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This section includes book reviews of 600-900 words, as well as some book notes of 100-200 words, on books of particular interest to the members of our group. If members either have a review that they consider of interest to the SG, or a recent book of their own, which they would like to see reviewed in the newsletter, please contact Cas Mudde at:


Karl Cordell (ed.), Ethnicity and Democratisation in the New Europe, London: Routledge 1999, GBP 50.00, ISBN 0-415-17311-6 (hbk), GBP 16.99, ISBN 0-415-17312-4 (pbk).

Reviewed by Stefan Wolff (University of Bath) The topic Cordell and his contributors are addressing is, sadly, a very timely one. International politics over the past decade has been dominated by issues of inter-ethnic relations and ethnopolitical conflict, and, unfortunately, it seems unlikely that this will change in the near future. The book will therefore maintain its relevance in the years to come. This is particularly the case for the first part where, in six chapters, a framework is outlined that helps the reader to conceptualise some of the key issues in the debate on ethnicity and democratisation. In his introductory chapter, Cordell outlines the aims and objectives of the volume and provides a brief, but sound analysis of the background against which the book is set the rise of ethnicity as a mobilising force in the political processes of democratising countries in Central and Eastern Europe, and indeed in Western Europe, too. As is always the case with introductions to edited volumes, they cannot raise all the issues or answer all the questions, and Cordell does not pretend he can, quickly leaving the field to Jeff Richards (Ethnicity and democracy complementary or incompatible concepts?), Philip Payton (Ethnicity in Western Europe today), Chris Gilligan (Citizenhsip, ethnicity and democratisation after the collapse of left and right), Adam Burgess (Critical reflections on the return of national minority rights regulation to East/West European affairs), and David Chandler (The OSCE and the internationalisation of national minority rights). Overall, these five chapters offer interesting perspectives on their chosen subjects, yet the quality with which they do this differs. For example, it seems a rather gross oversimplification when Richards claims that the Second World War "was caused over the Sudetenland, Danzig and the Polish corridor with Hitler seeking to add lost territory and ethnic [Germans] to the German Reich " (p. 19). Burgess provides an excellent account of the double standards that have plagued Western imposition and supervision of minority rights regimes in the inter-war and post-1990 periods, yet he fails to at least wonder whether the fact that "the apocalyptic anticipations of Eurogeddon, upon which the necessity for international supervision of minority treatment was based, proved to be false" (p. 55) was not in part also due to the fact that the situation of minorities in Central and Eastern Europe has become part of the European/international agenda. Chandler, similarly critical of the Western approach to perceived minority problems in the East, analyses in detail the role and (lack of) accomplishments of the OSCE in this process, and concludes that "underneath the veneer of commitment, there is little political will to act when this means upsetting the delicate political status quo in the east or questioning the sovereignty of states in the west" (p. 71-2). This point is well made, and the few exceptions upon which one could challenge Chandler prove the rule rather than anything else. Part two of the book presents ten case studies covering Europe from its southeastern corner (Montserrat Guibernau on Catalan nationalism) to Eurasian Central Asia (Stuart Horsman on the Tajik minority in Uzbekistan). In general, the quality of these case studies is very high both in their descriptive and analytical features. They all offer good empirical material, exemplifying the more theoretical points made in part one. The only critical point one could raise is that the inclusion of Austria (Boris Jesih on the countrys Slovene minority) and even more so of the new ethnic minorities in contemporary

2000 01 03 book reviews  
2000 01 03 book reviews