Archive for the ‘Paul’ Category

Kraman: Reading Response #1, 9/4/07

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Nationalism Reframed, Nationhood and the national question in the New Europe

Rogers Brubaker

Cambridge University Press, 1996

In a comparatively brief, but grammatically ponderous, analysis of historical trends from a sociological perspective, Rogers Brubaker argues that nationalism, which should have been “discredited” by the European wars and conflicts of the 1914-1944 period and subsequently “dissolved” by the cooperative European economic recovery of the 1944-1974 period, seems to be exhibiting a distressing (to Brubaker) revival and rebirth. Rather than debate the resurgence or obsolescence of European nationalism and nation-states, however, Brubaker elects to grapple with the “actual existing nationalism” that now exists or existed within the multi-national political entities of the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia. It was Brubaker’s expressed intent to reframe “the most recent nationalizing reconfiguration of political space.” In this worthy endeavor, some mercy might have been granted to the non-sociologist reader struggling under the sheer weight and volume of Brubaker’s 150 word sentences, if he had at least using a new term to distinguish between the old fashioned historical nationalism and his new sociological nationalism.

Brubaker certainly brings a fresh look at the applicability of the traditional western style nationalism in Eastern Europe — as it was applied in breakup of the Ottoman Empire and in Mesopotamia after World War I. He details the Communist use of a strong centralized Russian-based system of governance while allowing for the existence of parochial cultures in the various non-Russian socialist republics that may have sowed the seeds for the ultimate collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. He does not examine the differences or similarities of the communist style of republican governance and autonomies in the USSR with the absolutist style of provincial governance that evolved in the Russia Empire from 1721 to 1917 as the empire acquired or absorbed neighboring primitive and sophisticated polities. (more…)