Conceptions of nationalism as a historical and contemporary phenomenon remain fragmentary in the late-1990s. This text analyzes the contraditions inherent in the general understanding of nationalism in order to fashion a new intellectual synthesis. In particular George Schopflin questions why states in the West are able to live with the nation as the legitimate space for democratic institutions, whereas in the post-communist world, especially in Eastern Europe, ethnicity is pre-eminent. He argues that the nation is simultaneously ethnic, civic and structured by the state. Schopflin applies his understanding of nationalism to various East and Central European case studies, including the former Yugoslavia and Hungary. He also compares the role of ethnicity in other states, including Britain.
Part 1 What is the nation? civil society, ethnicity and the state - a threefold relationship; citizenship, ethnicity and cultural reproduction; democracy, ethnicity and right-extremist movements; commemoration - why remember? Part 2 Ethnicity and cultural reproduction: a taxonomy of myths and their functions; social processes without actors? conspiracy theories and the quest for enemies in central and eastern Europe; aspects of language and ethnicity in central and eastern Europe; ethnic minorities in central and eastern Europe - analyses and prognoses. Part 3 The state, Communism and post-Communism: why empires fail; cultural diversity and good governance - some general considerations; the Communist experience and nationhood; an analysis of post-Communism; culture and identity in post-Communist Europe; the rise of anti-democratic movements in post-Communist societies; nationhood, Communism, and state legitimation; culling sacred cows? state frontiers and stability. Part 4 Minorities: the problem of ethnic minorities in central and eastern Europe; nationalism and ethnic minorities in post-Communist Europe; inter-ethnic relations in Transylvania. Part 5 The ethnic factor reconsidered: Englishness - citizenship, ethnicity and class; Yugoslavia - state construction and state failure; power, ethnicity and politics in Yugoslavia; Hungary and its neighbours -Hungary as a kin state.