Blueprints for a House Divided

The Constitutional Logic of the Yugoslav Conflicts
Robert M. Hayden
Argues that international diplomatic activities to resolve the Yugoslav conflicts have been misconceived


If a house divided against itself cannot stand, does it help to declare it a condominium? This book examines why the common Yugoslav and Bosnian houses came to be divided, and how international diplomatic activities to resolve the conflicts have been misconceived.

Through an analysis that combines cultural examination and constitutional study, Robert Hayden argues that almost everything that has happened in the former Yugoslavia since 1989 is congruent with the logic of the politicians who won election in the free and fair elections of 1990 and with the constitutional structures that these politicians have created. Once the idea of a common state for all of the Yugoslav peoples lost electorally, the conflicts that followed were so logical as to be inescapable.

Throughout, the analysis relies almost exclusively on materials from the former Yugoslavia itself and on what participants said to each other in their own languages rather than in English to the world community. Drawing on the work of Max Weber and Tzvetan Todorov, this book also discusses the ethical and moral dangers of ignoring the probable consequences of actions that might be desirable in the abstract. A major conclusion is that the actions of the international community were never likely to achieve their stated goals, because they were based on premises unrelated to those driving the Yugoslav peoples themselves.

This book addresses issues of interest in anthropology, political science, international relations, law, ethics, East European studies, and policy making.

Robert M. Hayden is Associate Professor of Anthropology, Associate Professor of Law, and Director, Center for Russian and East European Studies, University of Pittsburgh.

Praise / Awards

  • "[Hayden's] intimate knowledge of Yugoslavia enables him to conceptualize the implication of constitutional changes on the society itself. Consequently, he portrays the events to be the result of an inherent logic in the constitutional structures, and not the result of some kind of irrational chaos. . . . Hayden's book has much substance and deserves to be read with care."
    Journal of Peace Research, Volume 39: No. 3 (May 2002)

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 224pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2000
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-08756-3

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  • $30.95 U.S.