Electronic Library of Scientific Literature - © Academic Electronic Press


Volume 34, 2002, No. 6, p. 505-584

Recenzie / Reviews


Theorising Identity, Nationality and Citizenship: Implications for European Citizenship Identity

Lynn Jamieson
Department of Sociology, University of Edinburgh

Theorising Identity, Nationality and Citizenship: Implications for European Citizenship Identity. This paper reviews theoretical approaches to the key concepts of ‘identity’ and ‘citizenship’ exploring their implications for the possibilities of European citizenship and European identity. In many circumstances and for many people, ‘being European’ is more likely to be an abstract categorising of self and/or others rather than a strongly felt sense of common identity and belonging. In reviewing theoretical discussion of ‘identity’, this paper reasserts the value of a social constructionist position that people have one self but many identities, some more ‘primary’ than others. This approach goes beyond the conclusion that, while neither local nor national identity is necessarily ‘primary’, local identity is more likely to be ‘primary’, to offer clues about the conditions required for supra-national identities such as European or ‘global identity’ to become ‘primary’. Discussions of processes creating identification with others and a sense of ‘belonging’, social categorisation and processes of group membership, ‘othering’ and boundary work, are briefly reviewed before turning to the debate over ‘agency’ and ‘structure’ that runs through discussions of identity. This provides a reminder that different national contexts offer access to different resources with which to build local, national and European identities and that within one nation-state, not all have the same degrees of freedom to create identities. The article concludes with debate concerning whether and in what circumstances being a citizen moves from membership of an abstract category to becoming an important aspect of sense of self. At the moment, it is privileged minorities who have the resources and connections that encourage freely travelling across Europe who are the most likely to be ‘European’. For European citizenship to be a more significant aspect of many people’s personal identities, local circumstances and the everyday social interactions would have to refer to and celebrate the European Union in a way that they do not at the moment. There are very few scenarios for this happening, a some of them negative, associated with the growth of ethnic citizenship and ‘fortress Europe’. The more positive possibilities of young people international movements that concern themselves with political and social rights typically celebrate more abstract principles of fairness and justice, perhaps promoting ‘global’ rather than ‘European’ citizenship.

Sociológia 2002 Vol 34 (No. 6: 507-532)


Globalisation and Ethnic Conflict

Eva Riečanská
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh

Globalisation and Ethnic Conflict. At the turn of the 20th and 21st century, ethnic conflict has become one of the most pervasive forms of both violent and non-violent forms of social conflict all over the globe. The situation in many countries suggests that ethnicity is still a salient and potent source of political struggle and claims-making. Ethnicity in the modern world has become one of the basic patterns of organisation of social life, a form of making sense of cultural, religious and linguistic difference. The development of global communications, facilitating and speeding up exchange and cross-fertilisation of ideas is going hand in had with emulation of examples, development of transboundary networks, all having a bearing upon the global spread as well as transformation of ethnic loyalties, identities and interrelated discourses. In this paper I draw attention to the contemporary scholarly discussion on the broader global dimensions of ethnic conflict, emphasising the growing importance of global processes, and their consequences for the dynamics of ethnic relations all over the globe. It points to the fact of how contemporary ethnic identities are constantly recreated as people try to negotiate their identities and interests in the globalising world and how ethnic discourses are an outcome of shifting political, social and economic contexts. The paper thus examines an important level at which ethnic conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries arise: as a consequence of global forces ranging from the global dissemination of ethnic idioms and ”ethnicisation” of the political space, to the connections stemming from the clash between global flows of capital, ideas and people and the principles of the sovereign, unitary and bounded nation-state.

Sociológia 2002 Vol 34 (No 6: 533-546)


Slovaks and Czechs on the Threshold of the European Union
On the Possibility of Mutual Emancipation of Nations

Pavel Machonin
The Institute of Sociology the Academy of Science of the Czech Republic, Prague

Slovaks and Czechs on the Threshold of the European Union. On the Possibility of Mutual Emancipation of Nations. The long-lasting historical co-existence of the closely kindred Slovak and Czech nations went through periods both of dissociation – caused mainly by the intervention of their more powerful neighbours – and of association and cooperation in common fight for national independence. Several times in their history they became parts of the same states, two times they created a common state. Though the co-existence of these two nations was not free of points of friction, in general co-operative and friendly elements clearly prevailed in their co-habitation. Even the necessity to correct the image of the possibility of creation an artificial Czechoslovak nation and the final dissociation of the Czecho-Slovak Federation into two sovereign states occurred in peaceful forms and did not become the beginning of a lasting conflict. Historical facts testify for the statement that both the integrative and disintegrative trends in the relationships of Slovaks and Czechs finally have led to their mutual national emancipation and made possible their friendly mutual assistance and cooperation within the Visegrád group and other Central European organizations as well as in the issue of their simultaneous accession into the European Union.

Many determinants of various kinds influence the emergence and developments of nations. These ethnical droppings are going through historical changes in which one can find out more or less successful phases. From this point of view, it is important to know if this or that nation has at present achieved this or that position on the scale of modernity, application of social justice in their social systems, economic efficiency, educational and cultural level and creativity and developments of democracy and civic society. However, the author is pleading for a certain relativisation of significance of individual criteria of evaluation, to historisation and preference of complex approach to the history of nations as a whole. One should enrich the image of nations as objectively emerged and historically developed groupings by understanding them as large communities being aware of their specific identities to such a degree that they are able to write their own history above all by their own forces, by their various cultural and civilizational as well as civic and political activities on the base of the given internal structures and in the contemporary international context. Under this angle the measuring of positions of individual nations on the mentioned partial scales has only an auxiliary significance. Far more important is to understand from what outcome and in what direction are they going within the complex of the partial characteristics including also many other ones, which we are so far not able to operationalise on any scales.

Taking into account both successes and failures in the field of the long-lasting common research-work done by Czech and Slovak sociologists, the author proposes some principles of an adequate sociological study of nations. He prefers a complex and historical approach respecting the existence of the relative internal homogeneity and cohesion of nations. Opposite to some other social groupings one has in the case of nations to count with a great significance and weight of psychological aspects, mainly of the so-called national mentality and, resulting from all this, national identity. To the constitutional aspects of nations belongs also the interaction of elites with the broader social strata of population. Mutual relationships of nations must not be reduced to the identifying, measuring and comparing of their attributes, achievements and capacities on a priori selected vertical scales. Many of the specific national qualities consist in the fact that they differ from the qualities of other nations without necessity to evaluate them as better or worse. Besides quantitative sociological and statistical studies also qualitative methods inspired by the experience of cultural anthropology and ethnography have to be used both in sociological and historiographical studies.

Sociológia 2002 Vol 34 (No 6: 547-562)