Interdisciplinary Methodological Approaches


Findor, Andrej

Institute of European Studies and International Relations
Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences
Comenius University
Odbojarov 10/A
820 05 Bratislava

Representing “Cultural Superiority” and Creating Ethnic Boundaries in Slovak History Textbooks in the 20th Century.

Author analyses representations of the so-called “beginnings of national history” in 83 history textbooks used in schools with Slovak language of instruction in the 20th century (1918-2009). The studying of representations of historical events since the “migration of nations” until the founding of the Hungarian kingdom allows for the analysis of such repeated uses of historical concepts, whose conventionality transcended the individual horizon of experience of elementary and secondary school pupils. Author introduces relational and action-oriented approach to the studying of nationalism, which treats the “nation” as the category of practice. He employs heuristic approach to the studying of representations, representational practices and linguistic action, which was developed in the works of Roger Chartier a Quentin Skinner. Author studies representational practices in the history textbooks in order to identify constitutive elements of “national history” narratives. He conceives individual components of “national history” as authoritative system of representation of the past and points out to their characteristic features such as declared naturalness, uniqueness, ancientness and universality. Author responds to questions about the working of “national history”: which concepts and which uses of these concepts constituted “nations”, “its” history, “the other nations” and the boundaries separating “them”. Analysis of representational practices, of conventional and context-conditioned uses of concepts enables to identify the radius of action of individual components of “national history” narratives and informs about the kinds of things authors did with their words (concepts). Analysis of conventional uses of categories of „national history” leads to the recognition of their boundary making effects and their drive towards the establishment of „cultural superiority” of Slovak ancestors over their German and especially Hungarian counterparts. Moreover, the study of the nationalisation of „cultural superiority” in history textbooks reveals not only the constitutive social and political character of such representations of the past but also the conative character of these historical speech acts.

Garaz, Stela
Political Science Department
Central European University

Exploring the Link between Horizontally Concentrated Power and Ethnic Mobilization in post Soviet Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia

In political science literature there is a dominant negative view on political regimes with concentrated power. Normatively, concentrationist regimes are associated at best with constrained democratic practices. Empirically, they are considered to encourage confrontation strategies, to cause protest and to lead to political instability, which according to consociationalists constitutes a danger particularly for ethnically-plural societies. As during transition period several multi-ethnic post-Soviet countries experienced phases with concentrated political power, determining whether power concentration by its very logic is indeed conducive to inter-ethnic tensions becomes an important task. Accordingly, the goal of my research is to determine the causal mechanisms through which horizontally concentrated power influences the level of ethnic mobilization in conditions of transition to democratic regimes and state building processes. By applying the process tracing method and structured-focused comparison design on three multi-ethnic post- Soviet countries – Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia – I seek to determine the mechanisms through which political regimes with horizontally concentrated power encourage the mobilization of ethnic minorities against the state. In my research, the horizontally concentrated power is defined by the existence of a majority executive, the dominance of the executive over the parliament and the legislative power concentration. The findings of my research reveal that there is one important implication of horizontally concentrated power which reduces the political opportunity structures for ethnic minorities to mobilize against the state and hence, to produce inter-ethnic tensions: namely, horizontally concentrated power tends to encourage the vertical power concentration as well. When this happens, political elites controlling the central power have several possible channels through which to keep under control potential ethnic minorities’ mobilization in the regions where they are concentrated. This causal channel reveals that concentrated power may have implications that discourage ethnic mobilization against the state and hence, by its very logic is not necessarily conducive to inter-ethnic clashes.

Jasinska-Kania, Aleksandra
Institute of Sociology
University of Warsaw

Exclusion from the Nation: Social Distances from National Minorities and Immigrants

Using data from the 2007 survey on “Realms of Exclusion in Poland” this paper examines Poles’ attitudes toward immigrants and ethnic minorities, particularly Roma, Jews, Vietnamese, and Ukrainians. The main thesis of the study is that in Poland, similarly as in other countries of the European Union, there is a transformation of the legitimate forms of exclusion from the nation: from exclusion of internal ethnic minorities to external foreigners (immigrants and refugees) and from collectivistic to individualistic forms of inclusion and exclusion based on universalistic criteria. The analysis shows the influence of the socio-economic situation and political views on social distance toward ethnic minorities. A tendency to exclude others from the national community is strongest among those who find themselves in the condition perceived as a cause of social exclusion; those who feel themselves excluded tend to exclude others. Support for Poland’s membership in the European Union has a significant effect on open and tolerant attitudes toward ethnic minorities and immigrants.

Jenkins, J. Craig
The Ohio State University, USA

The Ecology of Ethnic Violence
Studies of political violence have often overaggregated various types of violence and neglected the goals and objectives of the organized groups that resort to violence.  We breakdown the political violence of organized groups in terms of their ideology and their selection of civilian vs. state targets.  Drawing on an ecological framework, we find that leftist violence is more driven by structural strains and dampened by measures that reduce economic grievances.   Ethnic violence is rooted in colonial grievances and tempered by linguistic assimilation and strong transnational ethnic kin ties.   Religious violence appears to be stirred more by militarization and international conflict.   The global penetration of Western media into other parts of the world appears to have uniquely contributed to ethnic violence, creating a world stage for both terrorist attacks and guerilla attacks on the state.   Democracy and the growth of political rights may reduce political exclusion and resulting grievances but the more profound effect is the creation of a more open environment for all types of political organizing, including organized political violence against both states and citizens.  

Kołczyńska, Marta
Graduate School for Social Research, Poland

Ethno-religious changes in the Western Balkans 15th-17th century: Muslims in Kosovo

The population of today’s Kosovo consists of approx. 90% Muslims, mainly Albanians, as well as Bosniaks and some Roma, 7% members of the Serbian Orthodox Church and about 60 thousand Albanian Catholics. This situation is largely a result of mass conversions of Christians to Islam, which took place in the Western Balkans in the 15th-17th centuries after the Ottoman conquest of this hitherto Christian territory. This paper examines the roots of conversions during this time period and in this region, i.e. in the Western Balkans. The reasons for conversions were mostly of economic , political ansd social in character and not forced by violence by Ottoman rulers. As a result, at the end of the 17th century today’s Kosovo was a mostly Muslim area. The main reasons include administrative designation, which led to higher taxes on Christians, forced servitude of Christian boys, the perspective of increased social status for converts to Islam, as well as other privileges for Muslims, such as facilitations in trade. Some forced conversions did occur, but only during wars or pacification campaigns after anti-Ottoman uprisings, and, at least in the described time period, were not numerous. I conclude this paper by sketching influences of these religious structure changes to present day Kosovo.

Ege University, Turkey

Between Tension and Ties: Armenian Immigrants in Turkey

After the radical social and political transformations of 1989, out-migration increased in Armenia as it did in other post-Soviet countries. The majority of migrants preferred Russia and the rest migrated to America and European countries. Proportion of migrants who preferred migrating to Turkey is lower than others but it has increased after 2000. Armenian migrants’ main purpose in Turkey is finding a job to send remittance to Armenia. However the migrants could be categorized as temporary and permanent migrants.  They are all illegal workers and some of them are illegal migrants. Considering nationalist tensions between Armenia and Turkey and social ties between Istanbul Armenians (Turkish citizen Armenians) and immigrant Armenians, Armenian immigrants are different from any other immigrant group in Turkey. While nationalist tension consists of historical and social hostility, social ties provide common ground such as ethnicity, language, religion. This dualism allows us to analyze the phenomenon as more than a migration case. Moreover, because most of the immigrants are women, gender relations and perceptions appears as a significant factor between immigrants and Istanbul Armenians.  In this paper, I focus on only one side of the dualism: social ties between Armenian migrants and Istanbul Armenians. Analyses are made on the basis of qualitative data that gathered from a district in Istanbul where the inhabitants consist of illegal migrants from all over the world.

Kunovich, Robert M.
University of Texas – Arlington, USA

Occupational Context and Anti-Immigrant Prejudice

Scholars have examined contextual sources of ethnic and racial attitudes cross-nationally and in the US.  Although many focus on intergroup competition as a primary source of attitudes, they rely on indirect measures of labor market competition – for example, the relative size of subordinate groups in geographic regions.  This paper examines attitudes toward immigrants and immigration policy in the US.  It measures labor market competition directly by including occupation-level measures, such as the percentage of immigrants, wage inequality between native and immigrant workers, unemployment, and projected employment growth.  It also controls for other occupation-level characteristics, such as requirements, self-direction, stressors, and extrinsic rewards, and individual-level characteristics related to work, socioeconomic status, race, and politics.  Multilevel analyses demonstrate that both occupation and individual-level characteristics account for perceptions of group threats and restrictive policy attitudes.  Aggregated characteristics of individual workers (e.g., education) account for the majority of occupation-level differences in attitudes.  Labor market competition, physical skill requirements, and job stressors explain the remaining differences.  The article concludes with a model of ethnic and racial attitudes that identifies direct measures of labor market, housing market, and political competition from multiple contextual units of analysis, such as firms, occupations, and metropolitan areas. 

Muttarak, Raya

Marie Curie Fellow
Department of Political and Social Sciences
European University Institute
Via dei Rocettini 9 50014
San Domenico di Fiesole (FI),Italy
Tel: +39(0)55-4685-635

Any Benefits from Growing Up in an Interethnic Family? Comparing Maternal Health Access and Cognitive Development of Mixed Ethnic, Second Generation and British Children in the UK

Arguing that growing up in an interethnic family with one parent from a native population can improve well-being of mixed ethnic children, this paper investigates outcomes of mixed ethnic children compared to that of native and second generation children. Maternal access to ante-natal care and children’s cognitive development at age 3 are used as indicators of well-being. The empirical analysis is based on the Millennium Cohort Study 2000 – 2003 with a sample of 13,051 white British children, 1,652 second generation children and 551 mixed ethnic children. It is found that controlling for parental demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, mixed ethnic children from all ethnic groups exhibit similar outcomes to those of white British children i.e. better health care access and higher cognitive ability performance than second generation children. This result can be explained through the lens of bonding and bridging social capital. The disadvantage of second generation children disappears once parental social capital is taken into account. Our finding also confirms negative externalities associated with bonding social capital whereby ethnic mothers with in-group social ties have poorer health access and their children have lower cognitive test scores.

Rat, Cristina

Sociology Department
“Babes-Bolyai” University Cluj-Napoca

Unfavourable Inclusion: Welfare Transfers and Prejudices against the Roma in Romania

The persistence of social and economic deprivation ought to be analysed in relation to the ways in which social policies tackle, uphold or reinforce the “unfavourable inclusion” (Sen, 2000) or “disempowering inclusion” (Anthias, 2001) of the poor, fuelling ethnic tensions in situations when socio-economic and ethnic divisions overlap. This paper argues that, in the case of Romanian Roma, the inefficiency of state social protection allowed the deepening of social cleavages and ethnic prejudice.   The “soft” policy recommendations formulated by the European Commission within the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) in the domain of social policies were based on a re-definition of poverty as “the risk of poverty and social exclusion”, and they required the formulation of biannual national action plans to promote social inclusion. In the case of new member states from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), “The Roma” were singled out as a vulnerable category and Romanian policymakers presented in 2002 a national strategy for improving their situation. However, no explicit EU directives regarding the Roma as a particular ethnic minority were set forth so far.  The recurrent public discourse on the “deserving” and “undeserving” beneficiaries of social protection often draws the division along “ethnic” lines: “the Gypsies” are seen as abusers of welfare, and expectations for state action for “the truly disadvantaged” (Wilson, 1997) Roma contain an inherent dimension of exercising social control upon “the Gypsies”. Given the strong negative prejudices, the blame for the perpetuation of poverty and alleged “welfare dependency” often falls on the poor themselves, without disclosing the inadequacy of state support.  This study engages into a critical discussion of welfare legislation in contemporary Romania and its potential effects on the perpetuation of Roma poverty, accompanied by the statistical analysis of survey data on economic deprivation and welfare receipt in the North-West Region of Romania. The empirical support is provided by the ECHISERV 2007 dataset*, which comprises information on three representative samples of Romanians, Hungarians and Roma from the region. The binary logistic regression on the probability of receiving the Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) benefit indicated that the Roma were three times more likely than the non-Roma to receive MIG, after controlling for education, joblessness, income, household size and residence. However, the relative poverty reduction of all state transfers (excluding pensions) was more modest in the case of the Roma than the non-Roma. Welfare benefits barely allowed subsistence in poverty, but not the exit from precariousness.

* The ECHISERV dataset was collected within the framework of the research project CEEX 157/2006, “Disparities in the Use of Health Care Services in the North West Development Region. Socio-economic Patterns and Causes”, project director: prof. dr. Livia Popescu, “Babes-Bolyai” University Cluj. Details about the project and its results are available on the web-page of the project:

Ringdal, Kristen
(with Tanja Ellingsen, Albert Simkus and Zan Strabac)
Department of Sociology and Political Science,  Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Security Dilemmas and Ethnic Intolerance

In this paper we compare the level of ethnic intolerance of various ethnic groups within three Balkan countries as well as between group-members living in- and outside the nationality-state based on the SEESSP data.  By specifically addressing how the size of the ethnic groups as well as their location might influence the level of ‘ethnic security dilemma’ perceived by these various ethnic groups, we give a more updated and broader picture of the situation between the ethnic groups in the Balkans than previous studies. Our first hypothesis is that the level of ethnic intolerance is higher in ethnic groups in minority situations outside their nationality-state where they could feel threatened than within their nationality-state. Our second hypothesis implies that the level of ethnic intolerance is higher among individuals belonging to ethnic minorities than belonging to the ethnic majority. To test the first hypothesis we compare the level of ethnic intolerance for three ethnic groups in various settings: Albanians in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia; Croats in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina; Serbs in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The results largely support our hypotheses. To test the second hypothesis we compare the ethnic intolerance of the major minority groups in BiH, Kosovo and Macedonia with the majority ethnic groups.

Smith Keller, Carolyn
The Ohio State University, USA

Immigrant Threat: Elite Perceptions in Europe

There has been much theoretical debate centering on threat and fear. Recent literature suggests “group threat theory that posits that prejudice and inter-group hostility are largely reactions to perceived threats by subordinate groups” (King and Wheelock 2007:1255).  Thus, when the INTUNE survey poses questions relating to threat of immigrants from outside of Europe, it is expected that responses vary depending on both the individual-level variables as well as contextual factors.  Elite attitudes are perhaps of a particular interest in this case as elites are more likely to have a greater impact on immigrant policy in comparison to those in the general public. Since the questionnaire item in INTUNE uses the phrase “immigrants from non-EU countries,” it could be interpreted in terms of ethnic categories.  In particular, for Germans, this means Turks while for French, this means North Africans.  The classic literature (Blake and Mouton 1961; Deutsch 1973) suggests that individuals “have goals, compete over resources, feel threatened and pursue conflict” (Gordon and Arian 2001:205).  Thus it is expected that individual level variables including gender, age, education, and whether one is a political or economic elite will all affect one’s level of support for immigrant of individuals from outside of Europe.   It is also expected that there will also be between-country variation.  Extant literature suggests that important group level dynamics also shape threat and threat perception is influenced by the “relative size of the subordinate group and economic circumstances” (Quillian 1995:589).  There is a great deal of variation among European countries regarding subordinate group size, economic circumstances as well as geographic proximity to possible conflict areas. Therefore, by using country level variables, I can measure variation between countries. Specifically I look at the effects of HDI as well as if a country is in Eastern Europe or Western Europe.  Using a multilevel analysis, I find that at least 8% of the variation among individuals is due to country level factors.  While education and type of elite status do not seem to predict whether or not non-European immigration is views as a threat, gender does.  Men are 59% more likely to view non-European immigration as a threat in comparison for women. In addition, I also analyze the specific case of Poland.  Poland is an interesting case because of the extensive nature of in and out-migration the country has experience in recent years.  The gender gap holds in Poland and in addition I find that economic elites are much less likely to view immigration as a threat in comparison to political elites.  This suggests that in Poland, immigrants are seen as an ethnic threat or threat to nationalism as opposed to an economic threat.

Woroniecka, Dorota

Institute of Sociology
University of Warsaw

Constructing Identity through Sport during the Time of Ethnic Tensions: Catholics and the Gaelic Athletic Association in Northern Ireland

Only two years after signing Belfast Agreement in 1998, ending thirty years of ethno-sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland, the number of politically motivated bomb attacks and shootings had risen again. Although two thirds of the population supported the settlement, its practical implementation proved to be difficult. The case of Northern Ireland can be seen as a good example of a post-conflict society, where political solutions, aiming at ceasing the violence and bridging existing societal divisions are somewhat incompatible with the realities on the ground. Therefore, it is crucial to examine complexity of social and symbolic boundaries existing between the conflicted communities, in order to understand the phenomenon of a post-conflict society. This paper analyzes how these boundaries are being constructed and displayed through sport. Presented data was gathered during two months fieldwork in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is an amateur sporting organization devoted to reviving and nurturing traditional Gaelic pastimes, Gaelic games above all. Since its inception in 1884, the GAA strongly opposed British domination and Anglicization of the Irish society. As a nationalist and predominantly Catholic organization functioning on all-Ireland base, the GAA found itself in a hard situation operating in two different political contexts after division of Irish Island in 1922. To this day the status experienced by the Organization in Northern Ireland is problematic: considerable part of the government is suspicious of the organization and monitors its activities, while the Protestant part of the society perceives it as nationalistic and identifies it with hostile, republican tradition. Using the concept of “Cultural Security Dilemma,” this paper examines rules, norms and rituals through which GAA members isolate themselves from what is perceived as British, culturally inferior and threatening the very existence of the Irish identity in a postconflict society.

Zyto, Kamila
University of Lodz

Images of Jews in the Polish Postwar Cinema. Between Stereotype and Representation

In my presentation I consider the images of Jews in the films of a number of the most prominent Polish post-war directors, such as Andrzej Wajda, Wojciech Jerzy Has, Jerzy Kwalerowicz and Janusz Majewski. The discussed directors frequently made use of a popular stereotype, which dominated social consciousness in the interwar period, in a creative way and they reshape it significantly. Moreover, employing the national stereotype is rather an artistic than polemic strategy, fulfilling different aims in each case. I also emphasize that one of the most important functions of the discussed post war films was to reinterpret their literary prototypes, such as novels by Władysław Reymont, Stanisław Wyspiański, Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz or Bruno Schultz. Evidently, these readings of the inter-war Polish literature are highly influenced by the traumatic experience of the Shoah, and the evoked images of Jews express the dramatic change that occurred in the way the Poles view the annihilated community of Polish Jews after the Second World War.

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