Declarations of Independence after the Cold War: abandoning grievance and avoiding rupture

Argyro Kartsonaki*, Aleksandar Pavković

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


Declarations of Independence (DoIs) tend to employ the grievance topoi as a means to legitimize their demands for statehood. We find, however, that after the end of the Cold War a new subgenre of DoIs emerged, which deploys topoi not referring to grievances against the host state. These DoIs focus on commitments the secessionist state makes towards existing states. We analyse four DoIs, that of Slovenia, Croatia, Abkhazia, and Kosovo using Wodak et al.'s Critical Discourse Analysis and Wendt's categorization of state identity. Our findings show that these secessionist states pledge to adhere to the internationally recognized norms of democracy, rule of law, and human rights and put forward a discourse of “belonging” to a family of states defined by these norms. They call therefore for international recognition based on their commitment to socialization avoiding the rupture with the host state and the issue of breach of territorial integrity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1268-1285
Number of pages18
JournalNations and Nationalism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • commitment topos
  • Declarations of Independence
  • grievance topos
  • international recognition
  • unilateral secession


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