The self-destructiveness of the former Yugoslav federal system has not yet received its appropriate place in numerous accounts of the causes of Yugoslavia’s disintegration. This essay explores the self-destructive mechanism of the former Yugoslav socialist federal system. Its main thesis is that it was the institutional composition of the former Yugoslavia that was largely responsible for the cleavages in the 1980s, which caused the mutually exclusive ethnic nationalisms of today. In other words, the crisis, the subsequent ethnonational homogenization and the dissolution of the federal state were a natural outcome of the constitutional foundations of the system. When in the 1980s, republican elites defined national self-determination not politically, in terms of citizens’ rights, but ethnically, in terms of group rights, they were closely following the Constitution. They recognized that insistence on "primordial" social, national and cultural differences in the country could be used to legitimize political power within their respective federal units. This insistence on the ethnic principle radicalized inter-ethnic relations in the country to the extent that the destruction of Yugoslavia became inevitable.
Guzina,Dejan. "The Self-Destruction of Yugoslavia," Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism 27, no. 1/2 (2000): 21-32.