Citizenship and Ethnic Conflict: Challenging the Nation-State
March 2, 2006

Haldun Gülalp, Professor of Political Sociology and a former Woodrow Wilson Fellow, presented the highlights of a new book for which he served as editor and contributor. The volume is Citizenship and Ethnic Conflict: Challenging the Nation-State (London and New York: Routledge, 2006).

Gülalp reminded his audience of the events of the 1990s, when ethnic conflicts related to the breakup of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union made scholars and analysts rethink issues of modernization as we saw the revival of more fundamentalist forms of religion at the same time as the European Union was breaking down state sovereignty and creating shared sovereignty through economic and political institutions for its members. He showed how conflicting trends in Turkey also illustrated these new patterns.

The rise of identity movements whether of religion or ethnicity has normally been seen as a return to tradition. The book shows how six nation-states dealt with these identity movements through a range of steps including multiculturalism and assimilation. The case studies include Germany, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, and Iraq. The central theme of the book is the way in which a separation of nationality and citizenship could be used to manage the challenges which ethnic diversity poses for the modern nation-state.

In a well-crafted comment, Wilson Fellow John Coakley pointed out that four of the six case study states were Ottoman Empire successor states while the other two had been significantly affected by Ottoman influence. Coakley found the book to be a very useful and logical exploration of new approaches to dealing with ethnic tensions in multicultural nation-states.