Archive for the ‘Nationalism’ Category

Final Paper – Religion in ECE Nationalism

Thursday, December 13th, 2007


Religion’s Role in Yugoslavia and Poland in the Twentieth Century: Evolution of Ethnoreligious Nationalism

by Gary E. Wightman

6 December 2007


Dr. Mills Kelly

Hist 635


            Religion has played an important role in national politics in East Central Europe during the twentieth century, at times serving the desires of the Church at the national or Papal level, at times serving the desire of the national leaders, at times serving the desires of both the Church and national leaders, and at times serving the advantages of one party at the disadvantage of the other party. Regardless of the benefactor or loser, the Church has been a factor in the nationalism equation during the 1900s,. Indeed, some outsiders have blamed religion as a major catalyst or contributor for some of the wars or atrocities during this period, such as the Holocaust and the Ustashe campaigns during World War II, as well as the Yugoslavian conflict in the 1990s, although some historians of late have refuted this statement to some degree regarding the Yugoslavian conflict. For instance, Donia and Fine in Bosnia and Hercegovina: A Tradition Betrayed, argue that the conflict is not a product of centuries of bad blood over religious conflict and wars in former Yugoslavia. The meaning of  nationalism of the nineteenth century has evolved into ethnonationalism for East Central Europe during the twentieth century in an effort to further refine the definition of Self and Other. Religion has not been relegated to insignificance during this evolution of nationalism. Indeed, religion has played an important role in the evolution of nationalism, so much so that some historians refer to the evolution of nationalism as ethnoreligious nationalism. To investigate this transformation and assess the role and impact of religion on nationalism in East Central Europe, and therefore, on communism, this paper will consider several events during the twentieth century, specifically focusing on the Polish struggle against the Communist regime during the 1980s and conflict in Yugoslavia since World War II. (more…)

The Balkans After the Cold War

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

Beth Gryczewski

Gallagher, Tom. The Balkans After the Cold War:  From Tyranny to Tragedy. New York:  Routledge, 2003.

In contrast to the Lampe book, Yugoslavia as History: Twice There was A Country, where Lampe tends to lean towards the belief that the breakup of Yugoslavia was inevitable, and tends to blame outsiders for imposing their will on Yugoslavia, (AND, ultimately for the disastrous and bloody breakup of the country), Tom Gallagher, in The Balkans After the Cold War, asserts that the disaster in Yugoslavia was purely the fault of insiders (2). “Yugoslavia unravelled as a functioning entity between 1985 and 1991 largely as a result of decisions taken by internal political actors, not as a result of unfriendly external actions” (2). 


Post on Glenny’s, The Fall of Yugoslavia

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

Misha Glenny, The Fall of Yugoslavia: Third Balkan War, 3rd ed. (United States: Penguin Books, 1996), p. 33.

Misha Glenny’s The Fall of Yugoslavia is a highly engaging, yet tragic account of the armed conflict that occurred in Yugoslavia during the 1990s. Glenny discusses the role that nationalism played in causing the conflict. The focus of the book is on the time period roughly between the years of 1990-1993. During this period, relations between people became tense, which led to a senseless, bloody war that took the lives of many Serbians, Croatians, and Albanian Moslems. (more…)

Balkans Are Pawns Of the Great Powers

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

Misha Glenny’s The Balkans: Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers, 1804-1999, addresses the issue of Balkanization from two perspectives: the persistent negative characterization and stereotyping of the Balkan peoples and cultures; and, the Balkans have been nothing more than pawns and victims of the Great Powers, thereby resulting in their economic oppression. Glenny suggests that due to the Great Powers political, economic and military goals, their actions have forced the Balkans into situations and wars that they did not want or had no choice but to participate, if for nothing else, for survival. Glenny’s arguments are reminiscient of the argument Robert J. Donia and John V.A. Fine’s Bosnia and Hercegovina: A Tradition Betrayed and Dusan Bjelic and Obrad Savic’s Balkan as Metaphor: Between Globalization and Fragmentation, where they suggest that the West has promoted through the media and history an image of the constant warring among a swirling cauldron of conflicting ideologies due to multiple ethnicities, religions, and competing nationalities that make peace an impossibility for the region and a place that has been a primary source for two World Wars. Similar to the other authors, Glenny challenges the negative stereotyping of the Balkans by the West. From the early nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century, he traces the actions of both the individual Balkan nations or states, the Great Powers of Europe, and two non-European nations, the United States and the Ottomans, in an attempt to demonstrate that the Balkans consistently fought to develop their own nations and create and expand their own political space. Meanwhile the Great Powers played their own games among each other, always focusing on maximizing their self-interests while sacrificing the interests and political space of the Balkan countries.


Tolerance, or Lack thereof, in the Former Yugoslavian State

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

Hodson, Sekulic, and Massey. (1994). National Tolerance in the Former Yugoslavia. American Journal of Sociology.

 Hodson, Sekulic, and Massey discuss multiple issues pertaining to the considerable violence, refugees, and nationalistic ideologies in the former Yugoslavia.  The authors attempt to refute the simplistic explanation of unleashed racism, hostility, and nationalism that was supposedly suppressed by communist regimes.  (more…)

Yugoslavian Genocide

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

Hayden, R. (1996). Imagined Communities and Real Victims: Self-Determination and Ethnic Cleansing in Yugoslavia. American Ethnologist. 

Hayden discusses a variety of issues pertaining to genocide in the former Yugoslavian state.  The author addresses multiple factors that may or may not have contributed to genocide in Yugoslavia.  Hayden submits that the violence in heterogeneous areas is not the result of decades of suppressed racism under communism but is instead the direct result of the forced un-mixing of various peoples and the conceptual creation of multicultural communities (783).  (more…)

Fantasies of Salvation

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

Tismaneanu, Vladimir. Fantasies of Salvation: Democracy, Nationalism, and Myth in Post-Communist Europe. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998.

Vladimir Tismaneanu characterizes the political and social landscape of post-communist Eastern and Central Europe as stretched between two poles of thought: that of the communist-era dissidents, encouraging pluralism, the development of civil society, adhering to the principles of the Enlightenment; and the opposing side is what Sabrina Ramet focuses on in The Radical Right, agents of organized intolerance, a collectivist, chauvinistic movement, promoting ideas of ethnic or racial purity.  Fantasies of Salvationpairs up well with Ramet’s The Radical Right, and could almost serve as an extended introduction. Where Ramet has organized a collection of essays that detail the radical right movements in former communist Central and Eastern European countries, Tismaneanu provides the background on the methods and tools such as scapegoating myths, hypernationalist rhetoric, and historical manipulation that have become powerful tools for social mobilization in a post-communist setting. (more…)

Sabrina Ramet’s The Radical Right in Central and Eastern Euope Since 1989

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

Sabrina Ramet begins her book by defining the Radical Right.  She identifies a number of characteristics which include authoritarianism, traditionalism, organized intolerance, and nationalism.  Her thesis in this book is to show that the Fuhrer has no clothes.  She shows how various radical right movements in the Balkans and Eastern Europe have risen, what their underlying ideology is, and how they function in such a way as to attract a modern constituency.  (more…)

Balkan As A Metaphor

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

Balkan As A Metaphor: Between Globalization and Fragmentation (2005)

Eedited by Dusan Bjelic and Obrad Savic

Balkan as a Metaphor, a collection of fourteen chapters written by different authors and edited by Dusan Bjelic and Obrad Savic, addresses the various uses of the term Balkan. Many of the authors are personally familiar with the area, having lived in the area for different lengths of time. The primary purpose of the authors is to address the negative stereotypes to phrases or terms such as “being Balkan,” “Balkanization,” or just generally referring to conflict ridden areas by saying “the Balkans”, such as warlike, aggressive, sexist, rapist, racist, center of ethnic, racial and religious conflict, that have been constructed by the West. The authors explore the various stereotypes, how they have evolved, using an interesting and creative array of analogies and analysis to produce an provocative discourse on “Balkan identity and representation, its pleasures and its violence.” (page 2)


For the most part, the authors lay most of the blame for the negative stereotyping of the Balkans on the West. While allowing that the concepts of Said’s Orientalism  has influenced the Balkan authors and can be used to help interpret and understand how the West applied negative stereotypes to the Balkan metaphor, Bjelic suggests that Balkanism is related but different to Orientalism, with specific reference to the creation to Other. Consequently, how the West has tended to construct the Other versus the Balkan approach to Other is considered in his introductory chapter and is a consistent issue of discourse throughout the various chapters. (more…)

Hockenos – Free to Hate

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my most recent paper for the course is on the presence and growth of radical right movements and the conditions that may have facilitated the expansion or emergence of these groups in the reunified German state.  I found Hockenos’ Free to Hate particularly useful pertaining to the state of radical right groups, both political and non-political, in Germany during the late 80s and early 90s.  (more…)