Archive for November, 2014

The University of Edinburgh’s ‘Ethnicity, Nationalism and National Identity Network’ (ENNIN), in association with the ‘Historical and Comparative Sociology Study Group of the British Sociological Association’ invite abstracts for a two-day conference entitled “Nations, history and comparison: a conference on historical sociology and the study of nationalism”. This conference is part of the 50- year anniversary of Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, and will be held Thursday and Friday, May 14-15, 2015.

The conference aims at providing a stimulating environment to exchange ideas and build networks in a welcoming setting that encourages interdisciplinary dialogue and approaches. One of the great strengths of historical sociology and the study of nationalism is the breadth of the fields and perspectives that they encompass, and we encourage submissions from all angles and topics which might fall within the frame of historical sociology or the study of nationalism.

Topics might include but are not limited to:
– Nationalism and Power
– Nationalism and Violence
– Why History matters
– Methodology
– Regional sections: Latin America, Middle East, South East Asia
– Describing and Explaining Social Processes
– New Directions in Historical Sociology
– Bridging the gap between the Macro and Micro in Historical Sociology

Confirmed speakers include:
– Professor Donald Bloxham, School of History, Classics and Anthropology, University of Edinburgh
– Professor Lindsay Paterson, Department of Social Policy, University of Edinburgh
– Professor Roland Dannreuther, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Westminster
– Professor Jonathan Hearn, Department of Sociology, University of Edinburgh

We invite abstracts of 250-300 words to be e-mailed to ennin.rg@ed.ac.uk by Thursday, January 30th 2015. The proposals should include your name, contact details and institutional affiliation. Final decisions and general registration for the conference will begin in February.

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Call for Papers

ASEN is holding its 25th Annual Conference

“Nationalism: Diversity and Security”

21st-23rd April 2015 at the London School of Economics and Political Science

Nationalists are concerned that the nation should be secure from both external and internal threats. When the state is regarded as a nation-state, these threats are turned into issues of national security and integrity. On the one hand, there are perceived external threats from other states and non-state entities such as international criminal groups and international terrorism. On the other hand, minorities and immigrants may be perceived as internal threats, which do not recognise the legitimacy of the nation-state or are not regarded as truly belonging the nation. Further, in an age of global migration and porous borders it becomes increasingly important to define both who belongs to the nation and from whom they should be protected. This conference considers how both internal and external threats are becoming ever more connected and changing the nature of national security and diversity in nation-states.

Each of the three days of the conference will be punctuated by plenary sessions consisting of presentations from two distinguished academics. The first plenary usually has a theoretical and general focus; the second an historical one; and the third is concerned with contemporary and policy issues. Each provide different perspectives on the conference’s central theme of the relationship between nationalism, security and diversity.
Those wishing to take part in the conference are encouraged to reflect on the many different forms that nationalism, diversity and security interact. Below we outline a range of possible themes and questions which might be addressed by those wishing to give a paper to the conference.

Please submit your abstract online by 15 December at asen.ac.uk/submit-an-abstract/.

Your abstract should be no longer than 250 words and include your name, institutional affiliation and title, when appropriate. Please ensure that you highlight how your paper relates to the conference theme and the central questions it asks.

The nation-state, national minorities and citizenship

Is diversity a problem for nation-states? If so, how new is this? What changes have resulted in diversity being framed as a problem?
How have majority/minority relationships been established before and within the nation-state?
Are national minorities inherently a security concern?
Do national minorities generate new forms of nationalism?
What role does citizenship play when it comes to security and/or national minorities?
Do national minority policies help or hinder security?
Is multiculturalism necessary for security in diverse nation-states?
What role does integration play in the relationship between the nation-state and the citizen?
What role do national institutions play in securing the state?
How do political parties respond to questions of minority and security?
Do far-right groups represent an attempt to return to the essence of nation-states?

Immigration and security

How and why does mass migration come to be regarded as a cultural or an economic or a political threat?
What is the relationship between nationalism and immigration?
Why do particular immigrant groups come to be regarded as a cultural or an economic or a political threat?
Does the concern with immigration and immigrants generate new kinds of nationalism?
Do refugees and asylum-seekers pose challenges for nationalism?
Is statelessness the ultimate form of insecurity?
What is the relationship between statelessness and nationalism?
Is immigration policy a manifestation of nationalism?
Do diaspora communities reinforce nationalism in both ‘host’ and ‘origin’ communities?

International relations and transnational dimensions

How do theories of securitization and of nationalism relate to each other?
When it comes to self-determination, is nationalism itself securitized?
How do transnational organizations such as the UN and the EU affect nationalism? How do they affect perceptions of and strategies for national security?
What impact does the international human rights framework have on nationalism?
Are human rights compatible with nationalism?
Is sovereignty still a valid concept? How does it relate to the concept of national security?
How do nation-states claim responsibility for co-nationals in other states? Can this create problems of national security?
Is international terrorism a threat to national security? Is it itself a new form of nationalism?
What is the relationship between globalization, nationalism and security?
How do non-state entities (criminal groups, diasporas, radical Islamists, etc.) make claims upon national minorities or immigrant groups? How do nation-states respond to such claims?
Can nationalism ever be truly international?
Must the security of one nation-state be secured at the cost of the security of others?

Please email conference@asen.ac.uk if you have any queries.


Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism

London School of Economics


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Disponibile il programma definitivo del workshop ”Stati, Regioni e Nazioni nell’Unione Europea“, in programma il 19 dicembre, organizzato dai Dipartimenti FLESS e Scienze Politiche dell’Università di Bari, in collaborazione con “Europe Direct” e la nostra rivista.

Venerdì 19/12/2014 presso il Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche dell’Università “Aldo Moro” di Bari. Aula Starace.


09:00-09:15 Saluti

09:15-09:30 Introduzione Daniele Petrosino (Università “Aldo Moro” – Bari)

09:30-10:00 Xosé Manoel Núñez Seixas (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München): “La mutazione delle utopie nazionali nel XXI secolo: Il conflitto fra la Catalogna e la Spagna”

10:00-10:30 AlessandroTorre (Università “Aldo Moro” – Bari): “Nazionalismo, devolution e indipendentismo in Scozia”

10:30-11:00 pausa caffè

11:00-11:30 Michel Huysseune (Vesalius College – Vrije Universiteit Brussel): ”Euro si – Euro no? Due regionalismi si interrogano sull’Europa” nelle Fiandre e nella Padania”

11:30-12:00 Stefano Bianchini (Università di Bologna): “Le lezioni non apprese dalla disgregazione della Jugoslavia e le loro implicazioni per l’Europa”

12:00-12:30 Ennio Triggiani (Università “Aldo Moro” – Bari): ”Il ruolo dello Stato nazionale ed il processo d’integrazione europea”

12:30-13:30 discussione

13:30-14:30 pausa pranzo (buffet per i partecipanti)

POMERIGGIO14:30-18:30 Presentazione degli interventi e loro discussione:

Giuseppe Consiglio: “Corsica indipendente: insularità identitaria ai tempi dell’Europa Unita”; Arnau González: “Evoluzione post-nazionalista dell’indipendentismo catalano o grande diversivo (2012-2014)”; Katjuscia Mattu: “Colonialismo interno in Italia: tra ricerca scientifica e prospettive politiche”; Andrea Olivieri: Neoindipendentismo, tradizioni inventate e integrazione europea: il caso “Terrotorio Libero di Trieste”; Carlo Pala: “Alla ricerca di una (chiara) identità politica: la Sardegna tra Autonomia e indipendentismo”; Paolo Perri: “The dream offreedom: L’indipendentismo politico in Scozia e Galles”; Marco Stolfo: “La diversità per l’unità. Crisi dello stato nazionale e dell’Europa degli Stati, europeismo critico e democrazia di prossimità. Il caso del Friuli”.

Coordina Andrea Geniola (CEFID-Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Conclude Isidoro Davide Mortellaro (Università “Aldo Moro” – Bari)

Info e contatti: daniele.petrosino@uniba.it, http://www.nazionieregioni.it

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Call for a Collective Debate and Intervention

Politics, Practices, and Discourses of Mobility

First Edinburgh Conference in Critical Migration and Border Studies


The movement of people has long been a contentious socio-political phenomenon that also currently dominates newspaper headlines and political debates in the UK, Europe, and beyond. The flow of people on the move becomes increasingly directed, monitored, and controlled by complex networks of governmental actors, an emerging regime that overflows traditional conceptions of nation-states and their organisation. Migrations highlight and often problematise the functioning of the international sovereign state system and broach diverse questions concerning (the limits of) democratic inclusion and rights, race, and international (labour) relations. In response to the war in Syria, leading to one of the most severe refugee crises in the last decades, the UK as well as the EU have closed their doors to those on the move, fleeing violence and persecution. Reports on deadly tragedies occurring along the external borders of the EU have become commonplace phenomena. At the same time, migrations within the EU are met with increasing opposition: those who leave certain EU member states and move toward Western European countries experience increasing political rejection, social antagonism, and racial discrimination.

How can we understand the discourses that portray people on the move primarily as security concerns or ‘welfare scroungers’ who would threaten the economic and cultural well-being of nation-states and their populations? How are borders practiced as political technologies, keeping some (temporarily) in and others out? How important is race in contemporary migration governance, and in questions of citizenship? How do such discourses, and the practices of surveillance they engender, operate within the university as an institution? And, is it not time to go beyond a discourse that regards migration first and foremost as a political problem that needs to be governed? Is it, instead, possible to regard migration as a social force – beyond the demands of the labour market and citizenship – that creates and enacts ‘new worlds’ with the potential for realising social justice?

In this two-day workshop, we will explore these and other questions through collective debates in an open format. Instead of following the individualistic logic so prevalent in academic settings today, we hope to engage in collaborative thought processes and reflections, and to identify common themes, questions, and concerns that unite our various works. Rather than preparing paper-based individual presentations, PhD students and early career researchers will be invited to come together in small groups to provide short inputs and stimulate collective discussion. Following up on successes with this format at a previous workshop in Leicester, this event seeks to further promote and extend MobLab, an emerging network of critical researchers working at the intersections of activism and academic knowledge production in the field of migration, mobility, and border studies. To further stimulate collective reflection and debate, keynote speeches will be given by Vicki Squire (Warwick University) and Yasmin Gunaratnam (Goldsmiths, University of London).

Possible themes to discuss include (but are by no means limited to):

  • What boundaries exist between academia and activism? How can (or should?) we overcome them?
  • How can we intervene in the politics of migration from a critical perspective?
  • How are we teaching migration and mobility, and how can we encourage critical reflections on these topics in the classroom?
  • How can we deal with institutional requirements in higher education, such as the monitoring of students for border control purposes?
  • How do pressures within academia – such as the need to publish in particular outlets, to excel individually, to obtain research funding – affect our ability to produce critical work? What coping strategies can we develop?

If you are interested in participating in this event, please send a short abstract of the concrete problematic you would like to discuss, and a brief biographical note reflecting your interests and background by 26/11/2014 to

Nina Perkowski n.perkowski@sms.ed.ac.uk

and Veit Schwab V.Schwab@warwick.ac.uk

This will allow us to group people according to their interests. If you have further questions regarding the format, the workshop, or the network, don’t hesitate to send us an email as well.

Applications from persons without formal academic affiliation are highly encouraged!

A limited number of travel grants is available. Please indicate in your application whether you will need financial support for travel and/or accommodation in Edinburgh.

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Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies and the British Council in Morocco are happy to present:

CASAW Research Seminar Series: “The Romantic Dimension of the Jihadist Movement”, by Prof Mohamed Tozy

An exploration of the mental and social universe of Moroccan Jihadi militants reveals that besides theological arguments, Jihadi mobilisation is firmly rooted in romantic notions of struggle against wordly injustices.

Prof Mohamed Tozy is the director of the School of Governance and Economy (EGE) at Université Mohammed VI in Rabat. Morocco’s most renowned political scientist, Tozy was a member of the Consultative Committee on Constitutional Reform in 2011. His numerous publications on Islamism include the seminal Monarchy and Political Islam in Morocco (1999, in French).

Date: Friday 21 November, 3.00PM
Venue: Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies,19 George square, Room G2

The talk will be followed by a reception.

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Hindu nationalism in the diaspora (1946-1977)

Hindu nationalism in the diaspora (1946-1977): the early years of the Sangh Parivar’s global expansion
Edward Anderson (University of Cambridge)
Date and Time
27th Nov 2014 16:0018:00
Sidney Smith Lecture Theatre, Medical School, Teviot Place, Doorway 1, Room 2.520


Support for Hindu nationalism from the Indian diaspora is frequently mentioned, highlighted this year in Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s dramatic election victory. However, the early days of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) expansion abroad is largely neglected (in sufficient depth) in the existing literature. This paper identifies and analyses the East African heritage of much of the Western Hindu nationalism we know today. It is argued that this represents a formative period for both British Hindus and British Hindu nationalism, from the apocryphal story of the first expatriate RSS shakha (branch) aboard an ocean liner in 1946, to the emergence of Nairobi as the first hub of Hindutva activities outside India.

From the late-1960s, as East African countries were gaining independence, huge numbers of Indians became ‘twice migrants’, under varying degrees of coercion. A significant proportion emigrated to Britain, many taking with them their Hindu nationalist upbringing, ideology, institutions, and organisational hierarchies. This paper charts the initial growth of the RSS abroad, both in East Africa and Britain, over the second half of the twentieth century. It delineates both the formal coordination of the RSS through overseas pracharaks (full-time workers) and travelling Sangh luminaries, as well as more informal and quotidian transnational networks.  The second half of the paper looks at the significance of Indira Gandhi’s Emergency (1975-77) in the development and entrenchment of Hindu nationalism in the diaspora. The paper addresses the degree to which the circumstances of Hindu nationalism’s expatriate development shaped the varying levels of mimesis and divergence, coordination and independence, from the Indian RSS progenitors.

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You are warmly invited to TWO research seminars next week by the Centre for South Asian Studies at Edinburgh University.

Book Launch: The BJP and the Evolution of Indian Foreign Policy

Speaker: Chris Ogden (University of St Andrews)
Date: Tuesday 18th November 2014
Venue: Conference Room, David Hume Tower
Time: 4 – 5.30pm

Further details here: http://www.csas.ed.ac.uk/events/seminar_series/2014_2015/book_launch
Parallel Publics: A new History of Democracy

Speaker: Ramnarayan Rawat (University of Delaware)
Date: Thursday 20th November 2014
Venue: Sidney Smith Lecture Theatre, Teviot Place, Doorway 1, 2nd Floor, Room 2.520
Time: 4 – 5.30pm
Further details here: http://www.csas.ed.ac.uk/events/seminar_series/2014_2015/tbc5

ALL ARE WELCOME. We will convene afterwards for drinks in 56 North, Chapel Street

For abstracts and further information on upcoming seminars and events at CSAS Edinburgh please see
and visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/CSASEdinburgh

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Rogers Brubaker


Some of Rogers Brubaker’s key concepts are the following.

Three elements: approaches to nationalism (Nationalism Reframed: Nationhood and the National Question in the New Europe)

nationalizing nationalism: To be motivated by the claims of formerly marginalized ethnic groups claiming themselves compose a ‘core nationality’. These groups likewise claim that this professed status entitles them to control over the state (legitimate ownership of the state).

homeland / trans-border nationalism: Rise from the will to defend the place of “ethnonational kin” outside the borders of their supposed “external national homelands.”

minority nationalism: It is described as an attempt to oppose nationalizing nationalism, which may also compete with homeland nationalism to apply on the same group. Those directly and adversely affected by the policies of nationalizing nationalism may invoke minority nationalism to advance their cause

Four ways of studying the relation between religion and nationalism (Religion and Nationalism: Four Approaches)

※ To treat religion and nationalism, along with ethnicity and race, as analogous phenomena

※ To specify ways in which religion helps explain things about nationalism – its origin, its power, or its distinctive character in particular cases.

※ To treat religion as part of nationalism, and to specify modes of interpenetration and intertwining

※ To posit a distinctively religious form of nationalism. Reconsider nationalism as a secular phenomenon.

Nationhood as a political claim rather than an ethno-cultural fact (In the Name of the Nation: Reflections on Nationalism and Patriotism)

※ Nationalism and patriotism can help forming citizenship, support for redistributive social policy, contributes integration of immigrants, and a check on foreign policy.

Here we have three examples exploring the different aspects of the strengths and weaknesses of his theory.

— Huo Peng Zhang

Case Study >>> Jobbik & 1848 – 1998

”It is now widely agreed that the meanings of such cultural objects are not fixed, given, or uniquely ascertainable, but instead are created and recreated in different times, places, and settings through a series of “interactions” or “negotiations” between the objects and their socially situated, culturally quipped, and often politically engaged interpreter” (Brubaker, 2002: 700)

Recent socio-political developments in Europe made its population witness a rise in nationalist – and often fascist – movements. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War, and the subsequent creation of numerous states, nationalistic movements tried to establish or join states supposedly made up by the people who ’belonged’ to that nation by using military force (this is best exemplified by the war in the Balkans after the disintegration of Yugoslavia, or more currently in Easter Ukraine). However, such incidents are not restricted to our immediate history, and almost a century ago the same events were witnessed after the end of World War I (most notably by the erosion of the Ottoman rule). While such events are continually discussed within nationalism studies from various perspectives, this case study tries to demonstrate a “memory creation” element of nationalism through a brief examination of the symbols employed by the paramilitaristic Hungarian fascist party, Jobbik.

Brubaker (2002) carried out an in-depth analysis of the sesquicentennial commemoration of the 1848 revolution, in which he examines how the events of the revolution were remembered in Hungary, Romania and Slovakia in 1998. While it is beyond the scope of this study to dwell within the background of the revolution, it is crucial to mention that the triumvirate is used as an example because the entirety of Slovakia and a large part of today’s Romania (Transylvania) were a part of Hungary. This provided the basis for Brubaker to examine the political, social and historical elements of the revolution, which in turn allowed for the exploration of how the different elements of the revolution were magnified, emphasised, diminished or completely left out in the 1998 commemorations. The combination of these led Brubaker to theorize that memory “works in a selective manner” and that its “entrepreneurship in the present is both enabled and constrained by the past” (2003: 714, 741), meaning that tapping into history and the past would be dictated by the purpose of those wishing to exploit it for their own means. In Brubaker’s study, this was illustrated by the ways in which various elements of the commemorations were used to channel different viewpoints: more Westernized Hungarian politicians focused on how the revolution was an attempt to create polgárosodás, or the development of civic societies, and how it prevailed during 1998, while trying to downplay the ethnic and national struggles in order to avoid highlighting potentially damaging aspects. Meanwhile in Romania, more of the atrocities were the focus, for, as Brubaker highlighted, social memory is doubly selective in being positive and negative (2002: 714). Accordingly, both countries emphasised positive and negative aspects of the revolution.

Thus, it can be observed that various elements of the past can be used to invoke a desired outcome, and Jobbik best represents this. The Hungarian party, as it is with other extreme nationalist or fascist parties, uses symbols from the country’s history, in order to emphasis their strong connection to the Hungarian land. This is supposed to reveal the meaning of being a ‘true Hungarian.’ For instance, it is common practice to apply rovásírás, the Old Hungarian script, to their official documents, to choose old pagan names for their children. On the other hand, Jobbik is a fundamentalist Christian political party that adopted the Coat of Arms of the Árpád dynasty as its main identifying symbol (Árpád-sávok), which poses as a contradiction. During the reign of Hungary’s first king, Stephen I (a member of the Árpád dynasty), the mostly pagan nation was brutally persecuted and all reminders, including pagan names and rovásírás, were eradicated, in order for Hungary to be able to take its place within Europe and gain the alliance of neighbouring Christian countries. This contradiction of applying various elements of history in order to create a political and national identity is not unique to Jobbik, and was most notably present in National Socialism in Germany (which Jobbik very much tries to emulate).

For discussion, the question I would like to ask is the following:

Is nationalism, beyond modern v. primordial, ethnic v. civic, nothing more than a construction based on which elements of history are being applied to an individual, society, state or nation? Can they be radically different if any of these elements are altered?

 Click here for an analysis of Jobbik

Click here for a history of fascism in Hungary

• Brubaker, R. and Feischmidt, M. (2002) ‘1848 in 1998: the politics of commemoration in Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia’, Comparative studies in society and history, 44 (4) pp. 700-744.
• Brubaker,  R.  (2004)  Ethnicity  without  groups.  Cambridge: Harvard  University Press.

Endre Feigl

Case Study >>> Migrants into citizens?

I will focus on Rogers Brubaker’s book Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany, in which he undertakes a very interesting comparative analysis of the cultural-historical roots of the distinctive, sometimes even antagonistic models of nationhood and national self-understanding in these two countries. I will then try to apply his analysis to explain the current situation of immigrants in Germany and France, with particular attention to the widely discussed situation of Turkish minority in Germany and to how the German perception of nationhood had affected this. I will use the example of Turkish communities in Berlin to illustrate this.

Civic vs. Ethnic
As Rogers Brubaker points out in the beginning of his book, the two main concepts that determine the French and German national self-understandings are civic versus ethnic approaches to the membership in a nation. “If the French understanding of nationhood has been state-centred and assimilationist, the German understanding has been Volk-centred and differentialist” (Brubaker 1992 cited in Hutchinson and Smith 1996: p.169).

He ascribes these different approaches to the specific traditions of nationhood in France and Germany which, in fact, date back centuries ago and had been determined by a number of geographical, political and cultural circumstances. He claims that in France, for example, the nation has been conceived in relation to the institutional and territorial frame of the state ever since ancien regime; therefore the French tend to define their nation rather as a political unity. The French Revolution added to this, republican definitions of nationhood as being unitarist, universalist and secular. (Brubaker 1992)

On the other hand, German national self-understanding had been formed during the era of Romanticism, which conceived nations as historically rooted, united by a distinctive Volksgeist and its expression in language, culture and the state. Thus, the German tradition of nationhood and citizenship was fundamentally ethnocultural, i.e. based on common descent, blood and ancestry. (Brubaker 1992)

Both of these traditions have obviously had implications for the immigrant legislation of the two countries, the French one being more assimilative and founded on the law of soil (jus soli) and the German one – more differentialist and founded on the law of blood (jus sanguinis). (Brubaker 1992)

“Parallel societies”
A very good illustration of how the German understanding of nationhood and citizenship has worked in practice for many decades is the situation of immigrant communities in German cities, Berlin in particular. The latter is especially well-known for its two “migrant” districts; Kreuzberg and Neukoelln act as the legendary islands of the foreign, the “Other”.

These districts have a reputation for vibrancy, creativity and multiculturalism. Yet, in the public imagination there is often a flipside to the area’s cultural diversity, reflecting a perception that its large Turkish and Muslim populations live in “parallel societies,” cut off from their ethnic German and non-Muslim neighbours and enclosed within their own communities.

Kottbuser Tor area

Kottbuser Tor area

In the Kottbusser Tor area of Kreuzberg, non-German citizens comprise 55.2% of the population. Turkish residents of Kreuzberg (even second and third generation Germans of Turkish background), feel comfortable and secure in their neighbourhood—some even feel anxious when they leave it for other areas of Berlin. At the same time, they maintain their specific identities, creatively blending the cultures of Berlin and their imaginary homelands. The native Germans, on the other hand, prefer to avoid these districts completely. This has made Kreuzberg into a “diasporic space” with its own web of social institutions, norms, values, and even language. Turkish internet cafes, television stations, newspapers, travel agencies, and other “transnational intermediaries” are among the flourishing ethnic businesses in the neighbourhood, helping to knit dense social ties across space. Political organizations, social service agencies, mosques, and other institutions round out the community.

Naturally, these districts have been a topic for some very heated debates in political circles in Germany: some (predominantly, those on the left) claim that Kreuzberg and Neukoelln represent the success of the multiculturalism model in Germany, that the presence of Turkish communities are a great enrichment to Berlin’s cultural life. Others (mostly right-wing parties) argue that the model of multiculturalism in Germany has failed and the Turkish migrants must be forced to integrate into the German society. At the same time, the migrants themselves find the integration rather hard because of the relative reluctance of the Germans themselves to accept cultural difference.

To your mind, how can this case be related to Brubaker’s analysis of the German traditions of nationhood? Is it only the different ethnic background that hinders the integration of Turks into the German society? How should the German self-understanding have been influenced by the introduction of the jus soli in 2000 and the dual citizenship in 2014 to the immigrant legislation?

Generally, do you think it is still appropriate in today’s world of “Liquid Modernity” (Bauman 2000) to explain national identity and the sense of national belonging using such metaphors as “roots”, “common blood and descent” (Brubaker 1992)? 

• Brubaker R. 1992. Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany. Harvard: Harvard University Press.
• Hutchinson J. and Smith A. 1994. Nationalism. Oxford; New York : Oxford University Press.
• Muslims in Germany: Life in a Parallel Society http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/muslims-in-germany-life-in-a-parallel-society-a-547717-2.html
• The multicultural Kreuzberg http://berlindividedcity.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/the-multicultural-kreuzberg/

— Ianina Kazachuk

Case Study >>> Indigenous Nationhood & Indigenous Rights

For the unfamiliar, this is an "adaptation" of the first line of the Canadian national anthem, which is, "Oh Canada, our home and native land/"

For the unfamiliar, this is an “adaptation” of the first line of the Canadian national anthem, which is, “Oh Canada, our home and native land/”

There’s that sense that we get in the way, especially for the movers and shakers in North America because one of the main issues in Native country is Native land. And that really is where […] we’re really inconvenient politically. […]Land is currency. Land is wealth […] And control of land in North America is one of the paramount issues that has been going on ever since Europeans got to North America. (King, 2012)

In “National Minorities, Nationalizating States, and External National Homelands in the New Europe,” Brubaker introduces his notion of the triadic nexus, exploring the complexities of the relation between three elements nationalism, which he identifies as national minority; nationalizing state; and external national homelands. He writes, “[…] national minority, nationalizing state, and external national homeland should each be conceived of not as a given, analytically irreducible entity but rather as a field of differentiated and competing positions, as an arena of struggle of competing stances.” (1995, p.118) He uses the break up of Yugoslavia in order to illustrate these “competing positions and stances” by identifying each “actor” and their political state, and then analyzing the interplay of these elements. Though his work is specific to Europe, I shall, with my preliminary understanding of this Brubakerian theory, attempt to apply his model outside of European context to Indigenous Nationhood in Canada.

A crash course in Canadian Indigenous history (with gratitude to Thomas King)
For context, Wab Kinew offers up 500 years of history in two minutes:

At this juncture in Canadian history, Indigenous people are fighting for more autonomy, independence and right. At the very least, Indigenous Nationhood would like to do away with The Indian Act (a statute passed in 1876 which governs how the Canadian government interacts with First Nations bands and their members in response to treaty rights). At most, Indigenous Nationhood argues for the rights enshrined in treaties established between the Crown and Indigenous people in the 17th century. Land is integral to the struggle for Indigenous Nationhood.

 “Assimilation was good in the 1950s, but bad in the 1970s. Residential schools were the answer to Indian education in the 1920s, but by the twenty-first century governments were apologizing for the abuse that Native children had suffered at the hands of Christian doctrinaires, pedophiles, and sadists. In the 1880s, the prevailing wisdom was to destroy Native cultures and languages so that Indians could find civilization. Today, the non-Native lament is that Aboriginal cultures and languages may well be on the verge of extinction. These are all important matters, but if you pay more attention to them than they deserve, you will miss the larger issue. The issue that came ashore with the French and the English and the Spanish, the issue that was the raisond’être for each of the colonies, the issue that has made its way from coast to coast to coast and is with us today, the issue that has never changed, never varied, never faltered in its resolve, is the issue of land. The issue has always been land. It will always be land, until there isn’t a square foot of land left in North America that is controlled by Native people.” (King cited in Globe & Mail, 2014)

Garden River, Ontario (Ketegaunseebee First Nation) TransCanada Highway

Garden River, Ontario (Ketegaunseebee First Nation) TransCanada Highway


A preliminary attempt at the Brubakerian model
Indigenous people as national minority (i.e. dynamic political state):

1) “The public claim to membership of an ethnocultural nation different from the numerically or politically dominant ethnocultural nation”:

  • Indigenous peoples in Canada do claim membership to an ethnicity, in opposition to non-Indigenous, or “settler” Canadians

2) “The demand for state recognition of this distinct ethnocultural nationality”:

  • Indigenous rights are about fighting for autonomy in Canada. Actually, in a sense the government does recognize that Indigenous people are “distinct,” they do so through the lens of a statute called The Indian Act, which in addition to defining how Indian reserves must be operated, also dictates who is and is not recognized as an “Indian” in the eyes of the government, rather than allowing for self-determination.

3) “The assertion, on the basis of this ethnocultural nationality of certain collective cultural and/or political rights”:

  • The demands of Indigenous rights are for fair and ethical recognition by the state, by beginning with the honouring of the original treaty agreements between the Crown and the Indigenous peoples of Canada

There are hundreds of different Indigenous nations, bands, and communities all across Canada, and each has their own perspective on Indigenous Nationhood. As Brubaker outlines, some prefer working with the government, whereas others actively work against it through direct action. While #Idle No More proved to be one of the most dynamic and explosive forces for Indigenous rights in Canada by engaging in performance and peaceful protest, this is just one more perspective on the situation.

 Canada and Indigenous Peoples as nationalizing states (i.e. unrealized nation-sate, a dynamic rather than static condition, reflecting the process of nationalizing)

  • Indigenous people in Canada can be perceived as a nationalizing state for they are, effectively stateless, and the entire Indigenous Nationhood movement reflects that. There are diverse opinions, and through actors like the Assembly of First Nations and Idle No More, Indigenous Nationhood seeks to unify Indigenous people toward taking steps to establish that Nationhood legitimately through a recognition of its political (and territorial) space
  • Canada can also be perceived as a nationalizing state, because Indigenous people within the country represent an unreconciled aspect of the nation-state. Indigenous people live outside the nation from within.

Indigenous Rights within the external national homeland:

  • Many Indigenous nations do not recognize the political boundaries between Canada and the United States, living and working across them, and even basing an economy across those lines (tobacco). According to Brubaker, because the homeland stance competes with the external homeland stance, those national minorities living abroad in other states and holding citizenship to that other state cannot “legitimately claim to protect its ethnic conationals who live in another state.” (p.118) But, counter to Brubaker, if Indigenous people do not recognize the political boundaries between two states – though they may indeed hold citizenship to one state versus the other, then why shouldn’t the homeland recognize that as such, and ensure that ethnic conationals are covered?



For discussion

In a North American Indigenous context, how do these three elements relate as per Brubaker’s theory? Can his theory even be applied to such an example? Is this ethical (imposing a Eurocentric Western model on an Indigenous case study)? More broadly, can a nation exist without a state of is own? Can it exist across political state lines?


The 8th FireThomas King Interview & Leanne Simpson
Happy Birthday Canada @ Red Man Laughing
#J11 #IdleNoMore “10, 000 Voices Cannot Be Ignored”

• Brubaker, R. 1995. National minorities, nationalizing states, and external national homelands in the New Europe. Daedalus, 124(2), pp.107-132.
• Brubaker, R. 2010. Migration, membership, and the modern nation-state: Internal and external dimensions of the politics of belonging migration and membership. Journal of Interdisciplinar History 41(1), pp.61-78.
• King, T. 2012. Interview on Q. Interviewed by Brent Bambury [radio] CBC Radio, 13 November 2012.
• King, T. 2013. Inside the Charles Taylor Prize shortlist: Read an excerpt from Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian. The Globe and Mail. 7 March 2014. (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/inside-the-charles-taylor-prize-shortlist-read-an-excerpt-from-thomas-kings-the-inconvenient-indian/article17382030/)
• Simpson, Leanne. 2012. Interview on Red Man Laughing. Interviewed by Ryan McMahon [podcast] (https://soundcloud.com/rmcomedy/rml-the-leanne-simpson)

Cristina Pietropaolo

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