Kern (2014) Civic and Ethnic Nationalism.pdf

June 2, 2018 | Author: Harm Rudolf Kern | Category: Nationalism, Nation, Ethnic Groups, Eastern Europe, Identity (Social Science)
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S A R A J E V O O CTOBER 7 2014 ,

J O I N T M A S T E R ’  S P R O G R A M M E




K A R L - F R A N Z E N S U N I V E R S I T Y G R A Z




 A critical reassessment of theories and typologies

Seminar paper for the course Human course Human Rights: Minority Protection and Conflict Management  under supervision of Mag.iur. BENEDIKT HARZL




[email protected]

Ulica Hasana Su!i"a 17 71000 Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina















I NTRODUCTION The last two decades of the twentieth century have witnessed a spectacular resurgence of nationalism in Europe. The single most important process in this respect has been the thorough reorganization of the political landscape in Eastern Europe along national lines after the fall of communism. Nationalism has functioned as the main ideological source of mobilization and legitimization in the struggles for political succession in the postcommunist world. About twenty new nation-states have emerged as the outcome of the troublesome disintegrations of the multinational Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. Postcommunist nationalism was characterized by a strong emphasis on ethnicity and produced in some instances the horrific logic for ethnic cleansing and other policies of homogenization in the multiethnic societies of Eastern 1

Europe.  The aggressive nature of these postcommunist developments associated Eastern Europe with primitive ethnonationalist violence. The classification of Eastern European nationalism as ethnic and aggressive as opposed to the civic and democratic nationalism of Western Europe 2

made its reappearance in academic literature on nationalism.

Such correlation of the classical dichotomy of ethnic and civic nationalism with a parallel opposition between Eastern and Western Europe is, however, subject to recent debate among the scholars of nationalism. The single dichotomous distinction between the ethnic East and the civic West seems to provide a far too simplistic and even moralist framework of understanding for the complex historical reality of nationalism in Europe. The civic-ethnic dichotomy fails to explain contemporary nationalist resistance to the European Union in Western Europe and disregards racist rightwing responses to immigrants in Western European countries. The ethnic claims of Irish, Scot, Basque and Flemish autonomist movements furthermore discredit the conceptual distinction between East and West. Serious academic research of Eastern and Southeastern Europe should resist the essentialism of a rigid dichotomy that defines exclusive and aggressive nationalism as a primitive evil, endemic to the irrational East at delusionary distance of a 3

superior Western society.   This study attempts to explore nationalism beyond the civic-ethnic dichotomy through a critical reassessment of theories and typologies.


 Rogers Brubaker,  Nationalism reframed: Nationhood and the national question in the New Europe (1996) 1-10.


 Michael Ignatieff, Blood and belonging: Journeys into new nationalism (1993); Peter Alter, Nationalism (1994).


 Maria Todorova,  Imagining the Balkans (1997) 3-20.


1. NATIONALISM AND THE NATION  Nationalism is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of different practices and beliefs. Sense of national consciousness, expression of national identity and feeling of loyalty to the nation are all forms of nationalism that merge individual sentiments with collective identity. Nationalism involves the strong identification of a group of individuals with the collectivity of the nation on the basis of distinctive characteristics that compose their shared national identity. National sentiments and identity are evoked and expressed through a nationalist culture of folklore, flags, anthems, customs, ceremonies, memorials and other symbolic attributes of nations. Nationalism therefore resembles a specific form of culture.4 Beyond identity and culture, nationalism includes certain aspirations that distinguish it as a political ideology. The realization of the national will and the achievement of national goals serve as core idioms of nationalism. Nationalist ideology considers the nation the sole legitimate source of all political power. Nationalism in other words  proclaims the sovereignty of the nation as determinant of political organization. This political  principle at the heart of nationalism demands the right of self-determination for the nation in a 5

given territory.  Nationalism thus designates a political doctrine as much as a specific form of culture that both evokes sentiments and expresses identity. A sophisticated observation of nationalism should take in account all these different spheres in which nationalism operates. Scholars of nationalism face a tremendous task in formulating a definition of nationalism that is comprehensive enough to cover all manifestations of nationalism. Nationalism designates a whole world of different things and the heterogeneous features of nationalist idioms, practices and beliefs make nationalism an elusive concept. Assessment of nationalism necessarily invokes intertwined concepts as nationhood, ethnicity, nation and state. The problematic interrelation of these concepts creates an ambiguous discourse that tempts any objective scholar of nationalism to rely on the exact subjective terms by which nationalists themselves define their ideology. The American sociologist Rogers Brubaker has addressed this problem in detail and argues that the study of nationalism should be decoupled from the understanding of nations as substantial collectivities and communities.6 Brubaker considers the nation as a ‘category of practice’ rather


 Anthony D. Smith, National Identity (1991) 71-79 and 91.


 Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism (2006 [1983]) 1-7 and 38-51.


 Rogers Brubaker,  Ethnicity without groups (2004) 31-33; Brubaker, Nationalism refram ed , 13-22.


than a ‘category of analysis’. Nationhood provides a subjective cognitive discourse that informs thought and structures perception. Scholars of nationalism should avoid taking these subjective  perceptions for granted. According to Brubaker it is the main exercise of the study of nationalism to explain how the very perception of nationhood as a cultural and political form has been 7

institutionalized within and among states.  Understanding the institutionalization of the nation in other words signifies understanding the relation between ‘the nation’ and ‘the state’. That relation between nationalism as a form of culture and nationalism as a political doctrine is the 8

most fundamental and most discussed concern within the study of nationalism.

The great differences among academic evaluations of nationalism are more often than not the results of minor variations in the conceptions of ‘the nation’ and ‘the state’ as well as different understandings of the relationship between those two core concepts. The deep ambivalence and ambiguity that run through the study of nationalism thus reflect alternative uses of the same terms. There is no academic agreement on the exact meanings and dimensions of the core concepts of nationalism. The body of contemporary research on nationalism features a circular logic of discordant definitions that are rooted in different theories while these different theories vice versa rely on their respective definitions. The study of nationalism seems to a great extent a 9

war over vocabulary rather than a discussion of empirical facts.  This study considers it therefore useful to deconstruct the ambiguous theoretic interpretations of nationalism to their most basic, undifferentiated and uncontested core in order to reveal the essence of nationalism. The most ambitious and complete theory of nationalism as a whole has been formulated by Ernest Gellner in his  Nations and Nationalism. Even though this work has been fiercely criticized ever since its publication in 1983, Gellner’s theory still remains a significant point of departure for the understanding of nationalism. In essence, Nations and Nationalism insists that nationalism is a cultural and political function of modernity and a crucial vehicle in the transition 10

from traditional to industrial society.  Ernest Gellner thus linked nationalism to industrialization on the basis of a functionalist interpretation of the role of nationalism in modern society. The correlation between nationalism and industrialization is subject to debate but no other theorist of 7

 Brubaker, Nationalism reframed, 7-22.


 David McCrone, The Sociology of Nationalism (1998) 3-16.


 Alina Mungiu-Pippidi and Ivan Krastev ed.,  Nationalism after C ommunism: Lessons Learned (2004) 13-35.


 Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, 38-51 and 131-136.


nationalism has ever formulated an alternative understanding of nationalism that can match the universal historical explanatory framework provided by Gellner. The deconstruction of this authoritative theory reveals a precisely defined conce ptualization of nationalism:  Nationalism is primarily a political principle, which holds that the political and the national unit should be congruent.  Nationalism as a sentiment, or as a movement, can best be defined in terms of this principle. Nationalist  sentiment   is the feeling of anger aroused by the violation of the principle, or the feeling of satisfaction aroused by its fulfillment. A nationalist movement  is one actuated by a sentiment of this kind.


Ernest Gellner defines the essence of nationalism first and foremost as a political doctrine of congruence between ‘the nation’ and ‘the state’. Nationalism constitutes a universalistic principle of political legitimacy that requires each nation to have its own state. The violation of the  principle is, however, inherent to its definition since not all potential nations are concentrated in compact territorial units but in fact live intermixed with each other in complex patterns. The  political boundaries of a state can in many ways fail to include all members of the appropriate nation. In these cases nationalism as an ideology of conflict arouses nationalist sentiment and mobilizes a nationalist movement demanding statehood.12 Gellner’s definition contains the implicit assumption that nationalism consists of three inseparable aspects: principle, sentiment and movement. Historical manifestations of nationalism in the shape of a nationalist movement without widespread nationalist sentiment or widespread sentiment without a nationalist movement reveal empirical tension within this assumption. Especially nationalisms in nineteenth century Southeast Europe featured limited national 13

movements of intellectuals long before a wider national sentiment was aroused.  The work of Anthony Smith on national identity observed that even the ‘universal’ principle of congruence  between nation and statehood does not apply for each instance of nationalism. The notion that each nation requires its own state is a common but not a necessary deduction from the ideology of nationalism. Smith argues therefore that ‘nationalism is primarily a cultural doctrine, or more


 Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, 1.


 McCrone, The Sociology of Nationalism, 72-76; Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, 2-7 and 42-51.


Miroslav Hroch, Social preconditions of national revival in Europe: a comparative analysis of the social

composition of patriotic groups among the smaller European nations (1985) 11-17 and 22-30.



accurately, a political ideology with a cultural doctrine at its centre’.  Although the dimension of nationalism as a form of culture plays a key role in Gellner’s argument that industrial society requires a standardized culture achieved through nationalism, culture does not feature in his definition of nationalism. Anthony Smith therefore incorporates the term ‘identity’ into his understanding of nationalism. National identity constitutes the consciousness of belonging to a national culture.


Since some national movements and sentiments fall short of demanding

independent statehood, the political dimension of nationalism is reduced to the separate goals of ‘autonomy’ and ‘unity’ in Smith’s definition of nationalism: [Nationalism is] an ideological movement for attaining and maintaining autonomy, unity and identity on behalf of a population deemed by some of its members to constitute an actual or potential ‘nation’.


The concept of ‘autonomy’ refers to the idea of national self-determination that defines the nationalist interpretation of political legitimacy. The concept of ‘unity’ refers to the unification of the nation in a state at its simplest level but may just as well signify a less material aspiration of social cohesion or brotherhood of all nationals regardless of statehood. In its most uncontested essence, nationalism constitutes a principle of political legitimacy although it does not prescribe statehood as its sole political expression. Nationalism is therefore not a theory of statehood. 17

 Nationalism is above all else the ideology of the nation.

The conceptualization of nationalism is embedded in a broader debate about the origins and nature of the nation itself. The academic positions in this debate conventionally employ the nonacademic theory of primordialism as frame of reference. Primordialism holds that the nation is an ancient entity that is embedded in human nature and history. This view tends to be taken by nationalists themselves but no serious scholar of nationalism considers the nation to be  primordial. Primordialism functions as a straw man against which academics have positioned the 18

argument of modernism.  Modernist theorists consider the nation to be a modern phenomenon invented at the end of the eighteenth century. Ernest Gellner refuted the primordial existence of


 Anthony D. Smith, National Identity (1991) 74.


 Anthony D. Smith, The cultural foundations of nations: hierarchy, covenant and republic (2008) 19 and 39-42.


 Smith, National Identity,  73.


 Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, 23-37 and 132-136; Smith,  National Identity,  71-79.


 Brubaker, Nationalism reframed, 14-15.


nations with the statement that nationalism invented nations where they did not exist before. His theory explains the invention of the nation as a crucial function of modernity since modern industrial society required a homogenous culture based on mass literacy in a standard vernacular language. The dynamic division of labor in a modern industrial society demands mobility and communication between individuals, at a level that can only be achieved if those individuals 19

have been socialized into a single ‘nation’ with a standard culture and language.  Gellner therewith established the essence of the modernist argument that the nation is a social construct that was invented to function as a distinctive form of social organization in modern society. Other modernists differ from Gellner and each other with regard to the emphasis they give to the different factors that explain the origins of the nation. Benedict Anderson focuses on the importance of print capitalism in generating nationalism. The diffusion of a standard vernacular language through modern mass printing technology created the possibility for the nation to be constructed as an imagined community. Anderson emphasizes that a nation is necessarily 20

imagined because its community is based on a bond beyond personal acquaintance.  Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm has placed original emphasis on the societal roots of nationalism and national identity. His work confirmed that nations are essentially constructed from above but argued that this modernist finding should be complemented with a better understanding of the  bottom-up identification of the masses with the nation. Social historical investigation of the ideas, opinions and feelings of the masses, revealed that national identity is mutable and constitutes one of multiple identities for ordinary people. Hobsbawm claims that the nation is a dual phenomenon composed of constructed elements from above and a societal character from 21

 below. Hobsbawm’s attention for the societal experience of nationalism did not make him conclude that nations are more genuine than other modernists suggest. Hobsbawm considers 22

nationalism to be a political tool of elites to obtain and preserve power in mass politics.  The general modernist perspective on nationalism is thus hostile and the work of modernist scholars 23

is directed at debunking the invented and constructed character of the nation.


 Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, 19-37, 54-55 and 133-136.


 Benedict Anderson,  Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (1991) 31-46.


 Eric J. Hobsbawm,  Nations and Nationalism Since 1780: programme, myth, reality (1992) 5-13.


 Eric J. Hobsbawm and T. Ranger ed., The invention of tradition (1983) 1-14.


 McCrone, The Sociology of Nationalism, 10-16.


The modernist approach to nationalism is not without shortcomings. Reduction of the many elements of nationalism and nationhood to a single functionalist interpretation of modernity is  bound to produce conceptual tensions. Modernist theories of nationalism seem to overemphasize the importance of industry and capitalism and fail to fully explain the passions that nationalism generates among the masses. The abstract interests of elites and industry do not account for the 24

 popular and emotional dimensions of nationalist sentiments and movements.  Anthony D. Smith has attributed these inconsistencies to the tendency of modernist theorists to overdraw the historic distinction between traditional society and modernity. Modernists consider the transition to modernity as a complete rupture with earlier social orders in order to strengthen their argument that nations are completely novel inventions of modern society. According to Smith, such a focus on discontinuity has led to the ignorance of crucial continuities between modern national identity and pre-existing ethnic ties and sentiments.25 A modern nation derives its cohesive and emotional strength first and foremost from a sense of common identity and shared history that claims to predate the modern appearance of the nation. Smith observes that nations appeal to a heritage of memories, myths, symbols and values that survived across centuries as 26

attributes of pre-modern ethnic communities.  In The Ethnic Origins of the Nation  Smith 27

therefore insists that modern nations have been found ed on pre-modern ethnic origins.

Smith’s critique of modernism therewith provided the basis for the ethno-symbolist approach to nationalism that studies the relationship of pre-modern ethnic communities to modern nations. The term ethno-symbolism refers to a methodology with a strong focus on culture and symbols as crucial elements of national identity. The main exercise of ethno-symbolists is to retrace these elements of national identity over a time span of many centuries in order to reveal the origins of modern nationhood.


Both John Armstrong and Anthony D. Smith argue that ethnic

consciousness existed long before national identity and that its persistence across the centuries  provided modern nationalism with a distinctive repository of ethnic culture that was essential to making the modern nation into a solidary political community. Antecedent ethnic communities


 Umut Ozkirimli, Theories of Nationalism: A Critical Introduction (2010) 120-137.


 Anthony D. Smith, The Ethnic Origins of Nations (1986) 7-13; 129-152 and 201.


 Smith, National Identity,  40-42 and 71-72; Smith, The Ethnic Origins of Nations, 212-217 and 224.


 Smith, The Ethnic Origins of Nations, 144-149, 207 and 212-217.


 Anthony D. Smith, Ethno-symbolism and Nationalism: A cultural approach (2009) 23-40 and 133-136.


supposedly provided modern nations with collective names, myths of common ancestry, shared 29

historical memories, elements of common culture and measures of ethnic solidarity.  These attributes of ethnic communities had a distinctive cultural and historical content that determined the nature, limits and particularities of each nation according to Smith. The central argument of ethno-symbolism holds that pre-modern ethnic ties shape and condition the formation of modern nations and that the emergence of contemporary nations therefore cannot be understood properly without taking their ethnic antecedents into account.30 The central debate in the study of nationalism thus comes down to ascribing the origins of nations to either ethnicity, as do the ethno-symbolists, or to political and economic interest, as is the mod ernist position. These opposite positions in the debate about the origins of nations reveal furthermore a considerable disagreement among scholars about the real or perceived nature of the components of national identity. Modernists view national identity as false collective consciousness, whereas ethno-symbolists claim that the modern nation requires a shared past that is historically 31

retractable in the past endeavors of a pre-modern population.  The ethno-symbolist argument thereby resembles the views of the subjects of its study since it confirms the nationalist claim to the continuous existence of the nation through time. Criticisms of ethno-symbolism have accused this analysis of retrospective nationalism, which is the tendency to project features peculiar to modern nationalism back onto earlier social collectivities.


In this respect the study of

medievalist Patrick J. Geary on nationalist claims to historical continuity with ancient and medieval ethnic communities offers interesting insights. Geary proves that the claim that modern European nations can be retraced to distinct ancient or medieval peoples is a myth based on misinterpretation of medieval history. Europe’s people in the early medieval period were far too 33

fluid, complex and dynamic to map distinct ethnic groups on separated territories.  Both historians and modernist scholars of nationalism have emphasized that nationalism invents for itself a reinterpretation of history that serves contemporary interests. Identification of the nation with a narrative of national history that predates modernity into antiquity is an essential element


 John Armstrong, Nations before  Nationalism (1982) 3-9; Smith,  National Identity,  20-42.


 Smith, The Ethnic Origins of Nations, 11-18; Anthony D. Smith, Myths and Memories of the Nation (1999) 46-49.


 Sini!a Male!evi", Identity as Ideology: Understanding Ethnicity and Nationalism (2006) 110 and 118.


 Ozkirimli, Theories of Nationalism, 157-165.


 Patrick J. Geary, The Myth of Nations: The Medieval Origins of Europe (2002) 9, 11, 15-40 and 173.


of national identity. Each national movement creates such a narrative of a glorious or martyred national history through careful selection and ignorance of historical facts in order to evoke the 34

cohesive sense of common ancestry.  Since these narratives of historical endeavors by the ethnic ancestors of the nation are in fact modern constructions of nationalism, they can never be the cause of nations and nationalism. The most fundamental critique of ethno-symbolism therefore accuses its epistemological roots of teleological determinism since it assumes history has a  predetermined path in which ethnic communities where destined to become nations.35 The various theories of nationalism each have a different focus and reveal different elements of nationalism and the nation. Through its focus on modernity, the modernist theory is able to show the role of nationalism in processes of social and economic change. The ethno-symbolist theory adds to this knowledge with its ability to trace the cultural dimensions of nationalism with its focus on ethnicity and symbols. The work of Anthony D. Smith enriched the field of nationalism studies with the introduction of the concept of ethnicity, although scholars do not agree on the real or perceived nature of ethnic elements in national identity. The engagement of ethno-symbolist and modernist scholars on these issues transformed the debate on nationalism from modernist debunking of the artificial character of the nation towards a more refined study of what components constitute national identity. Evaluation and synthesis of that engagement has  produced this deconstructed and uncontested definition of the nation: A nation is a group of people identified as sharing any number of real or  perceived characteristics – such as common ancestry, language, religion, culture, historical traditions and shared territory – the members of which can identify themselves and others as belonging to the group, and who have the will or desire to remain as a group, united through some form of organization, most often  political.


The side-by-side assessment and deconstruction of the ambiguous theories of nationalism in this chapter revealed nationalism as a principle of political legitimacy that is first and foremost the ideology of the nation; whereas the nation is a form of social collectivity identifiable by real  or  perceived  but in any case shared  characteristics. 34

  Magaret MacMillan, The Uses and Abuses of History (2008) 81-90; Gellner,  Nations and Nationalism, 54-57;

Hobsbawm and Ranger, The invention of tradition, 2 and 12-14. 35

 Male!evi", Identity as Ideology, 128-130; Ozkirimli, Theories of Nationalism, 157-165.


 Timothy Baycroft, Nationalism in Europe 1789 – 1945 (2007) 3.


2. THE CIVIC-ETHNIC DICHOTOMY The reconciliation of contrary theories into single definitions of nationalism and the nation faces a tremendous challenge in comprehending the wide variety of their manifestations. The impact of nationalism on modern history has been as unparalleled as diverse. On the one hand, nationalism could be associated with self-determination, liberalism and democracy. On the other hand, nationalism has been identified as the root of militarism, chauvinism, war, ethnic cleansing and even genocide.37 The nature of the nation itself isn’t less ambivalent. Although our definition of the nation indicates ancestry, language, religion, culture, traditions and territory as characteristics of a nation, not every nation has all these characteristics. Every nation features a different combination as basis of its identity and none of the characteristics alone is sufficient to define the nation. Recognition of the enormous diversity of nations and nationalisms made attempts to classify specific types of nationalism a common practice in the study of nationalism. Scholars have proposed classifications that categorize nationalism into two or more types on the basis of various criteria. Notwithstanding the nuances that distinguish each classification, most are founded on the single dichotomous distinction between a voluntaristic, liberal and inclusive type defined as ‘civic nationalism’ versus an ascriptive, illiberal and exclusive type defined as ‘ethnic nationalism’. The dichotomy attributes the qualities of civic nationalism and vices of ethnic nationalism to different understandings of nationhood. Civic nationhood is based on citizenship and ethnic nationhood is determined by descent. The civic-ethnic dichotomy derives its true explanatory potential from the assumption that civic nationalism predominates in Western Europe whereas ethnic nationalism is inherent to Eastern Europe.


This chapter

reassesses whether the parallel between conceptual and geographic distinctions that lies at the core of the civic-ethnic dichotomy is a satisfactory model for the study of nationalism. The origins of the civic-ethnic dichotomy can be found in The Idea of Nationalism, which was  published by the Jewish American historian Hans Kohn in 1944. Kohn was born in Prague in 1891 and grew up to witness the rise of Czech nationalism and the fall of the multinational Austro-Hungarian Empire in the First World War. His commitment to the Zionist movement later led him to live in Palestine during the 1920s. The tense atmosphere of interwar European


 Brubaker, Ethnicity without groups, 132-133.


 Umut Ozkirimli, Contemporary Debates on Nationalism: A Critical Engagement (2005) 15-28.


affairs drew Kohn’s academic interest towards European nationalism and during the 1940s, in the heat of the Second World War, Kohn wrote a study of nationalism at Harvard University that deeply influenced the research that followed it. From this short biographical note it may be clear that Hans Kohn was particularly qualified to achieve a breakthrough in the understanding of the varieties of nationalism in Europe and beyond. Kohn developed a distinction between civic and ethnic types of nationalism based on comparative analysis of Britain, France and Switzerland in Western Europe and Germany, Italy and Russia in the East.39 Kohn’s distinction reflected the contemporary world war of British and American civic nationalism versus the ethnic nationalism of Germany, Italy and Japan. The dichotomy had arguably already been implicit in Friedrich Meinecke’s separation of a French Staatsnation from a German Kulturnation in 1908.40 The Idea of Nationalism still is the single most influential articulation of the civic-ethnic dichotomy  because it presents an evaluative parallel opposition between Western and Eastern Europe. Hans Kohn’s main argument is that the negative implications of eastern ethnic nationalism are inherently linked to the backward socio-economic and political environment of Eastern Europe compared to the western lands. Nationalism arose in the West in an effort to build a nation within the preexisting political reality of statehood. Western nationalism was inspired by Enlightenment ideas and proclaimed the sovereignty of the nation in opposition to dynastic rule. Membership of the nation was equated with citizenship and the nation was thus a rational voluntary association of individuals living in a common territory under the same government and laws. In Eastern Europe, nationalism was not preceded by state structures and in absence of civic institutions, eastern nationalist movements were reliant upon intellectuals to derive the nation not from individual will but from collectivist ties of ethnic kinship. Eastern ethnic nations were not rooted in political reality but in myths about the past and aspirations to become political reality in the future. Eastern nationalism arose in conflict with the existing order of multi-national empires and was thus inherently violent and problematic in its struggle to redraw political boundaries in 41

conformity with ethnographic demands.

Other scholars of nationalism have refined the civic-ethnic dichotomy with a middle category 39

 Hans Kohn, The Idea of Nationalism: A Study in its Origins and Background (1944); Andre Liebich, ‘Searching

for the perfect nation the itinerary work of Hans Kohn’ in:  Nations and Nationalism 12/4 (2006) 579-596. 40

 Friedrich Meinecke, Weltbürgertum und Nationalstaat  (1908).


 Hans Kohn, The Idea of Nationalism, 61-41, 162-165 and 329-331.


for Central Europe. The German historian Theodor Schieder was the first to do so in 1956 with his  Die Nationsidee in westlicher und östlicher Sicht . This work pioneered with the empirical application of the civic-ethnic dichotomy to the study of European national movements. Schieder argued that the goals of national movements were largely depended upon the territorially defined conditions in which nations arose. Western nationalism was revolutionary since it arose in dynastic states with the goal to overthrow the ancien régime. The French Revolution of 1789, the American Revolution of 1775 and the British Glorious Revolution of 1688 serve this argument as profound examples. Schieder established a middle category for Central Europe since its nationalism had the integrative goal of unification that was considerably different from the separatist goal in the third category of Eastern nationalism. As examples of Central European nationalism, Schieder presented the unification movements of Germany and Italy. The typology emphasized that national movements in Eastern and Southeast Europe often resorted to violence 42

in order to achieve their goals.  The Montenegro-born English historian John Plamenatz further elaborated the distinction between unification nationalisms of Central Europe and separatist nationalisms of Eastern Europe. Plamenatz viewed Central Europe as an integral part of European civilization since its national movements provided the basis for liberty and tolerance similar as in the West. Western nationalism created a culture within an established state, whereas German and Italian nationalism created a state on the foundations of an established culture. Plamenatz argued that the backward Slavic peoples of Eastern Europe faced the enormous 43

 problem that they had to fabricate both states and national cultures.  Schieder and Plamenatz followed Kohn’s argument that Eastern European nationalism was more prone to ethnic violence and intolerance because it was rooted in backward historical circumstances. The civic-ethnic dichotomy not only grounds the conceptual distinction between civic and ethnic nationalism on a geographical distinction between West and East. It also fuses these two distinctions with a parallel normative contrast between a good and a bad form of nationalism. The fusion of analytical and normative criteria leads the dichotomy to the essentialist argument that the aggressive and exclusive expressions of nationalism are endemic to the irrational East at 42

 Theodor Schieder,  Die Nationsidee in westlicher und östlicher Sicht (1956); Theodor Schieder, "Typologie und

Erscheinungsformen des Nationalstaats in Europa," in: Schieder, Nationalis ms und Nat ionalstaa t (1991) 65-86. 43

 John Plamenatz, ‘Two Types of Nationalism’ in: Eugene Kamenka ed.,  Nationalism: the Nature and Evolution of

an Idea (1976) 22-37.



delusionary distance from a superior Western society.  Although this argument had an obvious neo-orientalist flavor, prominent scholars of nationalism of both modernist and ethno-symbolist conviction remained attached to the civic-ethnic dichotomy for its analytical value. The works of Gellner, Anderson, Hobsbawm and Smith are largely compatible with the civic-ethnic model and the dichotomy often lies at the heart of their individual arguments. Ernest Gellner combined geography with chronology in a four-stage sequence of ‘time-zones’ that assumed nationalism  became more problematic as it was implemented more eastwards and later in history. In the first and westernmost time-zone there were strong dynastic states with territories that corresponded to homogenous cultural areas. Under pressure of industrialization from the eighteenth century onwards these states educated their inhabitants to become a nation. In the second zone the Italians and Germans were politically fragmented but had long available standard cultures. Gellner noted that on the foundations of these standard cultures ‘nineteenth-century unificatory 45

nationalism could be relatively benign and liberal, and could act in alliance with liberalism.’

The next zone to the east presented the greatest problems for the implementation of the nationalist principle of congruence between nation and state, since both states and nations would have to be carved out from areas with a complex ethnographic composition. The same is true in the fourth time-zone but here problems occurred later because of an interlude of Soviet-imposed communist suppression. The creation of homogeneous nation-states in the ethnically heterogeneous lands of Eastern Europe was only attainable through ethnic cleansing and so 46

Gellner concluded that the ‘horror of nationalism to the east is inherent in the situation.’

Anthony D. Smith sustained the civic-ethnic dichotomy as analytical framework throughout the ethno-symbolist theory. According to Smith, ‘Kohn’s philosophical distinction between a more rational and a more organic version of nationalist ideology remains valid and useful’  because it helps to compare nationalisms within each category and place nationalisms in broad 47

comparable contexts.  Smith used the dichotomy first and foremost to distinguish two different historical ‘routes of nation-formation’ that produced a dual distinction in the conceptions of both nation and nationalism as either civic and territorial or ethnic and vernacular. The route of 44

 Brubaker, Ethnicity without groups, 133, 135 and 140; McCrone, The Sociology of Nationalism, 9-10.


 Ernest Gellner, Nationalism, (1997) 53 and 50-58.


 Gellner, Nationalism, 56; Ernest Gellner, Conditions of Liberty: Civil Society and its Enemies (1994) 115-117.


 Smith, National Identity,  81.


nation-formation in Western Europe started long before the rise of nationalism with the cultural homogenization of the inhabitants of strong bureaucratic states. In such states, aristocratic ethnic cores consolidated their hegemony through the establishment of bureaucratic structures that could control all strata of society. The bureaucratic incorporation of society unintentionally assimilated ethnic minorities into the dominant ethnic culture and thereby created a culturally homogeneous population within the state’s borders as an ideal precondition for nationalism to succeed. As a result, nationalism in Western Europe featured strong territorial consciousness and 48

sense of belonging to a community of citizens.  In Eastern Europe, states had not homogenized their populations before the rise of nationalism. The Habsburg, Ottoman and Russian empires covered large territories with various ethnic communities at the time nationalism spread as the new political principle that demanded states to be congruent with nations. Educators and intellectuals among the subject ethnic communities of the empires adopted this political principle and mobilized their communities for the cause of self-determination through an appeal to vernacular culture and ethnic ties. Nationalism in the East was thus based on ethnicity and challenged the territorial status quo of the old empires with demands for ethnic autonomy. Smith observed that after the ethnic secessionist movements in nineteenth-century Eastern Europe, new waves of ethnic nationalism occurred in the twentieth century in Africa and Asia against colonial empires and again in Eastern Europe with the disintegration of Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and 49

the Soviet Union. Smith’s analysis, however, explicitly stated that ethnic nationalism also occurred in the West just as civic nationalism occurred in the East. Anthony D. Smith moved the civic-ethnic dichotomy away from its normative connotations and geographic determinism with his observation that every nationalism contains both civic and ethnic elements in varying degrees 50

and different forms, making the dichotomy a ‘dualism at the heart of every nationalism’.

 Normative moralism and geographic determinism made their unfortunate return in the study of nationalism after the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. Towards the end of the twentieth century expectations ran high that increasingly internationalized social, economic and cultural realities would move the world beyond the nation-state as the organization of political 48

 Smith, National Identity, 9-11, 54-61 and 99-122; Smith, The Ethnic Origins of Nations, 135-136 and 138-140.


 Smith, National Identity, 11-13, 61-68 and 123-142; Smith, The Ethnic Origins of Nations, 137-138 and 140-144.


 Eric Kaufmann and Oliver Zimmer, ‘Dominant ethnicity’ and the ‘ethnic-civic’ dichotomy in the work of A. D.

Smith’ in: Nations and Nationalism 10:1 (2004) 63-78; Smith, National Identity, 13


space. The project of European integration and the expanding infrastructure of international relations were seen as movements towards a future in transcendence of nationalism in a 51

European and global context.  The revival of nationalism in postcommunist Eastern Europe was thus perceived as an unexpected backlash by academics as Michael Ignatieff and Peter Alter. Ignatieff heavily relied on the normative vocabulary of the civic-ethnic dichotomy in his account of Croatian and Serbian nationalism. His  Blood and Belonging   described civic nationalism as ‘necessarily democratic since its vests sovereignty in all of the people’ whereas ethnic nationalism tells people ‘only to trust those of your own blood’. Ignatieff furthermore stated that it was a tragedy for the Balkans that the only language available after communism was the rhetoric of ethnic difference. 52 Peter Alter employed the dichotomy in his overview of nationalism. In his view, the end of the Cold War reawakened long forgotten national claims and  plunged Eastern and Southeastern Europe back into a traumatic past of ethnic tensions.53 These and other statements about the resurgence of nationalism in postcommunist Eastern Europe expressed a derogative discourse on the primitive and aggressive nature of the East, especially in reference to the violent collapse of Yugoslavia. The civic-ethnic dichotomy became intertwined with this essentialist discourse on Balkan violence and served as a problematic point of departure 54

for the study of ethnic relations and nationalism in postcommunist Eastern Europe.

The ethnic-civic dichotomy mingled with grand explanations that since 1989 replaced the  political bipolarity of the Cold War with a cultural-historical division between advanced Western civilization and the delayed development of the rest of the world. The Western historical trajectory of Christianization, Reformation, Renaissance, Enlightenment and industrialization  became the model path of development. Absence of some of these phases from the history of Eastern Europe was perceived as backwardness.


The dichotomous arguments of Kohn,

Schieder, Plamenatz, Gellner and Smith had all linked the civic-ethnic dichotomy to political and economic disparity between developed Western Europe and backward Eastern Europe. These


 Brubaker, Nationalism reframed, 2; Jürgen Habermans, The Postnational Constellation: Political Essays (2001).


 Ignatieff, Blood and belonging, 6-9 and 12-25.


 Alter, Nationalism, 9 and 104-110.


 Todorova, Imagining the Balkans, 3-20 and 136-139; V. P. Gagnon, The Myth of Ethnic War (2004) 1-32.


Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man  (1992); Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of

Civilizations and the Remaking of World O rder  (1996).


socio-economic explanations of the civic-ethnic dichotomy thus complemented the paradigm of Western development and Eastern backwardness. New dichotomous studies of postcommunist nationalism often explicitly referred to the grand theories of development. Hobsbawm termed the nationalism of the late twentieth century ‘a major vector of historical development’ functionally 56

different from the emancipatory nineteenth-century nationalism.  George Schöpflin presented a more sophisticated assessment of postcommunist nationalism than Ignatieff and Alter but came to rather similar determinist conclusions. Nationalism was ethnic in Eastern Europe because communism had destroyed civil society, leaving the postcommunist communities with no civic alternative to ethnic mobilization. Ethnic disputes could be reawakened since they had only been swept under the carpet in communist times.57 Schöpflin endorsed the civic-ethnic dichotomy and the development paradigm in his central argument that nationalism in Eastern Europe was ‘in many respects substantially different than in Western Europe’ because the civic elements of 58

nationhood were absent in the traditionally backward societies of Eastern Europe.

The civic-ethnic dichotomy grounds a substantial distinction between Western European civic nationalism and Eastern European ethnic nationalism in a dubious series of linked conceptual, geographic and normative oppositions. The overlapping oppositions between civic and ethnic, Western and Eastern, developed and backward and peaceful and violent forms of nationalism are  based on a hierarchical understanding of European history. Dichotomous arguments have interpreted the historical particularities of West and East as substantial differences in order to  justify a theoretical schism in which the different categories of nationalism are to be explained 59

 by different definitions and theories.  This dichotomous logic relies on double standards and has limited analytical value because of its separated definitions and theories. The location of entire national traditions on one or the other side of the dichotomy rather than studying its internal dynamics does nothing to explain the character of its nationalism. The civic-ethnic dichotomy is thus not a satisfactory model for the study of nationalism.


 Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism Since 1780 , 163-164 and 191-192.


  George Schöpflin, ‘Nationalism and ethnic minorities in post-communist Europe’ in: R. Caplan & J. Feffer ed.,

 Europe’s new nationalism (1996) 150-170. 58

 George Schöpflin, ‘Nationalism and ethnicity in Europe, east and west’ in: C. A. Kupchan ed.,  Nationalism and

nationalities in the new Europe (1995) 37-65, there 49-53. 59

 Brubaker, Ethnicity without groups, 132-146.


3. BEYOND THE CIVIC-ETHNIC DICHOTOMY The enormous diversity in manifestations of nationalism resists the simple classification of entire nations, states or world regions as either civic or ethnic. The weaknesses of the civic-ethnic dichotomy are therefore best revealed by discussion of its numerous empirical contradictions and conceptual ambiguities. In recent years, several scholars have addressed these shortcomings. Both Bernard Yack and Will Kymlicka observed that the characterization of the civic nation as a voluntarily chosen allegiance based on purely political principles is a myth since all nationalisms have cultural components.


Stephen Shulman and Taras Kuzio thereafter stressed that

ambivalence on whether culture belongs to the civic or the ethnic category calls the analytical  potential of the dichotomy into question.61  The mutually exclusive definitions of civic versus ethnic nationalism simply fail to cover all manifestations of nationalism. Rogers Brubaker expressed this concern most effectively by demonstrating how the narrow understandings of both 62

civic and ethnic nationalism define the phenomena out of existence.  Next to these conceptual critiques, one empirical re-examination of the civic-ethnic dichotomy stands out by uniting the theoretical literature on nationalism in general with the separate literature of historical studies of individual nationalisms. That edited volume by Timothy Baycroft and Mark Hewitson demonstrates through its unique collection of case studies that the complexity of each case of nationalism contradicts the simple civic-ethnic dichotomy.


This chapter builds upon these

earlier critiques in order to present a coherent a rgument against the civic-ethnic dichotomy. Since the dichotomy determined civic nationalism to be Western and ethnic nationalism to be Eastern, its empirical contradictions are best exposed by opposite examples of ethnic nationalism in the West or civic nationalism in the East. The Irish, Scottish, Flemish, Basque and Catalan movements come to mind as the most obvious contemporary examples of ethnic nationalism in Western Europe, but even the classic historical cases on which most dichotomous arguments 60

  Bernard Yack, ‘The Myth of the Civic Nation’ in: R. Beiner ed., Theorizing Nationalism  (1999) 103-118; Will

Kymlicka, ‘Misunderstanding Nationalism in: R. Beiner ed., Theorizing Nationalism (1999) 131-140. 61

Stephen Shulman, ‘Challenging the Civic/Ethnic and West/East dichotomies in the study of nationalism’ in:

Comparative Political Studies 25:5 (2002) 554-585; Taras Kuzio, ‘The myth of the civic state: a critical survey of

Hans Kohn’s framework for understanding nationalism’ in: Ethnic and Racial Studies 25:1 (2002) 20-39. 62

 Brubaker, Ethnicity without groups, 136-140.


 Timothy Baycroft and Mark Hewitson ed., What is a nation?: Europe 1789-1914 (2006).


were originally based seem to contradict the dichotomy after careful re-examination. Scrutiny of France as the archetypical model of the civic nation reveals the historical existence of prominent ethnic visions of the French nation. The official revolutionary tradition of French nationalism did envision the civic nation as a social contract between all equal citizens, but this was at the same time opposed by the clerical-monarchist right with a parallel reactionary nationalist tradition that formulated an ethnic conception of the nation. Throughout the nineteenth century it was the tension between these civic and ethnic traditions that characterized French nationalism.64 Even the official republican tradition of French nationalism included ethno-cultural components at times. In the early nineteenth century, Abbé Gregoire carried out violent linguistic policies that  pursued the destruction of local languages and the imposition of a hegemonic French culture. Such policies did not correspond to civic voluntarism but instead resembled the ethnic model of the nation. In the late nineteenth century, Jules Ferry continued cultural homogenization through compulsory education. The history curriculum of his republican schools made reference to the ethnic myth of the pre-Roman Gallic ancestry of the French and incorporated pre-revolutionary symbols as Clovis and Joan of Arc. In the tense years before the Great War ethnic expressions surfaced in both popular opinion and official politics as could be seen in the anti-Semitic outrage of the Dreyfus affair in 1894 and in the militarist animosity against the German nation. These examples make clear that the understanding of French nationalism as the archetype of civic 65

nationalism ignores the tension between civic and ethnic orientations within this nationalism.

Within other cases of supposedly civic nationalism a similar tension between civic traditions and ethnic orientations can be detected. The United Kingdom featured an imperial tradition of British civic nationalism, whereas English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish myths of ethnic descent remained largely unquestioned. These ethnic identities nested within civic British nationalism 66

and made its civic tradition multiple and complex.

The Scandinavian cases of Denmark,

 Norway and Sweden demonstrate a similar contradiction between civic nationalism of a clearly liberal character and the persistence of myths of Viking or Germanic ethnic ancestry. The


 Smith, National Identity, 13 and 81.


 Timothy Baycroft, ‘France: Ethnicity and the Revolutionary Tradition’ in: T. Baycroft and M. Hewitson ed., What

is a nation?: Europe 1789-1914 (2006) 28-41. 66

 Chris Williams, ‘The United Kingdom: British Nationalism during the Long Nineteenth Century’ in: T. Baycroft

and M. Hewitson ed., What is a nation?: Europe 1789-1914 (2006) 272-292.


impossibility of characterizing these Scandinavian nationalisms as either civic or ethnic has led scholars to the formulation of an exceptionalist thesis of a Nordic ‘middle way’ nationalism that 67

reconciled Western Enlightenment and Eastern Romanticism.   The combination of civic and ethnic conceptions, however, does not seem that distinctive considering its broader occurrence in at least both French and British nationalisms next to the Scandinavian cases. These cases in fact challenge the very framework of assumptions that underpins the civic-ethnic dichotomy since they question its central contradiction between civic principles and ethnic conceptions. The issue of ethnic elements within supposedly civic nationalisms brings the argument  beyond the plain debunking of the civic-ethnic dichotomy with contrary examples towards a theoretical reassessment of whether civic attachment and ethnic belonging are rightfully understood as opposed to each other. Nineteenth-century Europeans themselves most certainly did not perceive civic and ethnic traditions of nationhood to be dichotomous. Historian Mark Hewitson has effectively shown how most contemporaries in both Eastern and Western Europe accepted the validity of ethnic myths of common descent and racial difference. The ubiquity of ethnicity lay embedded in the predominantly agrarian character of nineteenth-century societies in which the language of animal breeding and crop cultivation provided common analogies for race and ethnicity. The centrality of family in these societies made it natural for many Europeans to  perceive the nation in terms of kinship as a community of descent. The modern academic disciplines of biology, anthropology and ethnography only reinforced such ethnic understanding of humanity with theories about different human races with distinct characteristics. The  prominent vocabulary of nineteenth-century scientists, thinkers and politicians equated the words ‘people’, ‘nation’ and ‘race’ and thereby consolidated the common belief that ethnicity and 68

nationality were identical, even in countries characterized by civic participation.

That in nineteenth-century Europe, civic participation did not exclude ethnic orientations of nationalism nor vice versa may be clear from the case of Serbia. This Southeast European  principality liberated itself from direct Ottoman rule in a revolution between 1804 and 1830. Emancipatory Serbian nationalism embraced liberal ideology and grounded its national liberation on the Enlightenment principle of self-determination. The independent Serbian state thereafter 67

  Mary Hilson, ‘Denmark, Norway and Sweden: Pan-Scandinavianism and Nationalism’ in: T. Baycroft and M.

Hewitson ed., What is a nation?: Europe 1789-1914 (2006) 192-209. 68

 Baycroft and Hewitson, What is a nation?, 315-327.


developed a liberal political culture with constitutional safeguards, representative government and civic participation, as the extent of its suffrage was the third widest in Europe after France 69

and Switzerland. The Serbian case and other cases of nationalist liberation movements in Eastern Europe challenge the supposed opposition between civic and ethnic ideas and refute the 70

geographic determinism that denies the possibility of civic orientations in Eastern Europe.  The civic principles of nationalism and the ethnic myths of belonging were both just as prevalent in Western as in Eastern Europe and most often appeared together within individual nationalisms.71 Scholars that have criticized the civic-ethnic dichotomy on empirical grounds often came to the conclusion that the dichotomy does not reflect historical reality since pure cases of civic or ethnic nationalism do not exist. Anthony D. Smith was among the first in this tradition to recognize that ‘every nationalism contains civic and ethnic elements in varying degrees and different forms. Sometimes civic and territorial elements predominate; at other times it is the 72

ethnic and vernacular components that are emphasized.’  Nationalism became understood as a mixture of civic and ethnic elements in various proportions with different emphases. From this argument followed a more abstract approach of the dichotomy as a heuristic device used to characterize elements within nationalisms as civic or ethnic, instead of positioning whole national traditions on one or the other side of the distinction. This alternative approach turned the civic and ethnic categories into opposed checklists of analytical elements that should reveal how 73

these elements are mixed in different proportions within concrete cases.  The problem with the analytic distinction between civic and ethnic elements is that it retains these categories as ideal types and thus continues the understanding of nationalism in bipolar terms. This soft version still treats civic and ethnic definitions of nationhood as opposite poles between which lay various combinations. Such appraisal of civic-ethnic dualism within nationalisms does not truly replace the dichotomy but instead rehabilitates it without addressing its essential conceptual flaw. The main objection against the civic-ethnic dichotomy concerns its flawed conceptualization of ‘civic’ and ‘ethnic’ as mutually exclusive concepts believed to comprehend all manifestations


 Stevan K. Pavlowitch, Serbia: The History behind the Name (2002) 26-92.


 Peter Sugar and Ivo Lederer,  Nationalism in Eastern Europe (1969).


 Mungiu-Pippidi and Krastev, Nationalism after Communism, 29.


 Smith, National Identity, 13.


 Brubaker, Ethnicity without groups, 135-136.


of nationalism. Rogers Brubaker demonstrated that the strict understanding of ethnicity involves emphasis on descent and excludes nationalist rhetoric that emphasizes common culture. This reduces the domain of ethnic nationalism and creates a category of civic nationalism that is too 74

large and heterogeneous to be useful.  Inclusion of cultural emphasis in civic nationalism then contradicts the strict understanding of the civic concept, for there is no conceptual link between civic nationalism and culture. A civic nation is united by common citizenship, respect for law and identification with political principles but has no need for cultural unity. Historical examples 75

of assimilation and cultural hegemony have therefore been noted as contrary to the civic nation.

Such a strict interpretation of civic nationalism as voluntarist, rationalist and culturally unmarked defines the phenomenon out of existence. Yack and Kuzio has exposed the myth of the civic nation by pointing out that the vast majority of people are born into their nation and do not acquire their nationality by an act of rational will. 76 The combination of the mutually exclusive strict interpretations of civic and ethnic nationalism thus covers few instances of either one and collapses in a large middle group that counts as neither since cultural elements have no place in the civic-ethnic scheme. Both strict civic and strict ethnic nationalism appear to be myths as in fact all nationalisms appeal to culture. This argument aspires to move beyond the civic-ethnic dichotomy because dichotomous understanding of nationalism mistakenly treats civic and ethnic concepts as the only defining features of nationalism and thereby ignores the true importance of 77

culture as the most universal defining feature of nationalism.

The argument so far has demonstrated that the dichotomy between the civic West and the ethnic East is inadequate and that its overemphasis on false differences overlooks essential similarities that all nationalisms share. Both in Western and in Eastern Europe, nationalism features internal tension between civic and ethnic tendencies and all nationalisms have cultural components. Nationalism needs culture because cultural traits provide cohesion to the nation. Membership in the nation involves participation in a common culture and thus is the social bond of the nation very much based on cultural belonging. Will Kymlicka regarded the relation  between culture and nation to be so close that ‘indeed these concepts are often defined in terms 74

 Brubaker, Ethnicity without groups, 136-137.


 Shulman, ‘Challenging the Civic/Ethnic and West/East dichotomies’, 558-560.


 Yack, ‘The myth of the civic nation’, 103-118; Kuzio, ‘The myth of the civic state’ 24 and 29-37.


 Kymlicka, ‘Misunderstanding nationalism’, 133-140; Brubaker,  Ethnicity without groups, 138-140;



of each other’.   It is in the concern with culture, common among all nationalisms, that the essence of nationalism as an undifferentiated ideology is to be found. The major theorists of nationalism have all recognized the significance of culture, yet surprisingly, they rarely included culture in their definitions of nationalism. Anderson noted that ‘nationality … as well as nationalism, are cultural artefacts of a particular kind’ and suggested 79

that culture makes nationalism emotionally so attractive.  Smith claimed that the nation must be a cultural community and that mass education therefore socializes nationals into a single culture. In reference to culture, Smith and Gellner thus achieved considerable common ground since they  both asserted that nationalism demands cultural homogeneity. This insight holds that na tionalism is ‘the principle of homogenous cultural units as the foundations of political life’. 80  The uncontested recognition of the significance of culture for nationalism pushes the study of nationalism beyond the normative moralism, geographic determinism and conceptual ambiguity of the dichotomy towards a less biased and more adequate interpretation of nationalism. The essence of nationalism is the ideological conjunction of culture with politics that establishes similarity of culture as the universal basis of political community in East and West. The conclusion that cultural homogenization is a defining feature of nationalism allows for an unbiased interpretive framework that approaches nationalism in East and West with the same rational criteria in a comparable and undifferentiated ideological context. The new independent nation-states in postcommunist Eastern Europe thus pursued cultural h omogenization in line with the ideology of nationalism, following the Western examples of homogeneous nations. Western European states have imposed a single dominant culture on their citizens for most of the past two centuries whereas Eastern and especially Southeastern Europe preserved their diversity under imperial rule. The Balkans in fact became the derogative Balkans when nationalist ideology turned the diversity of the region into a problem rather than a fact of life. Balkan heterogeneity was incompatible with the idea of nationalism. The violent homogenization of the Balkans in the twentieth century, wrongly attributed to a Balkan essence, is the ultimate Europeanization of the 81

Balkans into a Southeastern Europe of homogeneous nation-states. 78

 Will Kymlicka, Multicultural citizenship: a liberal theory of minority rights (1995) 11, 75-80 and 105.


 Anderson, Imagined Communities, 4-12.


 Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, 120; Smith, The Ethnic Origins of Nations, 136 and 156.


 Andrew Wachtel, The Balkans in World History (2008) 8 and 120-125; Todorova,  Imagining the Balkans, 13.


CONCLUSION The study of nationalism in general and postcommunist nationalism in particular should resist the civic-ethnic dichotomy because of its normative moralism, geographic determinism, conceptual ambiguities and empirical inadequacy. Neither the nationalisms that tore apart Yugoslavia nor the secessionist Slovak, Moldavian, Baltic and Transcaucasian nationalisms are explained by their simple classification as Eastern and therefore problematic ethnic nationalisms. Dichotomous observations of nationalism reserve different theories and definitions for Western Europe than for Eastern Europe while studying the exact same ideology. Such theoretical separation does not reflect historical reality and prevents fair comparative study since the civic and ethnic categories are based on different analytical standards. Through critical reassessment of theories and typologies this study argued that the understanding of nationalism as one undifferentiated ideology with identical political principles in East and West offers a superior interpretive framework for the study of nationalism. When nationalism is acknowledged as one universal ideology, the particularities of individual cases of nationalism become the subject of case-by-case evaluation, which does justice to the complexity of each national tradition. This approach abandons the crude categorization of nationalisms into different types in favor of the study of the tensions and dynamics within each nationalism. The internal tension between civic and ethnic orientations within nineteenth-century French or Serbian nationalism becomes a far more revealing subject of study than the exercise of labeling these national traditions as either civic or ethnic. The contemporary rise of xenophobic anti-immigrant parties in Western Europe transforms from an uncomfortable exception into an analyzable case related to the universal nationalist concern with homogeneous culture. Immigrants are perceived as a threat to the dominant cultures of European states and seem to be resisted for that very reason. Perceived threats to the dominance of this or that culture definitely  played a key role in the struggles for political succession in the postcommunist world. The  political landscape of Eastern Europe was transformed in attempts to synchronize the borders of the nation and the state. Once titular nations established cultural dominance within their borders, these postcommunist states became increasingly civic-orientated. Future study of nationalism could come to valuable new insights by understanding nationalism as one undifferentiated ideology, whose diverse manifestations are best studied in their respective historical contexts.


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