Language and Ethnicity in Central and Eastern Europe: Some Theoretical Aspects

Other literature type English OPEN
Schöpflin, George (1997)
  • Publisher: Faculty of Political Science
  • Journal: Politička misao : časopis za politologiju, volume 33, issue 5 (issn: 0032-3241, eissn: 1846-8721)

The author defines ethnicity as a community which enables a reproduction of culture. i.e. a system of moral regulation within communities. Cultural identity of a community is a means by which it affirms its moral value vis-à-vis others. The elements of culture (language, religion, customs, historical legacy) serve to an ethnic community for defining borders towards other communities. Nationalism (particularly in Central and Eastern Europe) makes use of the mobilization of ethnic identities. A prominent role in that process is played by intellectuals, who have monopoly over cultural production, particularly over the imposition and preservation of the language standard. On the background of this theoretical and historical analysis, the author highlights the causes of intensive ethno-nationalist conflicts in Central and Eastern Europe.
  • References (4)

    3Donald Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985).

    4On boundaries and markers, see Fredrik Barth (editor), Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: the Social Organisation of Culture Difference (Bergen/Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1969).

    7Zygmunt Bauman, “Intellectuals in East-Central Europe: Continuity and Change” East European Politics and Societies, Vol. 1, No.2 (Spring 1987), pp. 162- 186.

    8Miroslav Hroch, Social Preconditions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985).

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