Nationalism and ethnicity have recently become internationally more significant subjects of debate and study by scholars. In a rapidly changing world, and in particular since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Communist system in eastern Europe, the role of ethnic politics has increased in several situations including Bosnia, Nagorno-Karabakh and more recently Chechnya. There has been much media coverage of these situations and various historical and other explanations for the ethnic conflicts have been put forward. However, we still lack proper in-depth academic analysis of the role and consequences of nationalism, "new nationalism", ethnic nationalism and ethnic politics in various situations including those where there is no conflict.
The aim of this new journal is to provide historians, anthropologists, sociologists and political scientists - with a primary focus on political dimension - the opportunity to publish their findings. Its stated purpose is "to explore the varied political aspects of nationalism and ethnicity in order to develop more constructive in-group relations". It intends to cover pluralism, ethnic nationalism, irredentism, separatism and related phenomena, and it will examine processes and theories of ethnic identity formation, mobilisation, conflict and accommodation in the context of political development and "nation building". In addition, it will compare and contrast state and community claims and deal with such factors as the international environment, economic development, immigration, citizenship, race, religion and language in so far as these contribute to the political dimension of the subject.
The relevant question now is this: is there a body of literature that cuts across disciplines and uses methods and theories from different subjects, relevant to the aims of the journal?
It appears that there is now growing scholarship on various aspects of nationalism and ethnic politics. An increasing number of researchers are looking at the causes and consequences of ethnic mobilisation, issues of multiculturalism, and the questions of exclusion and integration in Europe and elsewhere. So, in due course, there should be enough empirical data to analyse in this and other journals.
The coverage in the first issue is topical, illustrated by editor-in-chief William Safron's article "Nations, ethnic groups, states and politics: a preface and an agenda", which poses 28 questions in order to focus more precisely on the ethnic reality. Clearly the journal will not have any orthodoxy since its contributors are expected "to reflect a variety of political science orientations ranging from 'grand theory' to 'nominalist' and from 'primordialist' to state-centred approaches".
Nationalism and Ethnic Politics should be a useful source of information for policy-makers and professionals who deal with ethnic problems and ethnic politics at local, regional, national and international levels. Its publication is timely and deserves to be welcomed.
Muhammad Anwar is research professor, Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations, University of Warwick.
Nationalism and Ethnic Politics
Editor - William Safron
ISBN - ISSN 1353 7113
Publisher - Frank Cass
Price - £35.00 (indiv.), £85.00 (inst.)