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This paper examines the interplay between internal and external actors in the process of democratization and state-building in Albania and Kosovo. It does so by using David J. Smith's “quadratic nexus” that links Brubaker's “triadic nexus” – nationalizing states, national minorities and external national homelands – to the institutions of an ascendant and expansive “Euro-Atlantic space”. The main argument of this paper is twofold. First, it argues the nexus remains a useful framework in the study of state- and nation-building provided that it moves beyond the “civic vs. ethnic” dichotomy. Today, many states with a mixture of civic and multi-ethnic elements involve this relational nexus. Second, while comparing Albania and Kosovo, this paper argues that all the four elements of the nexus have a different impact on the process of state- and nation-building and their relationship is more conflictual in Kosovo than in Albania.
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