National Identities in the Emerging European State

David D. Laitin

in Minority Nationalism and the Changing International Order

Published in print June 2001 | ISBN: 9780199242146
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599651 | DOI:
 National Identities in the Emerging European State

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The process of globalization, by breaking down nation‐state boundaries, is paradoxically facilitating the emergence of stateless national identities. This chapter argues that in the context of the EU, a process of state‐building is taking place on the cultural plane, specifically that of language, which resembles the experience of India after 1947, when regional linguistic differences came to be subsumed under a larger English‐speaking national culture. In the EU context, this suggests three likely developments. First, that the future European citizen will have multiple languages and multiple cultural identities. This linguistic diversity will be a sign not of state failure but rather of Europe's emergence as a twentieth‐century state. Second, that with the European proto‐state involved in the politics of autonomy, relations between state and region will be less zero‐sum and more fluid, with a greater capacity to reduce irredentism. Third, that the EU's new institutional configuration will permit a form of layered citizenship, which will prevent national authorities (as e.g. in the break‐up of Yugoslavia) from denying civic rights to non‐nationals.

Keywords: European Union; globalization; language; nationalism

Chapter.  12919 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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