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The role of nationalism in the democratisation process: Slovakia and Slovenia 1989-1998

Harris, Erika (2000) The role of nationalism in the democratisation process: Slovakia and Slovenia 1989-1998. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.


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This thesis constitutes an inquiry into the relationship between nationalism and democracy in a particular setting - the postcommunist newly independent democracies. The purpose is to seek an answer to two related questions about what is the role of nationalism in the democratisation process and under which conditions is nationalism more or less compatible with democracy. Nationalism’s capacity to threaten minorities, fragment states and complicate interstate relations has been amply demonstrated and documented. This study takes a different approach to nationalism. Its starting point is the democratisation process as a factor contributing to the importance of nationalism in the political life. It revolves around a theoretical and empirical exploration of the relationship between nationalism and democracy. The empirical side is underpinned by the investigation into politics of Slovakia and Slovenia as two newly independent postcommunist states that emerged as a result of democratisation. The comparative aspect of the thesis leads to the conclusion that the role of nationalism in the democratisation process cannot be generalised and constitutes a complex process in itself, conditioned by the political context of the society undergoing the transition. The following factors are explored: the stage of national development, the conditions and circumstances surrounding the achievement of independent statehood, the previous regime and the period prior to that, the formation of transitional elites and the stage in the transition, the ethnic composition and the historically predetermined ethnic harmony within the state. This thesis presents a number of new arguments. Firstly, it proposes that nationalism in new postcommunist democracies contains civic and ethnic demands at the same time which consequently gives postcommunist nationalism a different character from classical nationalism. Secondly, the thesis seeks the correlation between the progress of the transition and nationalism in the priority given to either nation-building or state-building. Thirdly, it proposes that whilst nationalism might have a positive role at the beginning of the democratisation process, its capacity to sustain that process is limited.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Politics & International Studies (POLIS) (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.561049
Depositing User: Digitisation Studio Leeds
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2012 13:48
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 11:24
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3208

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