This month McSweeney's publishes my essay "Passion Pieces". The essay is partly memoir and partly a reflection on recent history in Poland, and it appears in a symposium edited and curated by Rachel Cohen in tribute to the wonderful work of Lawrence Weschler, author of Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder, and Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing That One Sees. The symposium is called "You have to see this", and the magazine describes it as: "an all-hands-on-deck appraisal of one of the most keen-eyed cultural commentators of our time. With contributions from Errol Morris, William Finnegan, Lauren Redniss, Bill McKibben, Ben Katchor, Wendy Lesser, Geoff Dyer, Bill Morrison, Riva Lehrer, David Hockney, Jonathan Lethem, Peter Vermeersch, Andrei Codrescu, Baynard Woods, Ricky Jay, and Walter Murch."
See (and purchase) the issue at the McSweeney's Store.
"Backdoor Nationalism" is the title of an article I wrote together with Jon Fox (University of Bristol). It has now been published by the European Journal of Sociology/Archives Européennes de Sociologie (vol. 51, No. 2) and is available for downloading from the journal's website.
The paper discusses the resurgence and transformation of nationalist politics in Central Europe. Contrary to expectations, the EU’s eastward expansion in 2004 did not sound the death knoll of nationalism in the region; rather, it signalled its reinvention and, in some respects, reinvigoration. In this paper, we examine three ways in which nationalism has been redefined in Hungary and Poland in the context of EU enlargement. First, consensus on the desirability of European unification has lessened the importance of left/right party divisions; in its place, the “nation” has provided a fulcrum for inter-party contestation. Second, EU integration has provided nationalists in the region with a backdoor for realising old nationalist ambitions of national reunification across the porous borders of the EU. Third, we examine the way radical nationalist organisations in Hungary and Poland increasingly define themselves in opposition to the EU.
My article on "National Minorities and International Change: Being Ukrainian in Contemporary Poland" has appeared in the May 2009 issue of Europe-Asia Studies. The paper explores how interstate relations affect domestic processes of minority mobilization. It focuses on Ukrainian minority activism in Poland against the background of the changing relations between Poland and Ukraine. I argue that the influence of interstate relations on national minority activism is more complex than a traditional view of kin-state politics might make us assume. There is not always a direct link between national minorities activists and "their" external homeland. In case of the Ukrainian minority in Poland, for example, it is clear that activists not always want to base their actions on the idea that they "belong" to Ukraine. Although these minority activists oppose assimilation - they seek to maintain and even revive Ukrainian culture - they confine their action largely to issues that relate to the Polish public arena, and they want to present themselves as loyal Polish citizens. They seek to construct themselves as migrants, not from Ukraine, but from the past. They are a minority from another Poland, a multiethnic country that does not exist in the same way anymore.
At the annual conference of the Political Studies Association I presented the paper "The Europeanization of Euroskepticism? The meaning of Europe in domestic political competition in Poland", University of Manchester (UK).
Jon Fox and I wrote a paper on "Backdoor nationalism: EU accession and the reinvention of nationalism in Poland and Hungary". We presented it on April 2nd, at the 19th Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN), London School of Economics.