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State, Ethnocultural Identities, and Intergroup Relations Anatoly M. Khazanov University of Wisconsin, Department of Anthropology conomic, technological, and cultural reorganization of the contempo- rary world demands reconsideration of such widespread concepts as ~ the nation-state or civic and ethnic nationalism that are directly con- nected with identity formation and maintenance, and not infrequently with ethnic tension and conflict. Apparently, it is worthwhile to divorce conceptually ethnocultural identities: citizenship, which regulates the re- lations between the individual and the state without any connotation of collective uniqueness; and civic nationhood, which implies more than common interests and simple membership in a political community, but is connected with the acceptance and interiorization of common historical memories, values, norms, public rituals, and symbols that exceed the for- mal pledge of allegiance (Miller, 1995; Brown, 2000~. State, society, and culture are not only a synchronic slice of time; they are also historical processes. It may be worth exploring the extent to which attempts at civic nation building in Russia and other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries (this is a project that, among others, is strongly advocated by Tishkov, 1997) are feasible under current circumstances. As numerous examples from the past and present have proven, a civic nation by itself does not eliminate ethnic and other inequalities, including discrimina- tion. Therefore, its appeal to minorities may be limited. One may wonder whether, in Russia's context, it is more expedient at the moment to con- centrate efforts on achieving not only legal but real equality, which may open the way to a kind of constitutional patriotism advocated by Jurgen Habermas (1995~. 63
64 CONFLICT AND RECONSTRUCTION IN MULTIETHNIC SOCIETIES This brings one to the concept of the nation-state, which because of its prevalence in contemporary discourse is largely responsible for the con- fusion of citizenship with civic nationalism (see, for example, Brubaker, 1992~. Actually, the dichotomy of ethnic versus civic nationalism is based on the illusion of the nation-state's universality. Historically, national- isms have envisioned a world consisting of states that are uniform within but sharply distinct from what lay beyond their borders. Today, however, the world as a whole in some respects is becoming less diverse, while individual states are becoming more ethnically heterogeneous than has been perceived or designed. There is a certain terminological and even conceptual confusion in the social sciences. Many alleged nation-states are simultaneously character- ized as multiethnic states, states with plural or multicultural societies, and so on. In fact, many contemporary states, including Russia, are mul- tinational rather than multiethnic. At present, nationalizing and assimilating projects often are less suc- cessful than in the past, even in cases where linguistic assimilation or accommodation has made progress. It is not enough to construct identi- ties. To be successful, these identities must be accepted. However, where ethnic groups, especially somewhat territorialized ones, develop into na- tionalities or nations with literary languages, cultural institutions, mass media, occupationally differentiated social structures, specific economic interests, and political elites and counter-elites, there is less room for uni- fying integration and more grounds for ethnic/national competition. Multiethnic and especially multinational societies with pluralistic identities and narratives increase the necessity for and simultaneously the danger of an activist state. The striving of a state for homogenization is rife with the potential for conflict (Connor, 1972), especially when a state is identified with an ethnonational majority (Khazanov, 1995~. In this respect, it is worth considering such areas as language policy, education, religion policy, regional development policy, demographic and migration policies, political representation, and some others. In the study of ethnic tension it is important to pay attention to differ- ences between self-estimation of ethnic groups and their perception by others. Thus, many Russians in the Soviet Union considered their attitude towards other peoples in the country as internationalist, friendly, and assisting; while members of the non-Russian groups not infrequently per- ceived it as patronizing, insensitive, and humiliating. A timely diagnosis of the differences in perception may help to ameliorate ethnic relations if corresponding measures are undertaken. Likewise, it is worth exploring further the extent to which not only the policies of republican authorities but those of the center as well actu-
STATE, ETHNOCULTURAL IDENTITIES, AND INTERGROUP RELATIONS 65 ally are or are perceived as ethnically neutral policy. One can even go a step further. Many contemporary liberal theorists seek to countervail structural and other disadvantages of ethnic and national minorities by institutionalized affirmative action and differentiated political rights (see, for example, Kymlicka, 1989, 1995; Young, 1990; Kis, 1996~. One may wonder to what extent their recommendations are applicable to Russia and other CIS countries' conditions as a method for the alleviation of ethnic inequality and reducing ethnic tension. At present, the hypotheses that explain particularistic identities of peripheral communities with distinct cultural characteristics as caused mainly by their underdevelopment (Hechter, 1975; Nairn, 1977; Blaut, 1987) have lost a great deal of their credibility. The claims that successful modernization should diminish the salience of ethnic identities and re- duce ethnonational strife (Deutch, 1966; Haas, 1966; Lipset and Rokkan, 1967) remain unsubstantiated and even self-contradictory, since modern- ization is always uneven and differential. The same can be said about globalization as its new stage. So far, supranational and suprastate identi- ties do not diminish the role of ethnocultural and national ones. One may doubt that a certain cultural homogenization should result in corresponding ethnic homogenization since there is no direct correla- tion between the strength of ethnic identities and the degree of cultural distinctiveness. Not real and significant cultural differences per se, but symbolic boundaries and markers make ethnic collectivities different (Barth, 1969~. Any cultural trait, however insignificant it may seem, can serve as an ethnic marker. Apparently, in the politics of identity, ethnicity remains the most controversial aspect. Ethnic identities are alternatively characterized as irrational, epiphenomical, and based on "false consciousness" (Hobs- bawm, 1990; Ignatieff, 1994; Banks, 1996), as contextual and constructed (Eriksen, 1993), or as paramount and a primary source of all other identi- ties (van den Berghe, 1981; Schopflin, 2000~. Notwithstanding all of these differences in understanding, in the former Soviet Union, ethnicity is of- ten simply taken for granted as a constant and invariable factor in inter- group relations. However, ethnic identities, just like any other, are not static but dynamic phenomena; moreover, at any given moment they consist of different varieties, including gender and generational ones. One may dare to predict that in the foreseeable future, ethnocultural identities in the post-Soviet political space will remain strong, but these by them- selves do not generate conflict and violence. Therefore, it is worthwhile to shift attention from theorizing ethnicity and identity formation to ethni- cally motivated behavior and actions, which, among other things, should facilitate the explanation of ethnic strife and forecasting imminent ethnic conflicts.
66 CONFLICT AND RECONSTRUCTION IN MULTIETHNIC SOCIETIES In this case, ethnic situations may be considered the dynamic out- come of at least four interconnected developments. 1. ethnic politics of the state 2. interactive relations between different ethnic groups within the state 3. ethnic assertiveness and politicization 4. the impact of external forces, such as global economic transforma- tions and the telecommunications revolution, which increases the capac- ity for mass mobilization So far, most attention has been paid to the first two of these develop- ments. The continuing salience of ethnicity and nationalism in the former Soviet Union is explained mainly by competition between the central and ethnorepublican elites or as a manipulative ideology employed by politi- cal elites to secure their power base or both. However, members of ethnic groups and nations do not simply live in the here and now. They encoun- ter the present in terms of the past and the future, and compare it with the situations of other regions and countries. While the term ethnocracies has become popular in Russian scholar- ship, it remains underinvestigated to what extent and why the ethnic elites are enjoying the support of their coethnics. The elite-manipulation explanation of ethnic conflicts has many deficiencies. First, it is essentially undemocratic, since it assumes that the masses are incapable of making rational decisions about their own lives. Second, it fails to explain why ethnonational forms of identity have become so successful, while others fail to attract sufficient support (Moore, 2001: 12~. One may wonder whether, in the post-Soviet context, ethnic solidarity is mainly based on historical memory (real or constructed and manipulated) and common experiences (or experiences that can be presented as common), which flowed into overall legitimation myths, or if it is a more rational response to the interplay of sociopolitical, cultural, and economic factors. It is also worth exploring the extent to which ethnopolitics provide real or per- ceived benefits, for example, social advancement, new economic opportu- nities, or cultural reproduction, to the members of corresponding groups. As for globally produced ideas, they contribute to contemporary con- cerns with identity issues. An immediate transmittal of local and national events throughout the world by mass media has become an important factor in identity assertion and is calling for the attention of scholars. It is important to study the effects of global flows of information upon na- tional affairs at the local policy level. In the new conditions of the telecom- munications revolution, the state is capable to a much lesser degree of
STATE, ETHNOCULTURAL IDENTITIES, AND INTERGROUP RELATIONS 67 controlling the dissemination of undesirable historical narratives and eth- nocentric concepts. The creation of the "single information field" that some CIS politicians are striving for is not only undesirable but also hardly feasible, if even a modicum of the freedom of information and speech is maintained. Therefore, future research on ethnonational identities and national- ism should be based on the study of the interplay between three major forces: 1. actors and events 2. ideologies, concepts, and ideas 3. structures, agencies, institutions, and social conditions. REFERENCES Banks, M. 1996. Ethnicity: Anthropological Constructions. London and New York: Routledge. Barth, F. ed. 1969. Ethnic Groups and Boundaries. London: Allen and Unwin. Blaut, J. 1987. The National Question. London: Zed. Brown, D. 2000. Contemporary Nationalism. Civic, Ethnocultural and Multicultural Poli- tics. London and New York: Routledge. Brubaker, R. 1992. Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Connor, W. 1972. Nation-Building or Nation-Destroying? World Politics 24~3~: 319-355. Deutsch, K. 1966. Nationalism and Social Communication: An Inquiry into the Foundation of Nationality. 2nd Edition. Cambridge: MIT Press. Enloe, C. 2000. Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women's Lives. Berke- ley: University of California Press. Eriksen, T. H. 1993. Ethnicity and Nationalism. Anthropological Perspectives. London: Pluto Press. Haas, H. 1966. Christianity in the Asian revolution. London: Sheed & Ward. Habermas, J. 1995. Citizenship and National Identity. Pp. 255-282 in: Theorizing Citizen- ship, R. Beiner ed. Albany: SUNY Press. Hechter, M. 1975. Internal Colonialism: The Celtic Fringe in British National Development, 1536-1966. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Hobsbawm, E. J. 1990. Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ignatieff, M. 1994. Blood and Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism. London: Verso. Khazanov, A. M. 1995. After the USSR: Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Politics in the Common- wealth of Independent States. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Kis, J. 1996. Beyond the Nation-State. Social Research 63~1~: 191-245. Kymlicka, W. 1989. Liberalism, Community, and Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Kymlicka, W. ed. 1995. The Rights of Minority Cultures. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lipset, S. M., and S. Rokkan 1967. Cleavage Structures, Party Systems, and Voter Align- ments: An Introduction. Pp. 1-64 in Party Systems and Voter Alignments, S. M. Lipset and S. Rokkan, eds. New York: Free Press. Miller, D. 1995. Nationality. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Moore, M. 2001. The Ethics of Nationalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
68 CONFLICT AND RECONSTRUCTION IN MULTIETHNIC SOCIETIES Nairn, T. 1977. The Breakup of Britain: Crisis and Neo-Nationalism. London: New Left Books. Schopflin, G. 2000. Nations, Identity, Power. The New Politica of Europe. London: Hurst and Company. Tishkov, V. A. 1997. Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Conflict in and After the Soviet Union: The Mind Aflame. London: Sage Publications. van den Berghe, P. 1981. The Ethnic Phenomenon. New York: Elsevier. Young, I. M. 1990. Justice and the Politics of Difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press.