The Idea of National Superiority in Central Europe, 1880-1918

The Idea of National Superiority in Central Europe, 1880-1918

By: Marius Turda (author)Hardback

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This book focuses on the ways in which biological discourses of race and ethnicity affected and shaped nationalism and the idea of national superiority in Central Europe between 1880 and 1918. Emanating from Britain, Germany and France, various discourses on racial superiority and survival of the fittest deeply intermingled with the hospitable terrain of nationalist doctrines. Their interaction in Central Europe, however, has never been analysed thoroughly. At the end of the nineteenth century, scientific definitions of the origin, role and destiny of various nations were accepted as the most encompassing. If in Western Europe, the new orientation towards scientific explanations of ethnicity was mainly used to consolidate expansion and explain militarism, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire it largely became a source of national resurrection. In searching for new forms of expression, late nineteenth century nationalists enthusiastically resorted to what Western civilisation advertised as the scientific rationale for refutation, domination and aggressiveness: race. Ultimately, race came to represent not only the most important traits of the human body, but was also regarded as decisively shaping the character and personality of the nation. National superiority was one of the most important consequences of this transformation. It was largely acclaimed and vehemently contested. The idea of national superiority in Central Europe between 1880 and 1918 designates those cultural, political and social representations ethnic groups used to mark their cultural distinctiveness and, consequently, prove their political hegemony. A new approach to the "nationality question" in Central Europe between 1880 and 1918 is needed. This book looks at this issue from an unexplored perspective. By focusing on the idea of national superiority, the book aims to answer the following questions: did Western racial and Social Darwinist theories have any impact on Central European nationalism? Was Austria-Hungary an arena of ruthless struggle for supremacy (Germans, Magyars) and affirmation (Italians, Romanians, Serbs, Slovaks), as contemporary nationalists described it? Was Ludwig-Gumplowicz's theory of Der ewige Kampf um Herrschaft the motto of the nationalist conflicts in Central Europe between 1880 and 1918?


Acknowledgements i; Preface iii; Introduction 1; The Idea of National Superiority 6; A Note On Methodology 8; Structure 9; Chapter I. Racial Thinking, Nationalism and Social Darwinism in Nineteenth-Century Europe 13; Racial Thinking and the Concept of Race 15; A New Definition of the Nation 20; 'Volkisch' Nationalism and Racial Thinking 23; Theories of Social Darwinism 28; Chapter II. Social Darwinist and Racial Theories of National Superiority 37; Ludwig Gumplowicz and the Sociology of Racial Conflict 38; Houston Stewart Chamberlain and the Supremacy of Race 51; Chapter III. Cultural and Historical Theories of National Superiority 67; Liberalism and Nationalism in Hungary 71; 'Herrenvolk' Liberalism and the Idea of the Political Nation 74; Magyarization and Assimilation 78; Agost Pulszky and the Evolutionary Theory of the Nation 82; Gyozo Concha and the Legal Definition of National Superiority 85; Ethnography and the Idea of National Superiority 88; Racial Origins and National Character 98; Paul Hunfalvy and Linguistic Anthropology 99; Arminius Vambery and the Idea of Turanism 102; Zsolt Beothy and 'Racial Spirit' 106; Chapter IV. Nationalist Darwinist Theories of Superiority 113; Erno Baloghy and the Superiority of 'Magyar Culture' 114; Gusztav Beksics and 'Racial Struggle' in Hungary 117; Race and the 'Romanian Question' 120; Defining Race: Religion and the National Idea 124; Women and the Conservation of Race 127; The 'Millennium Exhibition' of 1896 and the Idea of National Superiority 131; Mihaly Rez and 'Magyar Racial Politics' 133; Jeno Rakosi and the Idea of Complete Magyarization 138; Aurel C. Popovici and the Politics of Race 142; Race and Nation: The Struggle for Survival 144; The Reaction to Magyarization and Assimilation 149; The Idea of Romanian National Superiority 153; Conclusions 159; Bibliography 165; Index 189

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780773461802
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 203
  • ID: 9780773461802
  • ISBN10: 0773461809

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