Antal Örkény - Sociology Approaches: Empirical Research on Problems of Nationalism and Minorities 2013/2014 Spring

This course will examine the ways
in which the modern European identities and regional cultures are formed and
inter-communicated in the Eastern part of the European continent. The course
work is based on a fresh survey data, a cross cultural comparative project
carried out between 2009 and 2011 titled “Interplay of European, National and
Regional Identities: nations between states along the new eastern borders of
the European Union” (ENRI EAST) and financed by an EU grant.

While the definition of ‘nation’ is
certainly problematic, this project use the term to refer to group identities
that imply a strong claim for a sovereign state. Our empirical research focuses
on the nations and states on both sides of the new Eastern border of the EU
(“divided nations”). This includes the following states: Poland, Hungary,
Russia, Ukraine, Belorussia,
Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia,
Slovakia, and Germany,
as well as their corresponding national groups living on either side of the
borders (i.e. in their ‘mother country’ or in one or more of the neighboring
countries). The issues of identity formation and the interplay of different
identities are more salient in the complex conditions of broad social
restructuring in Eastern Europe and thus offer far ranging opportunities to
explore different mechanisms of identity formation that may not be so obvious,
yet are of equal importance, in the context of other parts of Europe.
Divided nations are the product of moving borders or moving people. By this
criteria one can distinguish, for the purpose of our research „classic
minorities”, “recent migrants”, and “historical migrants”

The project includes a detailed
statistical survey of these groups and the selection of a number of them for an
in-depth description and analysis. The study aims to compare and analyze such
important features of the historic and social memory and the consciousness of
these ethnic groups, as patterns of self-identification and feelings of
belonging, shared values, common social, cultural and political habits and

Based on different empirical
sociological survey data and the available results we will approach different
cases of identity formations, inter­ethnic relations and ethnic conflicts, the
majority­minority relation, and ethnic based discrimination examining its roots
and sociological consequences