Nations in Europe

(theory and research)

Instructors: György Csepeli, Gergo Prazsak


Affective and cognitive components of national conciusness can be considered as a mix of ancient and modern mental structures of human collective life. The subject is an ideal target of interdisicilinary approach connecting contexts of cultural anthropology, sociology, social psychology and economy based on history of culture. There is no consensus in the literature concerning the nature of the nations. Investigating contemporary problems of the nations there are authors who are emphasizing the aspects of organic development, ancient patterns of „Gemeinschaft” while other authors take the opposite course. They look at the nations trhough the „Entzauberung” prism of modernity focussing on the political, legal, cultural and economic systems bringing about the modern nation state.The perspective of the European Union is an ideal opportunity to demonstrate the convergence of these two opposing approaches. Despite of past differences similarities seem to dominate the future of the European nation states. European nation states are unequivocally to face the challenges of XXI. century. No leading role of Europe can be imagined without  facing the the social, economic and cultural problems created by migration, global climate change, spread of knowledge society.


Anderson, B. 2006. 1991. Imagined Communities. Reflection on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Revised edition. Verso, London-New York.

Bibó I. 1991. The Distress of the East European Small States (1946) In Democracy, Revolution, Self-Determination. Highland Lakes. Atlantic Research and Publications. Distributed by Columbia University Press, New York. 13-88

Brubaker, R. 1996. Nationalism reframed. Nationhood and the national question int he New Europe. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Csepeli, Gy. 1997. National identity in Contemporary Hungary. Highland Lakes. Atlantic Research and Publications. Distributed by Columbia University Press, New York. 13-88

Csepeli, Gy. Örkény A., Székelyi M. 2000. Grappling with National Identity. How nations see each other in Central Europe. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó

Hagendoorn, L., Csepeli, Gy., Dekker, H., Farnen, R. (Eds) 2000. European Nations and Nationalism. Theoretical and historical perpectives. Aldershot: Ashgate

Hagendoorn, L., Linssen, H., Tumanov, S. 2001. Intergroup Relations in States of the Former Soviet Union. The Perception of Russians. East Sussex: Psychology Press

Hunyady, Gy. 1998. Stereotypes during the Decaline and Fall of Communism. Routledge, London and New York

Hutchinson, J., Smith, A. (Eds) 1994. Nationalism (reader) Oxford University Press

Leersen, J. 2006. National Thought in Europe. A cultural history. Amsterdam:Amsterdam University Press.

Schmitt, C. 1932. Der Begriff des Politischen. Text von 1932 mit einem Vorwort und drei Corollarien. 6. Auflage, 4. Nachdruck der Ausgabe vn 1963. Berlin.


  1. The nation as a large group

(Grouping and groups in society. The formation of large groups. „Gemeinschaft” and „Gesellschaft” patterns of social relations. States and empires. Belonging to the group. The stranger. Malignant social processes. Content of the national categorization process.

  1. Becoming a nation

Dimensions and dilemmas of theories of nation formation.  Collectivism vs. Individualism, Ethnicity vs. Citizenship, Nature vs. Nurture, Culture vs. Politics.

  1. Sociology of  knowledge about the nation

The name as the basic tool of creating a nation. National semantic universe. Faith and pride. Themes of national existence. Collective memory. Typifications and relevances. Symbols and rites. The pyramid model of national consciusness. Operationalization and measurements of constructs.

  1. Comparative quantitative investigations into the national identity

ISSP databases of 1995 and 2003. Problems of comparisons of national samples. Comparison of widening circles of identification, criteria of citizenship, nationalism, national pride, and xenophobia. Problems of contextual analysis.

  1. European Identity

Evolution and devolution of the nation states in Europe. History of the European Union. The long road to European identity. Internal and external challenges. Empirical evidence stemming from EVS studies.