicaragua provides an opportunity to compare two nation-state crises across time, this study asks whether the country's pattern of nation-state crisis, creation of a segment state, and emergence of a second nationalist crisis may mean that segment states are endogenous to nation-state crises. In addition, it raises the question of whether, if fully followed through, autonomy arrangements may prove stabilizing under certain contexts.


Original version is available from the publisher at:

This article was also published as a book chapter in Caroline Hartzell's edited volume, Segment States in the Developing World: Conflict's Cause or Cure?