Ownership Claims in Conflict Regions

(Post)conflict countries (Kosovo, Israel, Cyprus)

These are the countries where territorial disputes are an important part of the conflict. We expect ownership claims to be particularly strong in this type of setting, because people are more strongly in need of control, secure social identity and a place they can call their own. Moreover, these contexts offer the possibility of examining how the reasoning behind CPO relates not only to negative attitudes and behaviours towards outgroup but also perceived possibilities for reconciliation. The interesting aspect is that in these contexts the two groups can use similar arguments. They can both argue that they were there first, or that the territory in question has played a crucial role in their ingroup’s past. For instance, both Serbs and Albanians see Kosovo as the cradle of their culture. However, some historical claims are exclusive and others could be shared between groups. Claiming first occupancy for one’s ingroup in these conflict areas simultaneously invalidates outgroup’s arguments about their first occupancy. In contrast, arguments about centrality of a territory in the formation of one’s ingroup do not preclude the possibility of the same territory being equally central for the outgroup. We to find out if emphasizing shareable claims has the potential for improving intergroup relations.

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