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Maria Koinova Publications


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Koinova, Maria, 2013. Ethnonationalist Conflict in Postcommunist States: Varieties of Governance in Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Kosovo
(Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press).

book Maria KoinovaThis comparative study applies historical institutionalism to conflict analysis, and develops a theory about the emergence, sustenance, and change of informally institutionalized conflict dynamics over time. It demonstrates that conflict dynamics are much more static than current conflict scholarship is inclined to think. Chapter 7 is dedicated to the intervention of identity-based actors in intra-state conflicts. It features a theoretical discussion about diasporas and conflicts, and empirical discussion about the impact of the Albanian and ethnic Turkish diasporas on the ethno-national conflicts in Kosovo, Macedonia, and Bulgaria.

Reviewed in Foreign Affairs (January/February 2014): “Elaborate but lucid explanations inform [Koinova’s] explanations.”

Recommended by Choice Magazine (March 2014): “With its rich theoretical and empirical focus, this volume should be of interest to a variety of scholars and practitioners interested in conflict analysis.”

Excerpts from Reviews in Journals 2014-2015.

Please contact for the latest versions of papers and works in progress.

ISI-ranked Journal Articles


Book Chapters, Reviews, and Reports


Works in Progress

  • Koinova, Maria (co-authored with Fiona Adamson). 2013. “The Global City as a Space for Transnational Identity Politics,” SOAS Working Paper, currently under R&R with a leading IR journal.

Abstract: Global Cities are key nodes in circuits of transnational political activity. As dense spaces of political interaction, cities provide bundles of material, political and ideational resources that allow for the generation of new identities and frames of meaning, shifts in tactical and strategic alliances, and network brokerage activities. The important functions of cities in facilitating transnationalism have not been adequately explored in the existing International Relations (IR) literature on transnationalism. In this article, we use the case of London as a Global City to examine how it functions as a dense institutional context; a node in multiple global networks; and as a resource-rich environment, thereby providing a space for innovations in transnational politics. We focus on the strategies employed by identity-based transnational political entrepreneurs and discuss four mechanisms of mobilization: brokerage (the linking of disparate networks), strategic framing (the use of symbolic politics), coalition-building (the forging of alliances between organizations) and social learning or mediated diffusion (the adoption of new ideas and practices). Our analysis challenges both standard state-centric and single-case study accounts of transnational activity, suggesting a novel site of investigation for IR scholars.

Presented at: ISA 2012, Warwick University 2014.

  • Koinova, Maria (2014). “Sending States and Diaspora Positionality: Post-conflict State-building in Kosovo and Diasporas in Different Contexts” under review with an ISI-ranked journal.

Abstract: Changing notions of state sovereignty require understanding nation-states beyond realist "billiard balls" competing for power in the international system, liberalist analogies to "cobwebs" of mutually beneficial relationships, and constructivist references to values and identities as crucial markers of international politics. In what Agnew (1994, 2003) calls the "modern geopolitical imagination," states escape the "territorial trap" by seeking power outside their borders and to gain formal or informal control over other regions and resources. Sending states with large diasporas abroad expand extraterritorially by way of interest-based, identity-based, or governmentality logics. The article innovates by specifically focusing on how sending states factor in the diasporas' geographical positions and the power derived from such positions. Theoretically, it shows how "diaspora positionality" helps understand the sociospatial dimension of sending states' politics, especially when applied to a subset of postconflict states that fall between full-fledged, relatively strong states and weak states experiencing violent conflict. Empirically, the article is based on research from Kosovo as a postconflict de facto state, and discusses comparatively state-builders' attitudes toward Kosovo Albanians in different contexts: the UK, US, Sweden, Switzerland, and Germany.

Presented at: International Studies Association 2014, Association for the Study of Nationalities 2014, American Political Science Association 2014.

  • Koinova, Maria. (2015). “Politically Relevant Environment” for Transnational Mobilization of Conflict-generated Diasporas,” under review with an ISI-ranked journal.

Abstract: The growing literature on transnational diaspora politics is seeking conceptual clarity as to which factors to examine when analysing transnational diaspora mobilization. This is especially important when considering conflict-generated diasporas for whom conflict and post-conflict processes in the original homeland exert strong influences on their modes of mobilization. There is a general understanding that factors related to diasporas, homelands, and host-lands matter, and some relationships have already been established through case-based and more recently through comparative research (Shain 2002, 2007; Adamson 2002, 2005; Koopmans et al 2005, Brinkerhoff 2009, Koinova 2009, 2011 and others). Yet, the field still lacks understanding about what factors are important and why, and why others are not as important, although Comparative Politics and International Relations as disciplines would consider them as such. It is also important to understand how conflict and post-conflict processes affecting diasporas are embedded in the international geopolitical and normative environment. This paper presents the concept of the “Politically Relevant Environment” for transnational diaspora mobilization, which have started developing in previous work (2014). Building on work on concepts developed by Sartori (1975), Teune (1975), Goertz (2006), Collier and Gerring (2009), Levitsky (2009), Gerring (2012) and others, this paper outlines the property space of this concept, its constitutive elements, and utility for the analysis. Using a rule of differentiation, it also delineates the concept from neighboring ones, such as Maoz (1996) “Politically Relevant International Environment,” a “triangular relationship” between diaspora, homeland, and host-land, and the Political opportunity structures approach that has been widely used by analysis so far, but often without precision. Concluding, this paper discusses also the concept’s transferability to different political contexts.