Nations, Identity, Power

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Nationalism is pivotal to any understanding of contemporary politics, but our conception of it as a historical and contemporary phenomenon remains fragmentary and nebulous. In Nations, Identity, Power, George Schöpflin analyzes the contradictions inherent in our understanding of nationalism in order to fashion a new intellectual synthesis.

In particular he questions why nations in the West are able to live with the nation as the legitimate space for democratic institutions, ...

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Overview

Nationalism is pivotal to any understanding of contemporary politics, but our conception of it as a historical and contemporary phenomenon remains fragmentary and nebulous. In Nations, Identity, Power, George Schöpflin analyzes the contradictions inherent in our understanding of nationalism in order to fashion a new intellectual synthesis.

In particular he questions why nations in the West are able to live with the nation as the legitimate space for democratic institutions, whereas in the post-communist world, especially in Eastern Europe, ethnicity is preeminent. Sch&#246pflin argues that the nation is simultaneously ethnic, civic and structured by the state. Hence the excesses of ethnicity derive from the shortcomings of state capacity and the weakness of civil society, rather than being an inherent evil. If ethnicity is alive and well, what is its role? Here again, his answer is challenging: ethnicity is one of the bases for consent to be ruled by the interventionist and rationalizing modern state.

With due sensitivity to the implicit, the symbolic, and the ways in which power is legitimized, Schöpflin applies his understanding of nationalism to various East and Central European case studies, including Yugoslavia and Hungary. He also compares the role of ethnicity in other states, including Britain.

Overcoming the limits of both liberal and Marxist paradigms, this novel and thought-provoking book brings us several steps closer to understanding the intricacies of the nation-state and the operation of identity politics in the modern world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Aa cornucopia of informed and detailed insight on the politics of identity. [...] Schöpflin's writing is lively and vigorous, if abrasive. Ethnicity, identity, nationalism and nationhood are intriguing topics for study and certainly inform European politics today. Schöpflin has provided a fascinating book that deals with these issues in a thought-provoking, original and insightful manner. It is a great piece of erudite scholarship, which one will return totime and again."

-Times Higher Educational Supplement,

Booknews
A specialist in nationalism, Sch<:o>pflin (politics, U. of London) analyzes the contradictions inherent in the general understanding of it in order to fashion a new intellectual synthesis. In particular, he wonders why states in the West are able to live with the nation as the legitimate space for democratic institutions, whereas in the post- communist world, especially eastern Europe, ethnicity is pre-eminent. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Times Higher Education Supplement
A cornucopia of informed and detailed insight on the politics of identity. [...] Schöpflin's writing is lively and vigorous, if abrasive. Ethnicity, identity, nationalism and nationhood are intriguing topics for study and certainly inform European politics today. Schöpflin has provided a fascinating book that deals with these issues in a thought-provoking, original and insightful manner. It is a great piece of erudite scholarship, which one will return to time and again.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814781173
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2000
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

George Schöpflin is Jean Monnet Professor of Politics and Director of the Centre for the Study of Nationalism, S. S. E. E. S., University of London. His books include Politics in Eastern Europe, 1945-1992 and Myths and Nationhood (1997).

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements
1 Introduction: The Nature of the Beast 1
2 Reason, Identity and Power 9
3 Civil Society, Ethnicity and the State: A Threefold Relationship 35
4 Citizenship, Ethnicity and Cultural Reproduction 51
5 Left and Right: Europe in the 1990s 66
6 Commemoration: Why Remember? 74
7 A Taxonomy of Myths and their Functions 79
8 Ideological Thinking and Post-Communism 99
9 Language and Ethnicity in Central and Eastern Europe: Some Theoretical Aspects 116
10 Cultural Diversity and Good Governance: Some General Considerations 128
11 Why Empires Fail 137
12 The Communist Experience and Nationhood 147
13 An Analysis of Post-Communism 170
14 The Rise of Anti-Democratic Movements 189
15 Communism and State Legitimation 208
16 Calling Sacred Cows? State Frontiers and Stability 221
17 The Problem of Ethnic Minorities in Central and Eastern Europe 231
18 Minorities under Communism 241
19 Ethnic Minorities in South-Eastern Europe 253
20 Minorities and Post-Communism: a Political and Sociological Analysis 277
21 Englishness: Citizenship, Ethnicity and Class 298
22 Yugoslavia: State Construction and State Failure 324
23 Power, Ethnicity and Communism in Yugoslavia 343
24 Hungary as Kin-State 370
25 Hungary and its Neighbours 378
26 Inter-Ethnic Relations in Transylvania: Rhetoric and Reality 410
27 Human Rights and the Nationality Question in Romania 415
Index 435
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