Regimes of Ethnicity and Nationhood in Germany, Russia, and Turkey

Regimes of Ethnicity and Nationhood in Germany, Russia, and Turkey

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Akturk discusses how the definition of being German, Soviet, Russian and Turkish radically changed at the turn of the twenty-first century. Germany's ethnic citizenship law, the Soviet Union's inscription of ethnic origins in personal identification documents and Turkey's prohibition on the public use of minority languages, all implemented during the early twentieth century, underpinned the definition of nationhood in these countries. Despite many challenges from political and societal actors, these policies did not change for many decades, until around the turn of the twenty-first century, when Russia removed ethnicity from the internal passport, Germany changed its citizenship law and Turkish public television began broadcasting in minority languages. Using a new typology of 'regimes of ethnicity' and a close study of primary documents and numerous interviews, Sener Akturk argues that the coincidence of three key factors - counterelites, new discourses and hegemonic majorities - explains successful change in state policies toward ethnicity.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 11 b/w illus. 5 maps 36 tables
  • 1139848143
  • 9781139848145

Table of contents

Part I. Theoretical Framework and Empirical Overview: 1. Regimes of ethnicity: comparative analysis of Germany, Soviet Union, post-Soviet Russia, and Turkey; Part II. Germany: 2. The challenges to the monoethnic regime in Germany, 1955-1982; 3. The construction of an assimilationist discourse and political hegemony: transition from a monoethnic to an antiethnic regime in Germany, 1982-2000; Part III. Turkey: 4. Challenges to the ethnicity regime in Turkey: Alevi and Kurdish demands for recognition, 1923-1980; 5. From social democracy to Islamic multiculturalism: failed and successful attempts to reform the ethnicity regime in Turkey, 1980-2009; Part IV. Soviet Union and the Russian Federation: 6. The nation that wasn't there?: Sovetskii narod discourse, nation-building, and passport ethnicity, 1953-1983; 7. Ethnic diversity and state-building in post-Soviet Russia: removal of ethnicity from the internal passport and its aftermath, 1992-2008; Part V. Conclusion: 8. Dynamics of persistence and change in ethnicity regimes.
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Review quote

'Regimes of Ethnicity [and Nationhood in Germany, Russia, and Turkey] provides an important and exciting contribution to the existing literature on ethnicity, minorities, and nationalism ... For scholars of nationalism and ethnicity, the book offers a robust theoretical framework for classifying regimes of ethnicity and explaining their persistence and change.' Yoav H. Duman, Comparative Political Studies '... a must-read for students of ethnicity and nationalism. [This book] is conceptually innovative, empirically rich, and theoretically inspiring. It is particularly timely for the case of Turkey where issues on ethnicity and nationhood are now at the centre of public debates.' Ahmet T. Kuru, Insight Turkey 'This ambitious work in comparative politics promises a lot and delivers a lot ... An impressive feature ... is the richly documented, parsimonious account of each of the three countries. The author skilfully parses German, Turkish, and Russian primary sources. The footnotes themselves constitute a wealth of information ... Akturk's general achievement is to have provoked political science specialists on nationalism and ethnicity with iconoclastic interpretations of recent developments in three major countries. In Turkey and Russia more than in Germany after its landmark citizenship law, state policies on the status and rights of minorities continue to be negotiated in many important ways. His voice seeking to make sense of these ongoing processes is one we need to listen to critically.' Raymond Taras, Perspectives on Politics 'Akturk's most significant contribution to studies of recent changes in German citizenship laws is probably his focus on the role played by immigrants, especially Turkish immigrants, in bringing about those changes ... One must recognize Akturk's extraordinary skills, not least linguistic, and the care he has taken, through extensive interviews and research in primary and secondary sources, to cast light on a central question of the modern age.' Eli Nathans, American Historical Review 'Empirically, Akturk's book is impressive. He does well at combining historical narratives from three different area-studies traditions and drawing comparisons between countries endowed with different constitutional arrangements.' Survival: Global Politics and Strategy 'Based on the data gathered from archival materials, interviews, newspapers, and electoral statistics, Akturk provides a theoretically original, empirically deep, and methodologically strong argument on persistence and change in the regimes of ethnicity ... One of the innovative approaches in [this book] is the intuitive blend of historical institutionalism - mostly associated with the studies of welfare regimes - and the studies of ethnicity and nationalism. Through this insightful combination, Akturk also shows the endogenous dynamics of institutional change without any presence of exogenous shock that many new institutionalists refer to.' Serhun Al, National Identities '... provides an in-depth explanation of ethnicity policy reform in Germany, Russia and Turkey ... empirically well grounded and makes novel and useful contributions to the field that should guide future scholarship.' Alexander Caviedes, German Politics '... a well-conceived and well-tested study ... recommended to scholars interested in citizenship studies [and] institutionalists as well as to sociologists as a fine read.' Nur Bilge Criss, Turkish Studies
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About Sener Akturk

Sener Akturk is an Assistant Professor at Koc University in Istanbul. He holds degrees from the University of Chicago (BA, MA) and the University of California, Berkeley (MA, PhD). He has spent extended periods in Vienna, Berlin and Moscow for language study and doctoral research. Prior to his current appointment, he was a postdoctoral Fellow at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and a visiting lecturer in the Department of Government at Harvard University. He is a recipient of a Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant from the European Commission. He has published more than thirty articles in international and national refereed academic journals including World Politics, Post-Soviet Affairs, the European Journal of Sociology, Middle Eastern Studies, Nationalities Papers, Ab Imperio, Turkish Studies, Insight Turkey and Theoria. He has authored chapters in various edited books published in Turkey, Russia, Hungary and the United States.
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