Really Existing Nationalisms

Erica Benner · ISBN 9780191521058
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Publisher Oxford University Press UK
Author(s) Erica Benner
Subtitle A Post-Communist View from Marx and Engels
Published 28th December 1995
Related course codes

A Post-Communist View from Marx and Engels

This is an impressive re-examination of the theories of Marx and Engels on nationalism. The author challenges the conventional view that Marx and Engels lacked the theoretical resources needed to understand nationalism. It argues that the two men had a much better explanatory grasp of national phenomena than is usually supposed, and that the reasoning behind their policy towards specific national movements was often subtle and sensitive to the ethical issues at
stake. Instead of offering an insular `Marxian' account of nationalism, the book identifies arguments in Marx and Engels' writings that can help us to think more clearly about national
identity and conflict today. These arguments are located in a distinctive theory of politics, which enabled the authors to analyse the relations between nationalism and other social movements and to discriminate between democratic, outward-looking national programmes and authoritarian, ethnocentric nationalism. The book suggest that this approach improves on accounts which stress the `independent' force of nationality over other concerns, and on thos that fail to analyse the complex motives
of nationalist actors. It concludes by criticizing these `methodological nationalist' assumptions and `post-nationalist' views about the future role of nationalism, showing how some of marx and Engles'
arguments can yield a better understanding of the national movements that have emerged in the wake of `really existing socialism'.
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