The (Not So) Surprising Longevity of Identity Politics
Contemporary Challenges of the State-Society Compact in Central Eastern Europe
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This book assesses the underpinning role ‘references to identity’ played and continue to play as the powerful mobilising force in domestic politics across the East European region stretching from Estonia to Bulgaria.
The EU membership of postcommunist states was to ensure stability, prevent conflict and eventually guarantee equality of all citizens regardless of their political preferences or ethnic identities. However, the promotion of such norms and values has been secondary to consolidation of state institutions and societies they serve around ethnocentric narratives of states’ core ethnic groups. The sequel of financial, then ‘refugee’ crises has further dented the appeal of EU’s norms across the region. Even the rhetoric commitment to respect cultural diversity and human rights has been promptly replaced with references to identity and interests of politically relevant groups. Yet, nativist and populist rhetoric has been the staple of politics since before the EU accession.
The chapters in this edited volume zoom in on politics which forge and live-off their societies’ preoccupation with ethnocentric narratives, vesting national identity with persistent relevance and considerable weight across the postcommunist region.
The chapters in this book were originally published in the journal, East European Politics.
Table of Contents
The (not so) surprising longevity of identity politics: contemporary challenges of the state-society compact in Central Eastern Europe
1. Authoritarian footprints in Central and Eastern Europe
Daniel Bochsler and Andreas Juon
2. Weak pluralism and shallow democracy: the rise of identity politics in Bulgaria and Romania
3. Caesarean politics in Hungary and Poland
Robert Sata and Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski
4. In Europe’s Closet: the rights of sexual minorities in the Czech Republic and Slovakia
Petra Guasti and Lenka Bustikova
5. Nation before democracy? Placing the rise of the Slovak extreme right into context
6. Latgale and Latvia’s post-Soviet democracy: the territorial dimension of regime consolidation
7. Consolidated technocratic and ethnic hollowness, but no backsliding: reassessing Europeanisation in Estonia and Latvia
Timofey Agarin is Reader in Comparative Politics and Ethnic Conflict, Queen’s University Belfast, where he is also the Director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnic Conflict. His research interests are ethnic politics and their impact on societal transition, including party political representation, majority-minority relations, non-discrimination in ethnically diverse societies.