Language, Nation and State: Ethno-linguistic Nationalism in Central Europe

Activity: Talk or presentation typesPublic lecture/debate/seminar


There are many definitions of Central Europe, a concept that came into being at the turn of the 20th century. But a popular (Western?) agreement is that the region has been especially in thrall of nationalism. Most classical works on this ideology draw examples from Central Europe, and, on their basis, generalize on nationalism across the globe. I argue that it is an error, because unlike elsewhere in the world, language is the common foundation of Central Europe's nationalisms. The practice of equating language with nation, and in turn, with desired nation-state seems to be limited to Central Europe. It allows for defining this region through the spatial distribution of this state-building and -destroying practice. In order to define what ethnolinguistic nationalism is, on the basis of the aforementioned practice, I propose the concept of the normative isomorphism of language, nation and state. It allows for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of the spread and sociopolitical dynamics of ethnolinguistic nationalism in Central Europe.

Research Seminar, School of Social and Health Sciences, Abertay University, Dundee
Period22 Nov 2012
Held atUNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY, United Kingdom