Archive for March, 2014

(Deadline: April 25, 2014!)


The 2nd Summer Seminar on Nationalism, Religion and Violence (NRVSS 2014) will be organized between June 23 and July 4, 2014 at the Charles University in Prague by Charles University in Prague and International Hellenic University in Thessaloniki, supported by the London School of Economics – LSEE and PRIO. The language of communication will be English.

The Summer Seminar will focus on four topics: (1) Violence and Genocide; (2) Nationalism and Religion; (3) Institutions and Politics; (4) Memory. The seminar can be taken by both undergraduate and (post)graduate students as well as activists. It is led by international researchers from universities such as Oxford, NYU or LSE targeting on Political Science, History, Anthropology, International Relations, International Law and other related disciplines. Fieldwork in memorial sites, research centers and international institutions based in Prague will also be included.


Participation fees & discounts:


The tuition fees cost 750 Euros

  • Early Birds Fellowship
  • Development Support Fellowship
  • Academic Excellence Fellowship


For more information visit:


Web site: http://nrvsschool.fsv.cuni.cz/


Program Coordinator: Jiří Kocian

Contact: nrvsschool@fsv.cuni.cz

Read Full Post »

On 31 March 2014, the CITSEE project will be five years old. Since 1 April 2009 we have been researching citizenship laws and policies in the new states of South East Europe (former Yugoslavia) in the light of the ongoing processes of Europeanisation in the region. We have been putting the results of our research online on our websites: http://www.citsee.ed.ac.uk and http://www.citsee.eu. During the last three years, we’ve paid particular attention to disseminating our research in accessible ways, developing our web magazine, Citizenship in South East Europe (www.citsee.eu) which includes interviews, stories, studies, blogs, animations and videos.
In the last few months we have been embarked on a very exciting project to offer our researchers and collaborators new ways of disseminating their research through short documentary films. At a special event to mark CITSEE’s 5th birthday, we will be showing these films, bringing together friends and colleagues who have supported CITSEE in order to thank them for the work they have done and to show them some results from our research. The event will celebrate the ‘Varieties of citizenship in South East Europe’. After the films, we hope you will join us at a drinks reception.
The events will take place in Old College, South Bridge, starting with a film screening in lecture theatre 175, at 5.30p.m, and a drinks reception in the Lorimer Room at 6.30 p.m.
Either email annie.mcgeechan@ed.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0) 131 650 8183 to let us know if you are able to attend the film screening and reception.


Read Full Post »

REMINDER: Registration for ASEN Conference 2014

We are pleased to announce that registration for the 2014 conference, “Nationalism and Belonging” is now open on our website. The conference will be held 1-3 April 2014 at the London School of Economics and will feature 6 keynote speakers, 3 workshops and over 90 papers across 30 panels. Please register at: http://tinyurl.com/ASEN2014registration

Keynote speakers: Gregory Jusdanis, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Sheila Croucher, Alain Dieckhoff, Bo Stråth, William Callahan

1. Bordering, Belonging and the Politics of Belonging with Nira Yuval-Davis, Kathryn Cassidy, Jamie Hakim and Georgie Wemyss
2. Belonging: Solidarity and Division in Modern Societies with Montserrat Guibernau
3. National Belonging in the Age of Super-Diversity with Marco Antonsich

This exciting programme is supplemented by an exhibition, lunch and dinner receptions, and numerous publisher displays. Register now for the conference and conference dinner on our website: http://tinyurl.com/ASEN2014registration

We look forward to seeing you at the ASEN 2014 conference and please don’t hesitate to contact us at asen.conference2014@lse.ac.uk if you have any questions.

Read Full Post »

Everyday Nationhood: A One-Day Symposium to Examine the Contribution of Michael Billig’s Study of Banal Nationalism

Monday 8th September 2014, London School of Economics & Political Science

Organised by the Association for the Study of Ethnicity & Nationalism (ASEN) and the School of Political, Social & International Studies, University of East Anglia

Published in 1995, Michael Billig’s Banal Nationalism is the fourth most cited text on nationalism and arguably the most influential book on the topic in the last two decades. Focusing on contemporary and everyday expressions of nationhood, the study marked a profound shift away from previous attempts to map the transformation to an era of nations and the association of nationalism with political violence, civil conflict and extremist movements.

Billig’s arguments have been picked up by scholars working in an impressive range of disciplines as part of the recent turn to the ‘everyday’, and the term ‘banal’ has come to form a short hand for the study of the ways in which particular representations, forms of social organisation and cultural practice become normalised and taken-for-granted.

This one-day symposium will look to assess the contribution of the Banal Nationalism thesis, examine its application across disciplines and settings, and ask where studies of nation, social identities and everyday life might be headed over the next two decades. The event will feature a keynote address by Professor Craig Calhoun (Director of the LSE) one of the leading theorists of nationalism, cosmopolitanism and social identity in the contemporary era.

We welcome proposals for 20 minute papers from both established scholars and PGR students, in any discipline, addressing: theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of everyday nationhood / social identities, empirical studies of the phenomenon, the application of Billig’s arguments to non-national frameworks as well as critiques of the Banal Nationalism thesis.

Please send a 250-300 words proposal to Michael Skey (m.skey@uea.ac.uk) by Friday 13th June 2014.
Those applying can expect written confirmation by Friday 4th July 2014. It is anticipated that a selection of papers relating to the symposium will form part of a special edition of a peer-reviewed scholarly journal.

The cost of attending the symposium, which will cover lunch and refreshments on the day, will be £15.


Read Full Post »

This April will mark the 20th year ‘anniversary’ of the Rwandan genocide, and it is currently extremely interesting to see how this event is being remembered and talked about by the government, media and local population.

The New Times, a Rwandan newspaper, is an interesting media to follow regarding official discourses of the genocide, such as today’s article,  ‘Culture in Re-inventing Rwandan’s True Identity’, which not only discusses the nation-building efforts in Rwanda, but is also a good example of the official ideology of the genocide.


Read Full Post »

The next ENNIN presentation will take place on Tuesday the 25th of March at 16.30 in pod 3 of the CMB. The presentation will be given by Eirik Fuglestad, and is entitled:

“The inception of nationalism and its entry into the world: the dialectics of property, people and sovereignty”   

The presentation will discuss how nationalism developed and revolved in America from the 1760`s to the 1790`s around the concept of Lockean private property. The first part of the presentation will look at how the notions of Lockean property became interwoven in a historical narrative and tied up to the notion of a sovereign people. A second part will look how this historical vision was turned into political reality in the form of an American nation state. A third part will discuss briefly the nature of historical documentary research. I look forward to getting your comments on the these things.

Read Full Post »


Read Full Post »

             Czechoslovakia broke up peacefully on January 1st, 1993, while Kosovo split off of Serbia violently throughout the 1990s.  Both movements were sparked by the receding communist and Soviet influence, allowing nationalism and national interests to rise to the fore once more.  Clifford Geertz wrote that, ‘(states) at once alike and very different, they form a commentary on one another’s character’ (Geertz 1968:4).  For Geertz an interpretive analysis was useful because states that were very similar offered commentary on each other based on their differences.  Czechoslovakia and Serbia share numerous similarities.  The breakups of the two states happened in the same historical period (1990s Post Communist).  The two states themselves were born in very similar time frames with the Kingdom of Serbia coming into being following a war of independence from the Ottomans in 1912.  Czechoslovakia gained independence following the end of World War I and the Versailles Treaty.  Following World War II, both countries came under the influence of communism and the Soviet Union in the Eastern bloc.

            After the fall of communism, federal Czechoslovakia remained with the Czech Republic having a 20 percent higher GDP than Slovakia.  While a majority of the population wished to maintain the Union, separatist Slovak parties advocated decentralization and some independence.  On 17 July 1992, the Slovak Parliament declared independence and six days later the government in Prague agreed.  The dissolution of the state has become known as the Velvet divorce because of its bloodlessness.  Serbia had a more painful and bloody time during the 1990s.  Involved in the Yugoslav wars following the breakup of Yugoslavia, Kosovo became an issue in 1995 when KLA hostilities began.  The subsequent war, largely fought from 1998-1999 would involve NATO airstrikes against Serbia who were trying to prevent the breakaway of Kosovo.  This seems to be a classic case of Brubaker’s trident, with Kosovo nationalism, homeland Serbian nationalism in Kosovo and a nationalizing homeland state in Serbia.  Yet this doesn’t appear in the Slovak territory breaking away from Czechoslovakia.  Despite all of the similarities between the states, what variables led to violent war between Serbia and Kosovo compared to the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia?

            In this analysis, we attempt to look at two factors, politics of the state and ethnic demographics and see if differences or similarities between the two cases can shed light on why the endgame was so different for the two states.

Comparing Serbia to Czechoslovakia: A case for political explanations of the (non)outbreak of ethnic conflicts?

            The following short passage attempts to explain the breakout of violent ethnic conflict in Serbia and the lack of same in Czechoslovakia leading up to 1993. As explanatory model, the author proposes political factors such as the strategy of political elites, dynamics in the party system and politico-institutional setup.

Czechoslovakia (Hilde, 1999)

            Party system: Voting in Czechoslovakia has not always been divided along regional political cleavages. In the period from 1918 to 1938 voting was primarily around social class cleavages. Ironically, the communist era from 1948 to 1989 led to the regional political cleaves. In the communist era, Czechs continued to occupy the most important positions in the public administration. More importantly, largely symbolic elections were being held on two levels, namely in the republic and on the federal. Consequently, a feeling of political separateness between Czechs and Slovaks developed. Thus, the patterns of self-identification along national rather than social lines were ingrained in the communist era with the two-tiered election system that de facto created a divided political system. After this Czechs voted for Czechs, Slovaks for Slovaks and even smaller minority groups formed their own parties. Around 1990, political leadership was split between the Czech Civic Democratic Party and Democratic Slovakia. The Czech party favored a strong central government and radical economic reform, while the Slovak party favored decentralization of power and opposed economic reform. Interestingly, dissolution of the federation had little support in Slovakia (between 1990-1992 it varied between 10-20 % of voters). Similarly, few Slovak parties supported independence (parties supporting independence took 10 % of voters). Instead, there was a conception that the state was controlled the Czech part of the country and Slovakia had little self-rule or little federal interest (in 1990, 95 % of Slovaks rejected the claim that the Czechs considered them as equals). This is a difference to Yugoslavia which was more marred by secessionist minorities. Instead, the Czech political leaders favored dissolution, especially by the Czech Right of the political spectrum. Increasingly, the party-system followed centrifugal tendencies (who can be most nationalist and additionally, incorporated within extremist parties). Parliament passed the bill for dissolution of the Federation on 25. November 1992.

            Politico-institutional setup: The political system favored minority protection at the expense of the ability to pass new legislation. The political system was setup up to protect the Slovaks and passing legislation (especially on constitutional matters) required special majorities to the extent where 31 MPs could block in an assembly of 300. This is seems defining as constitutional change was opposed three times before the breakup of the federation.

            Socio-economic differences: The difference in preferred economic path owes much to difference in the structure of the economy in the two parts of the country. The Slovak economy was based on industry and arms production which was hit with reforms in 1991 with a resulting rapid rise in unemployment, while unemployment remained low in the Czech lands. However, the two parts of the federation generally held widely different view on political matters with the Czechs favoring privatization and the political right and the Slovaks favoring the political left. Socially, there was little migration between the Czech and Slovak parts of the country and divided mass media. The isolation was arguably conducive to mobilization of regional interests. Similarly, there was struggle about symbolic equality between the Czech and Slovak parts of the country with the so-called war of the hyphen being the most obvious example.

Serbia (Gagnon 1995)

            In Serbia, ethnic violence was promoted as a means for political legitimacy. The position of power of the Communist (later Socialist) Party of Serbia (hereafter referred to as SSP) was heavily reliant on perpetual ethnic conflict. Therefore, the SSP worked actively to provoke and incite ethnic conflict in order for the party to remain in power.

            Historically, ethnicity has constituted the most important political cleavage in the region. This has been the case in federations such as the Ottoman, Romanov and Habsburg empires where ethnic political lines merged with religious or language lines and hence, formed politicized identities. Similarly, the Serbian national myth was defined through fight against Ottoman Turks. Fundamentally, it is about the historical construction of ethnic sentiment as political identities. In other words, ethnic conflict lines were salient to the public and consequently, it made sense for the SSP to seek public support by these means. Additionally, The SSP was widely ethnically homogeneous and thus, the strategy could be pursued without alienating significant parts of the member base. Conversely, Serbia had large regional differences in economic development, which would lead to divisions in political support if utilized.

            Ethnic violence as a strategy was chosen to fend off challenges by reformists within the SSP and seal the demise of a united Yugoslavia. After the fall of communism, the main threat to the elites came through increased political participation with a degree of real influence on the distribution of political power. There were powerful movements for multi-party elections with widely supported protest rallies. In this context, only 39 % of the population was Serb and almost all non-Serbs had been alienated by Milosevic’s strategies. Therefore, it became increasingly unfeasible to win a somewhat fair election for the SSP.

            The response was attempts to demonize other ethnic minorities in order to provoke violence along ethnic lines. Thereby, the SSP could discredit the ideas of both a united Yugoslavia and the claims of reformist Serb groups. The mass media were controlled by SSP and were used incite ethnic violence. Moderates and reformist Serbs were branded as traitors and prosecuted. Tellingly, when massive protests broke out for increased political participation and against the disastrous economic policies of Milosevic these were branded as enemies of Serbia who worked with Albanians, Croats and Slovenes in an attempt to destroy Serbia.


The comparison points towards the importance of the strategies followed by political parties. Hence, the comparison points to a degree of agency of the most central political actors. The choice of parties to seek nationalist popular support instead of cooperate across the political spectrum is detrimental to the political system. Additionally, the urge of political elites, if salient to the public, can lead to bloodshed.


HILDE, P. S. (1999). Slovak Nationalism and the Break-up of Czechoslovakia. Europe-Asia Studies. 51, 647-665.

GAGNON, V. P. (2009). Ethnic Nationalism and International Conflict: the Case of Serbia. Ethnic Conflict. 2, 105-138.

Comparing the ethnic demographics of Czechoslovakia and Serbia-Kosovo

            One possible explanation for the divergent result of the dissolution in Serbia-Kosovo and Czechoslovakia lies in the different ethnic demographics of both regions: do the two regions have a similar ethnic composition, thereby discrediting this explanation, or does a dissimilar composition shed a tiny light on the complex process of a peaceful or violent dissolution of multinational states?

            Czechoslovakia, a nation/state that was founded as a result of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, has known a remarkable transformation of its ethnic composition starting from its foundation up till its break-up in the 1990’s. Marked in the beginning by a large minority of German-speaking citizens (otherwise known as the Sudeten-Germans), the ethnic composition of the country became essentially dichotomous after the Second World War – when Germans were forced to flee – comprising of a Slovakian and Czech element, with the Czech population having a dominant majority throughout the twentieth century. Consequently, at the moment of the dissolution, the Czech population comprised around 62% of the population, whereas the Slovaks were a strong minority, with 31% identifying themselves as Slovakian. In this sense, we see a strong demographic presence of both Czechs and Slovaks, which was further symbolized by their clear territorial demarcation.

            A different situation is visible in Kosovo-Serbia in the first decade of the twentieth-first century. Here too, the Second World War proved vital in transforming the outlook of the region, and most notably in Kosovo: the Albanian population, comprising 68,5% of the general population in 1948, rose steadily to 81,6% in 1991, and rose even higher the following decade, having a share of 92% in the latest census of 2011. Consequently, the Serbian minority in the region, which had a share of 23,6% in 1948, declined to half of this number in 1991, and has diminished to only 1,5% in the latest census of 2011.

            So, comparing these two different regions purely from a demographic perspective, there is one clear conclusion: the Second World War and its aftermath, the Cold War, have had a remarkable impact on both regions, limiting the influence of other minorities in the regions (most notably is of course the expulsion of the Sudeten-Germans), and thus making both regions more and more dichotomous. Whether or not this demographic has had a clear impact on politics and culture, cannot be concluded from this data alone, and requires other sources.

Read Full Post »

CFP: Nazioni e Regioni No. 4 (2014)

Call for papers n. 4 (2014)
La scadenza ultima per la consegna dei saggi, delle recensioni e delle schede per il n. 4 della rivista “Nazioni e Regioni” (dicembre 2014) è fissata per il 30 settembre 2014. nazionieregioni@gmail.com

The deadline for the delivery of the articles, reviews and book files to be published in the fourth issue of “Nazioni e Regioni” (December 2014) is September 30, 2014. nazionieregioni@gmail.com

La date limite pour la livraison des articles, des comptes-rendus et des fiches de livres à publier dans le quatrième numéro de « Nazioni e Regioni » (décembre 2014) est fixée au 30 septembre 2014. nazionieregioni@gmail.com

Queda abierto, hasta el 30 de septiembre, el plazo de envío de artículos, reseñas y fichas por el n. 4 de “Nazioni e Regioni” (diciembre 2014). nazionieregioni@gmail.com

Последний срок сдачи статей и рецензий для четвертого выпуска журнала « Nazioni e Regioni » (декабрь 2014 года) зафиксирован на 30-е сентября 2014 года. nazionieregioni@gmail.com

 follow on Twitter | friend on Facebook | forward to a friend
Copyright © 2014 CaratteriMobili edizioni, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
CaratteriMobili edizioni
Via Cardassi, 85
Bari, Puglia 70121

Add us to your address book

Read Full Post »

The University of Edinburgh’s Ethnicity, Nationalism and National Identity Network (ENNIN) is pleased to invite you for a one-day graduate conference entitled ‘Identity, Nations and Nationalism in a Changing World’. The conference will be held on Thursday, 22 May, 2014, at the University of Edinburgh. Our aim is to provide an opportunity for Ph.D. students and professors to exchange ideas and build networks in a welcoming setting that encourages interdisciplinary dialogue and approaches.

The conference keynote lecture will be delivered by Professor John Breuilly (London School of Economics). There will also be a timely roundtable on Scotland’s constitutional future with Professor David McCrone (University of Edinburgh), Dr. Nicola McEwen (University of Edinburgh), Professor Michael Keating (University of Aberdeen and University of Edinburgh) and Dr. Michael Rosie (University of Edinburgh). If you wish to attend the conference please register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/graduate-conference-identity-nations-and-nationalism-in-a-changing-world-tickets-10851961509. The deadline for registration is 10 April 2014. We recommend making the trip a long weekend to experience the beautiful, historic, and friendly city of Edinburgh.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »