Maďarská menšina na Slovensku. Pokus o aplikaci vybraných teorií nacionalismu

Pavel Dufek


The article below is intended as an examination of three recent theories of nationalism. The works of Jack Snyder, Rogers Brubaker and Pavel Barsa all go against the long dominating current of research in this area (and consequently against widespread popular beliefs), personified above all by Samuel Huntington and his book on the “clash of civilisations”. Such “traditional” theories treat the existence of nationalism as a foremostly historical legacy: Bitter memories of the past (unjustice, occupation etc.) together with a distinct character of various societies (or nations) are supposed to have constituted latent patterns of nationalistic animosities (the authors call them “ancient hatreds”). This “sleeping” form of nationalism is then considered to be the main cause of nationalistic outbursts, which may even end up in brutal ethnic cleansing (such was the case of former Yugoslavia or the Tutsi-Hutu massacre in Rwanda). The proposed theories, which we might call “constructivist”, deny that nationalism is a substantive phenomenon, stemming remedilessly from the very essence of the nation. According to Snyder, elite persuasion and manipulation applied during the process of democratization (i.e. as masses are given the oportunity to participate in power) are the key causes of nationalistic moods. There is a number of conditions that might limit the elite’s “pulling of the strings" or that the elites have to calculate upon (such as the level of economic development, the character of the “marketplace of ideas” etc.), however the rationalist employment of the nationalistic ideas is a necessary condition of the “successful” emergence of nationalism. Brubaker even suggests we should abandon using the term “nation” (and much more carefully use “nationalism”) and favours other, less confusing terms such as “nationhood” or “nationess”. The central process in the emergence of nationalism, according to Brubaker, is the complex interrelated triadic interaction among the ethnic minority, the state it is encapsulated within and finally the minority’s “external homeland”. The major role in this process is again played by the political elites.
The case of Slovakia, one of the countries undergoing democratic transition, provides a good testing example because a strong Hungarian minority lives in the southern parts of the state. Governments led by V. Mečiar and affiliated state-owned media have intensively employed nationalistic rhetoric during the 90’s and the nationalist/ethnic line has become the dominating cleavage within the society. The article suggests that as for the case of Slovakia, the discussed “constructivist” theories of nationalism are basically right, although several facts do not completely fit into the picture.

Bibliografická citace

Dufek, P. (2002). Maďarská menšina na Slovensku. Pokus o aplikaci vybraných teorií nacionalismu. Středoevropské politické studie, 4(2–3). Získáno z

Klíčová slova

Slovakia; Nationalism; Hungarian Minority; Theories of Nationalism; Constructivism

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