Electronic Library of Scientific Literature - © Academic Electronic Press


CONTENTS 6/1999, p. 565-636
OBSAH 6/1999, s. 565-636




Book Reviews

Cultural Domination and the Reaction to It

Janusz Mucha

Instytut socjologii universytetu Mikołaja Kopernika, Toruń

Cultural Domination and the Reaction to It. The article is a part of a research project devoted to the analysis of dominant cultures as viewed by the cultural minorities. The text is not about the debate on the cultural domination or a criticism of theories of domination, nor is it a dialogue with them. Its aim is to present various approaches, aspects, dimensions and theoretical contexts of cultural domination and reactions to it. The following issues are discussed in the article: ethnic domination and its mechanisms; global approach to cultural domination and the center/periphery debate; debates on the repressive culture of rationality of the Frankfurt School, postmodernism and post-structuralism; debate on economic, political and ideological domination, including the “dominant ideology thesis” and Pierre Bourdieu’s structuralism. In conclusion, the author summarizes his arguments and attempts to present the applications of the concept of cultural domination to the modern cultural studies.

Sociologic 1999 Vol. 31 (No. 6: 567-586)

Assessing the Compatibility Between Nationalism and Democracy in Post Communist Societies: Some Perspectives from Slovakia and Slovenia

Erika Harris -Grossbergerová

Department of Politics, University of Leeds

Assessing the Compatibility Between Nationalism and Democracy in Post Communist Societies: Some Perspectives from Slovakia and Slovenia. This article is concerned with the relationship between nationalism and democracy in a particular setting - postcommunist newly independent democracies. The purpose is to seek an answer to two related questions about what is the role of nationalism in the democratisation process and under which conditions is nationalism more or less compatible with the democratisation process. The article argues that the role of nationalism in that process cannot be generalised and constitutes a complex process in itself, conditioned by the political context of the society undergoing the transition. The political context is viewed as an aggregate of factors, contributing to and determining the equilibrium between nationalism and democracy, such as the stage of national development, the conditions and circumstances surrounding the achievement of independent statehood, the previous regime and the period prior to that, the formation of transitional elites and the stage in the transition, and the issues of the ethnic composition and consonance within the state.

Nationalism’s capacity to threaten minorities, fragment states and complicate interethnic and interstate relations has been amply demonstrated and documented. Here, the aim is to shed light on nationalism as an integral part of the democratisation process, theoretically and empirically; the latter through the exploration of two case studies, Slovakia and Slovenia as two newly independent postcommunist states that emerged as a result of democratisation. (Postcommunist in this case does not suggest the same type of communist regime, it is obvious that communism in the former Czechoslovakia penetrated and suppressed civil society to a considerably higher degree than in the former Yugoslavia, postcommunism in this context refers to the transition from an authoritarian regime conducted under one (communist) party rule to a pluralist democracy.) Nationalism in the context of this article is viewed as a political force which tries to distribute power relations within the state through the articulation and promotion of political aims in the name of and on behalf of a nation, or national group, (i.e. majority or minority),with its main goal being the safeguarding of the unity, identity and autonomy of that group.

It is proposed that nationalism has a tendency towards the appropriation of state power by the dominant majority and thus undermines state-building, a fact gaining in relevance in multinational states and that since it is democratisation itself that facilitates the increase in nationalist mobilisation, democracy is better served by a lesser emphasis on national identity. This last point is even more pertinent in the newly independent states engaged simultaneously in nation-building and state-building. Assuming that national identity is an important facet of people’s existence and therefore relevant to democratic politics, the resolution between nationalism and democracy depends greatly on how anti-democratic elements of nationalism can be reduced to such an extent that the transition to democracy does not get overshadowed by the consolidation of the national rather than political community.

Sociológia 1999, Vol. 31 (No. 6: 587-601)

Frames of the Slovak National Identity Construction

Zuzana Kusá - Andrej Findor

The Institute for Sociology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava

Frames of the Slovak National Identity Construction. The paper analyses the underlying frames of current Slovak national identity discussions. It suggests that they are the following: the prevailing liberalism and its doubts about the legitimacy of subordination of individuals to collectivity (community), and its understanding the construction of collective identity as a potential limitation of individual freedom; the fear of nationalism as well as of being labelled a nationalist; the economic transformation and the increase of class differences. The authors stress the need to overcome the common understanding of constructivism as a fabrication and point out the political benefits of deliberative constructivist approach to collective (national) identity. The benefits are the liberation of the determinism of essentialist (romanticist) approach from the issue of national identity and the increased opportunity to choose identity as well as the future (either collective or individual).

Sociológia 1999Vol. 31 (No. 6: 603-618)

Electronic Library of Scientific Literature - © Academic Electronic Press