Societal Security in South Tyrol: A Model to Deal with Ethnic Conflicts
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South Tyrol has been referred to as a model to deal with ethnic diversity and resolving ethnic conflicts. This article explains the South Tyrol model’s success by blending ethnic politics with concepts from security studies: societal security and securitization. Societal security refers to threats that emerge from the fact that humans belong to communal groups that do not correspond to defined state borders. Securitization is the process by which an issue is considered as an existential threat that requires emergency measures. The article develops a framework to identify which dynamics made South Tyrol successful, analyzing factors that sparked security concerns and processes of securitization and highlighting actions and measures that tackled these dynamics. Concurrently, South Tyrol is used as an empirical case to expand our understanding of societal security and elaborate (and test) a detailed toolkit to prevent or dissolve the violent mobilization of ethnic diversity and societal security threats.