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Liquid Nationalism and State Partitions in Europe

Stefano Bianchini, Professor, Department of Political and Social Sciences, University of Bologna, Co-director, European Regional Master’s in Democracy and Human Rights for SEE (ERMA), University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and University of Bologna, Italy, Coordinator, Europe and the Balkans International Network (EBIN), and Visiting Professor, St. Petersburg State University, Russia
This timely book offers an in-depth exploration of state partitions and the history of nationalism in Europe from the Enlightenment onwards. Stefano Bianchini compares traditional national democratic development to the growing transnational demands of representation with a focus on transnational mobility and empathy versus national localism against the EU project. In an era of multilevel identity, global economic and asylum seeker crises, nationalism is becoming more liquid which in turn strengthens the attractiveness of ‘ethnic purity’ and partitions, affects state stability, and the nature of national democracy in Europe. The result may be exposure to the risk of new wars, rather than enhanced guarantees of peace.
Extent: 360 pp
Hardback Price: $150.00 Web: $135.00
Publication Date: 2017
ISBN: 978 1 78643 660 3
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This timely book offers an in-depth exploration of state partitions and the history of nationalism in Europe from the Enlightenment onwards. Stefano Bianchini compares traditional national democratic development to the growing transnational demands of representation with a focus on transnational mobility and empathy versus national localism against the EU project. In an era of multilevel identity, global economic and asylum seeker crises, nationalism is becoming more liquid which in turn strengthens the attractiveness of ‘ethnic purity’ and partitions, affects state stability, and the nature of national democracy in Europe. The result may be exposure to the risk of new wars, rather than enhanced guarantees of peace.

Included is a rare and insightful comparative assessment of the lessons not learned from the Yugoslav demise, the Czechoslovak partition, the Baltic trajectory from USSR incorporation to EU integration, and the impact of ethnicity in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Beyond their peculiarities, these examples are used to critically assess the growing liquidity of national identities and their relationship with democracy. Those seeking a deeper understanding of the European partition experience will find this an immensely valuable resource.

‘Stefano Bianchini‘s book is a successful effort at building a broad and sturdy bridge between Central European spaces and memories whose grand narratives had long existed, separated from each other like non-connecting vessels. The shadows of the Habsburg, Romanov, and Ottoman empires still hinder an understanding of similarities between the Balkans and the Baltics and prevent us from seeing the bloody conflicts in Bosnia and Ukraine within one comparative perspective. The author puts to work the long historical and political experience of the spring of nations; tells a history enriched by the methods of political science; and helps the reader to gain a better understanding of the behavior of nations on both sides of the European Union's Southeastern boundary. This book gives back to a Central Europe long divided by borders and iron curtains its commonality, which doubtless was deeply felt by the 19th century collective heroes Bianchini describes. If academic wisdom can still help dispel the European fog, then this book comes at just the right time and place.’
– Egidijus Aleksandravi?ius, Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania

‘The book by Stefano Bianchini is an excellent study of how the ideas of nationalism developed, empires disintegrated and new states appeared, how the contradiction between the globalized strata and those who prefer to live in a closed society formed, and what it can lead to. I strongly recommend this research not only to scholars and students, but to all those who think on the future of Europe.’
– Konstantin Khudoley, Saint Petersburg State University, Russia

‘A majestic account of the travails of democracy’s widening scope in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century.'
– Jean Blondel, European University Institute, Italy
Contents: Introduction: Geopolitical Liquidities and Nationalist Trajectories. Fluid Boundaries and State Reshaping in Nineteenth Century Europe Part I An Atlas of Nation-State Metamorphosis across the twentieth Century 1. The Rise of an Unstable Century 2. World War I as Change Accelerator 3. 1917 and the Russian Revolutions. Multiple Players and Conflicting Aspirations to Independence in a Collapsing Empire 4. The Implications of the Political Debate between Lenin and Wilson: Geopolitics and Self-Determination 5. Irredentism, Hitler, and the “New European Order” 6. The Second Post-War Period: New Borders, Ethnic Cleansing, and the “Double Dimension” of the National Question 7. Post-Cold War Conflicting Principles: Post-Socialist Sovereignty, Ethnic States, and Territorial Integrity Part II State Dismemberments and Their Implications for Europe. How Partitions Affect the Nature of Democracy 8. Europe in Chaos: Breaking Down or Re-building the Walls? 9. Multilevel Partitions, Globalization, and the Metamorphosis of the Nation-State 10. The Lessons not Learned from the Yugoslav Dismemberment 11. The Peculiarities of the Czechoslovak Partition 12. Living in the Past or Tackling the Future: the Baltic Experience from the Partition of the USSR to EU integration 13. Between Partitions and State Failure: the Ethnic Key of Polity in the Experience of Bosnia-Herzegovina 14. The Crisis of the European Project: a New Political Destiny for Partitions? 15. How Partitions Affect the Nature of Democracy in Europe Today Concluding Remarks Index