Contested Ground: Disentangling Material and Symbolic Attachment to Disputed Territory

Citation:
Manekin, D, Grossman G, Mitts T.  2017.  Contested Ground: Disentangling Material and Symbolic Attachment to Disputed Territory. Working paper.

Abstract:

A large literature argues that territorial disputes are prone to conflict because of the value of territory to publics, whether due to its strategic and material worth, or to its intangible, symbolic value. Yet despite the implications of the distinction for both theory and policy, empirically disentangling the material from the symbolic has posed a formidable methodological challenge. We propose a set of tools for assessing the nature of individual territorial attachment, drawing on a series of survey experiments in Israel. Our empirical analysis illustrates how the distribution of territorial preferences in the domestic population can have powerful implications for conflict and its resolution.

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