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16 Dec 2008
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09 May 2012
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

Unlike anywhere else in the world, in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-century Central Europe national movements and politicians made language into the paramount instrument of politics, and of statehood and nationhood legitimization. In this order of things, each nation wishing to be recognized in the international arena must possess its own unique national language. When a nation is lucky enough to have gained its own nation-state, not only is the national language to become the new polity's sole official language, what is more, it cannot be shared in that function with any other state across the globe. During the Twentieth century, this specifically Central European 'deification' of language justified the destruction of entire states deemed as 'non-national', vast unprecedented border changes, and instances of ethnic cleansing involving tens of millions. The violent parallel break-ups of Yugoslavia and Serbo-Croatia bear witness to the continuing destructive potential of language politicization.


Description

Unlike anywhere else in the world, in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-century Central Europe national movements and politicians made language into the paramount instrument of politics, and of statehood and nationhood legitimization. In this order of things, each nation wishing to be recognized in the international arena must possess its own unique national language. When a nation is lucky enough to have gained its own nation-state, not only is the national language to become the new polity's sole official language, what is more, it cannot be shared in that function with any other state across the globe. During the Twentieth century, this specifically Central European 'deification' of language justified the destruction of entire states deemed as 'non-national', vast unprecedented border changes, and instances of ethnic cleansing involving tens of millions. The violent parallel break-ups of Yugoslavia and Serbo-Croatia bear witness to the continuing destructive potential of language politicization.


Reviews



'Kamusella has produced a magisterial study, ambitious in its aims but supported by original research as well as offering a synthesis of specialized contributions in a number of languages. The concepts it uses and the conclusions it reaches about
language and politics can be expected to provoke a more general discussion. It is likely to remain the standard work in its field for a generation.'  - from the Foreword by Peter Burke, Emeritus Professor of Cultural History, University of Cambridge, UK
 
'Truly extraordinary is the author's detalied command of history, philology, and the national languages involved in this study. For those seeking information on language modernization in Central Europe or on case studies on the politics of language, this book is an excellent choice.' - Patrick Heinrich, International Journal of the Sociology of Language
 
'A magnificent history of language politics...Kamusella's book is an illustration of its own core argument: scholarship on language serves social purposes. Every EU official and NGO activist who deals with East Central Europe should have this book to hand, and every graduate seminar on nationalism in the region should begin with it. It provides countless sound judgements, and dispenses with a tremendous amount of nonsense.' - Timothy Snyder, Times Literary Supplement
 
'Apart from being an exceptional academic achievement, the monograph is also a very powerful political statement. It is one of the most impressive, in-depth arguments for the relevance of the study of Central Europe as a historical region... The book should certainly be received favourable by Anglophone students of Central and Eastern Europe, who would find this text a must-read in decades to come. In the English-speaking academic world, it is most likely to be used as an essential reference work that provides a broad - and yet in-depth - overview of the region's cultural, linguistic and historical landscape.' - Balázs Apor, AB Imperio
 
'This is a fine and invaluable study. We must be grateful to Kamusella for his meticulous scholarship and to Palgrave Macmillan for publishing a book with more pages than I have been allowed words to review it.' - Bernard Spolsky, Language Policy








Contents

Foreword; P.Burke 
Author Preface
Introduction
Language in Central Europe: An Overview
The Broader Linguistic and Cultural Context of Central Europe
PART I: CENTRAL EUROPEAN POLITICS AND LANGUAGES IN THE LONG NINETEENTH CENTURY
The Polish Case: From Natio to Nation
The Hungarian Case: From Natio to the Ersatz Nation-state
The Czech Case: From the Bohemian Slavophone Populus to Czech Nationalism and the Czechoslovak Nation
The Slovak Case: From Upper Hungary's Slavophone populus to Slovak nationalism and the Czechoslovak nation 
PART II: NATIONALISMS AND LANGUAGE IN THE SHORT TWENTIETH CENTURY
The Polish Nation: From a Multiethnic to an Ethnically Homogenous Nation-State
The Hungarian Nation: From Hungary to Magyarország
The Czech Nation: Between Czechoslovak and Czech Nationalism
The Slovak Nation: From Czechoslovakia to Slovakia,
Conclusion
Bibliography


Authors

TOMASZ KAMUSELLA is Senior Lecturer at the University of Opole, Poland, and focuses on the issues of language politics, nationalism, ethnicity, and European integration. Recent books include Silesia and Central European Nationalisms and (co-edited in two-volumes) Nationalisms Across the Globe. In 2002-2006, he researched this new monograph, The Politics of Language and Nationalisms in Modern Central Europe, at the European University Institute, Florence; the John W Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, Washington DC; the Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna; and the Herder-Institut, Marburg, Germany.