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499 Ab Imperio, 3/2009 Wim van MEURS Rogers Brubaker, Margit Feischmidt , Jon Fox, and Liana Grancea, Nationalist Politics and Everyday Ethnicity in a Transylvanian Town (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006). 439 pp., ill. ISBN: 978069 -112-834-4 (hardcover edition). More than a handful of authors have made a lasting contribution to the study of nationalism and ethnicity – once. Rogers Brubaker has done so several times over the past quarter of a century. His Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany (1992) and Nationalism Reframed (1996)1 come to mind, but his important contribution on the institutionalization of nationality in the USSR in Theory and Society (1994)2 also deserves mention. Many a researcher’s understanding of the German ethnically defined, objective concept of the nation in contrast to a French social-contract type of nation is based on Brubaker’s study, even though recent empirical studies have nuanced his juxtaposition and underlined that both are stereotyped. His “triadic nexus” stuck, and his warning against the fallacy of confusing “nation” as a category of reality and a category of analysis certainly outlive his attempt to establish the neologisms “nation-ness” and “nationhood ” in academic jargon. Unlike most scholars, Rogers Brubaker tried his hand at rather different genres – comparisons on the level of nation-states, theoretical studies such as Ethnicity without Groups (2004)3 as well as a case 1 Rogers Brubaker. Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany. Cambridge, MA, 1992; Idem. Nationalism Reframed: Nationhood and the National Question in the New Europe. Cambridge, 1996. 2 Rogers Brubaker. Nationhood and the National Question in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Eurasia: An Institutionalist Account // Theory and Society. 1994. Vol. 23. No. 1. Pp. 47-78. 3 Rogers Brubaker. Ethnicity without Groups. Cambridge, MA, 2004. 500 Рецензии/Reviews study on the level of one town. His studies are typically highly relevant for specialists in the field, but readable for students as well. Apart from the somewhat dated emphasis on the contrast between objective and subjective concepts of the nation , the first chapter of Nationalist Politics and Everyday Ethnicity in a Transylvanian Town is a perfect concise introduction to state and nation building in Europe for a graduate seminar. In the stale debate on nationalism , Rogers Brubaker and John Breuilly are classified as empiricists . Living up to that reputation, Brubaker has opted to study and exemplify his main arguments on “ethnic engineering” and the ongoing construction of nations in a hotspot of nationalist politics in post-communist Eastern Europe, the Transylvanian town of Cluj-Napoca in Romania. Other hotspots such as Sarajevo, Mitrovica, or Tetovo may have seen more ethnic violence, but the reign of Gheorghe Funar of the rabidly anti-Semitic and antiHungarian Greater Romania Party as mayor of the city (1992–2004) provides a case in point. In a collective effort to analyze nationalism and ethnicity in the multiethnic city of Cluj, Brubaker’s mission is to confute the widely held assumption that nationalism and violence are synonymous. Thus, he sets out to ask the empirical question: how and to what extent does ethnicity factor into politics and society in this city? Evidently, no ethnic configuration can be properly understood without knowledge of the past, or of the accumulated perceptions of the “other” and the histories of conflict and shared interests. The book sidesteps the much-debated issue of the relative importance attributed to the multiethnic past as a historical reality in contrast to historical myths and ethnic stereotyping. Next, Brubaker and his co-authors use Romanian and Hungarian sources as well as English and German studies to demonstrate that both contesting nations in a modern sense emerged no earlier than the late 18th century, with the 1848 revolution as a major watershed. The multilayered shift from “natio” referring to a privileged group in society to “nation” as an ethnic, horizontal community is presented convincingly and without too much theoretical ado. Along the lines of his previous studies, Brubaker highlights the reactive character of nationalism, the interaction of a nationalizing state, a minority, and a homeland (“triadic nexus”).Transylvania is a case in point for the role of ethnic entrepreneurs too, although the subtle story also suggests that the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2164-9731
Print ISSN
2166-4072
Pages
pp. 499-503
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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