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Lecture Notes

Political Science
Course Code
Lucan Way

of 8
Ethnic Nationalism and Conflict
What you learned last week
Authoritarianism in Russia Read McFaul!
End of the USSR Rise of Yeltsin
Competitive Authoritarianism in Russia
Sources of failed democracy in Russia
oInstitutional design (voluntarist)
oOil (structural)
Definitions of ethnicity/nationalism
Structural and voluntarist approaches to ethnicity and
Todays lecture
Review of ethnicity/nationalism
Competing views of ethnicity/nationalism and the fall of the USSR
Origins of the Yugoslav crisis
A named population sharing a historic territory, common
myths, memories and culture
Includes non-ethnic nations like the U.S. and Canada
A basic definition would include that there is a lot of people
willing to die for their country
The idea that the nation and the state should be the same
Nations state, the idea that common culture should be the
same as the state
oWhere there is a lot of different cultures, but the nation-
state includes all loyalties
Nation demands primary loyalty
omilitary; die for country
A group of people with a shared myth of ancestry sharing a
common culture and language
A civic nationalism; something that anybody can adopt, you
change and choose to be part of the Canadian nation
oExclusive belief that you are born into an ethnicity
oMay be territorially based or not
Primordial view
The Radical Primordial View:
Ethnic Nations have always existed just need to be awakened
They can be defined by objective criteria (i.e. language, skin
color, blood)
They are unchanging
TAKEN AS SUCH, the value of the primordial view, most of us
do not share this view, most would agree that nations haven exited for
every--the notion of being German was invented
But at the same time there is soft primodialism
B. Soft primordialism
Nations not natural but relatively stable and long-term
Admit nations having exited since the beginning at time that
they were at some point socially constructed
Feelings of Serb nationalism how it affects things?
Since of Serb nationalism was quite strong, politicians would have
served that wave
Economic view: Ernst Gellner (explains specific nationalism and why
nationalism became so dominant in the 19th century)
National idea an outgrowth of industrialization and modernization
Rise of Mass education
Before mass education, only a very small share of population
Mass education makes everyone subject of standardized school
Brings everyone into a common culture makes recognition of
a shared culture possible
Economic rationale
In order to succeed, you need to learn culture rural
population gets sucked into dominant culture
Folk cultures die
oOlder accents and forms of dialect disappeared as more
and more people adopt the dominant culture for them to succeed
Nationalism is inevitable but random which nations (over 8,000
Ernst Gellner: 2 stages of Nationalism
Rise of dominant culture British, French, Russian
Reaction of minority cultures who seek to defend their interests
Excluded from market because of different language
Can either assimilate or create new identity
Ethnic entrepreneurs
Voluntarist Explanations: Elite Manipulation
Ethnicity malleable/open to manipulation
Here, ethnicity/nationalism not a product of economic well-
being but of desire for status
Elites create myth of nation to pursue self interest
oPublic schools to inculcate national myth
oCeremonies, monuments
Creating notions of ethnic nationalism
oEducation not a function of economic necessity but
elite manipulation
1.Motives of elites
oDefense against competing ideologies/power centers
oGood way to mobilize an army
oEthnic entrepreneurs
Problems with Elite Manipulation model
oNation must be plausible
1.Visible distinctions
2.National histories that resonate
oLots of entrepreneurs and only some succeed
Understanding the sources of nationalism
1.Structural Approach - Primordials
A.Cultural approach:
Ethnic identity stable/hard to change
Hard Core Primordial, age-old, based on objective
characteristics (blood, language)
Socially constructed
1.Soft-core Primordial long lasting difficult to change
B. Economic approach Socially constructed, nationalism a function of
1.Socially constructed –nationalism a function of political
Collapse of Soviet Union
1.1991 Soviet Union breaks up into 15 different countries
What caused the collapse?
1.Primordial view
A.Boiling pot approach, ethnic prisons approach