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Wars that Make States and Wars that Make Nations: Organised Violence, Nationalism and State Formation in the Balkans

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 May 2012

Siniša Malešević*
Affiliation:
School of Sociology University College, Dublin [sinisa.malesevic@ucd.ie].
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Abstract

Since the beginning of the 19th century the Balkans has been a synonym for aggressive nationalism and unbridled violence; the two phenomena traditionally understood to be the key obstacles for its social development. This paper contests such views by arguing that it was the absence of protracted warfare and coherent nationalist doctrines that distinguishes the history of South Eastern Europe from the rest of the continent. Drawing critically on bellicose historical sociology and modernist theories of nationalism - with a spotlight on the work of Charles Tilly and Ernest Gellner. Drawing critically on bellicose historical sociology and modernists theories of nationalism the paper makes a case that it was not the abundance of nationalism and organised violence but rather their historical scarcity that proved decisive for the slow pace of social development in the Balkans.

Résumé

Depuis le début du XIXe siècle, dire “Balkans” renvoie à nationalisme agressif et violence debridée, deux phénomènes traditionnellement tenus pour obstacles majeurs au développement social. Tout à l’opposé, l’argument présenté ici veut que l’absence de conflit armé prolongé et de doctrines nationalistes charpentées marquent la particularité de l’histoire de l’Europe du Sud. L’article offre un examen critique de la sociologie historique des guerres et des théories modernes du nationalisme telles que développées notamment par Charles Tilly et Ernst Gellner. Critique envers la sociologie historique de la guerre et les théories modernes du nationalisme, la leçon s’impose : ce n’est pas l’exacerbation du nationalisme et de la violence organisée mais bien plutôt leur déficience historique qui se révèle décisive pour rendre compte de la lenteur du développement des sociétés balkaniques.

Zusammenfassung

Seit Beginn des 19. Jahrhunderts steht der Balkan Pate für einen agressiven Nationalismus und zügellose Gewalt, zwei Phänomene, die traditionnell zu den Haupthinderungsgründen für eine soziale Entwicklung gezählt werden. Der vorliegende Beitrag widerspricht dieser Auffassung, mit Hinweis auf die Abwesenheit eines langen bewaffneten Konflikts und koherenter nationaler Doktrinen, ein Spezifikum der Geschichte Süd-Ost-Europas. Die kritische Hinterfragung der historischen Kriegssoziologie und der modernen Nationalismustheorien erfolgt unter Einbeziehung der Arbeiten von Charles Tilly und Ernst Gellner. Der Artikel nimmt kritisch Bezug auf Ansätze der historischen Kriegssoziologie sowie auf modernistische Nationalismustheorien um zu zeigen, dass nicht ein Übermaß an Nationalismus und organisierter Gewalt sondern deren historischer Mangel entscheidend war für das verzögerte Tempo der gesellschaftlichen Entwicklung in den Balkanstaaten.

Type
Research Articles
Copyright
Copyright © A.E.S. 2012

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References

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