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Reilly, B. (2010) Centripetalism. In: Cordell, Karl and Wolff, Stefan, (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Ethnic Conflict. Routledge, New York, pp. 288-299.


Two major political trends since the end of the Cold War have been the ongoing spread of democracy over autocracy as a form of government, and the growing prominence of intrastate rather than interstate forms of violent conflict. Between them, these countervailing forces defined world politics for much of the post-Cold War period. Beginning with the collapse of authoritarian regimes in Spain and Portugal in 1974 and working its way through Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia, what Samuel Huntington dubbed the ‘third wave’ of democracy led to a threefold increase in the number of democracies around the globe. At the same time, however, the world also witnessed a drastic change in the expression of large-scale conflict, towards internal violence, rather than the wars between states of the past. Simply put, democratisation and internal conflict comprise two of the most important currents of political change in the contemporary world.

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation: Asia Research Centre
Publisher: Routledge
Copyright: Routledge
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