UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Nationalism and ethnicity as identity politics in Eastern Europe and the Basque Country Young, Jason Richard


This thesis demonstrates the powerful relationship between ethnicity, culture, nation and state in the Basque Country and the Former Yugoslavia. In placing Basque and Yugoslav sub-state nationalism in comparative relief this study argues that political state or autonomy seeking behavior on the basis of an ethnically defined or imagined community continues to have powerful contemporary salience. Furthermore when situated within the literature on nationalism, these two cases suggest that the theoretical literature needs to be reworked beyond the positions of Anthony Smith and Ernest Gellner. The endurance of cultural claims to a political state suggests that the connection between ethnicity and the nation is stronger then many contemporary observers have suggested. It is argued that the cultural, political and territorial rights of sub-state nations are likely to remain highly divisive sites of historical, cultural and political contestation. As a force, nationalism is by no means relegated to the past by cosmopolitanism or a ‘post-national’ shift as a number of high profile commentators in the contemporary social sciences have argued. Rather, it remains an active and powerful idea that will continue to shape the sociopolitical landscape of human societies into the twenty-first century as it has the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

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