How did civic nationalism come about?

"We first!" - Nationalism in Europe and Germany

Luisa Rath

studied European literature and culture, as well as political science and sociology at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, the University of Salamanca and at Boston College. After an internship in 2017, she works as a freelancer for the "Extremism" department of the bpb.

5th / 6th September 2018, InterCity Hotel Mainz

Nationalism in Europe? Has the excessive awareness of the value and importance of one's own nation not long since been overcome? Doesn't the European Union embody a community of values ​​that transcends national borders and guarantees its citizens freedom and peace on the basis of common political principles? Current developments in Europe show that the European Union is no guarantee for the containment of nationalisms. In many countries, nationalist parties and agendas are once again successful.

The Mainz symposium "We first!" Nationalism in Europe and Germany dedicated himself to the international field of nationalism research, the focus of which was on contemporary nationalism in Europe and Germany. In lectures or in individual panels, top-class experts discussed, for example, a new nationalism in Eastern Europe, the consequences of the Brexit for Great Britain, the conflict in the Spanish region of Catalonia, the role of minorities in nationalism and the importance of sport for nationalist positioning. The intense interest and the desire for constructive discussions were not only noticeable from the start, but also helped the conference to be a complete success.

Day 1: Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The 170 participants were welcomed by Hanne Wurzel, head of the "Extremism" department at the Federal Agency for Civic Education in Bonn (the copy of the welcome speech can be found here). At the start of the event, she spoke about a nationalism of the 21st century that has constituted Donald Trump's program since 2016 at the latest: "America first!". We also find variations of these formulas in Europe. In a modified form, the event was therefore entitled "We first!". A formula that always carries the desire for isolation.
The German feature pages, books or offers of political education, so Wurzel, but hardly dealt with the current nationalism. In Germany, nationalism is historically regarded as a profession of the right. Research shows, however, that a not inconsiderable part of German society is receptive to nationalist slogans and ideas. The deficit of discussions, seminars or methods for dealing with nationalism in political education is reason enough to hold the Mainz symposium in its international format and diverse approaches.

The internationality of the topic was not only borne by the content-related view of different regions of Europe. The remarkable translation performance of three interpreters pointed to the cross-border relevance and resonance of the topic. All lectures in the plenary could be followed either in English or German translation.

Nationalism? An introduction

Overcoming and returning: According to Professor Christian Geulen from the University of Koblenz-Landau, it is a structural feature of nationalism that it dominates the social debate in two modes ( to the lecture video). For example, overcoming nationalism was the basic consensus for a new European order after 1945 and for the implementation of major global projects such as the United Nations or the European Economic Community. In the 1990s, with the collapse of Yugoslavia, fear of a return to nationalism before the First World War grew. We are currently seeing an apparently unstable European Union and the rise of populism and nationalist ideas as indicators of a return to the Weimar nationalism of the interwar years. However, Professor Geulen urgently warns against such historical parallelizations.
While research on nationalism recognizes the principle of conquest and return, nationalism speaks of a desired return of the nation as a community believed to be lost. In all nationalisms, according to Geulen, the idea of ​​a mythical and ideal origin can be found. However, this contrasts with the intention of the modern nation to establish popular sovereignty as a source of legitimation for state rule in the form of a rational political community of will. According to the guiding principle of nationalism research since the 1980s, it is not the nation that produces nationalism, but nationalism that produces the nation.
Geulen sees the political meaning of the nation in danger and points to current problems: nationalism tries to reinvent the political and democracy. A fusion of "ethnos" and "demos" should take place - of ethnicity and political community. Geulen sees the national and populist movements in Europe as an additional challenge, presenting themselves as transnational interest groups based on exclusion and xenophobia. The European unification process should no longer count as the overcoming of the national, since we are thus leaving the authority and the idea of ​​the nation to those new nationalisms that have long tried to reinvent them in their own way. It was time to defend the nation against its peers and lovers. Political communities, according to Geulen, are most likely to succeed where they do not simply overarch or suppress traditional forms of belonging, but instead create a new, overarching form of solidarity based on them.

Nationalism, Culture and National Identity

After Professor Geulen addressed the importance of nationality, Professor John Hutchinson of the London School of Economics discussed the concept of "identity" ( to the lecture video). A particular national identity unites culture, history and belief in a holy fatherland. The existence of the state, in turn, transforms the aspects of national identity into social norms: manifested in the welfare state, citizenship, language and educational policies or compulsory military service. Hutchinson points to the power of nationalism, which can be seen in the alliance of global institutions. It is still the nation state that enters into such alliances. As a political ideology, however, nationalism seems very weak. He does not manage to actively shape the nation state on his own, so that it remains effective only as an expression of the opposition. Hutchinson believes that the assumption that nationalist reactions to crises are always right-winged is simplistic. Rather, the cosmopolitan rejection of a nationalist heritage in Europe, the alienation of an elite from the population, and populism form a breeding ground for nationalism. It is the weakness of complex ideologies (e.g. liberalism) to appeal only to people's reason, but not to their emotions. Nationalism does not know this deficit.

Can we blame Europe for underestimating the relevance of national identity for too long, leaving cultural debates to the radical right? Professor em. David McCrone has taught at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and sees the connection between culture and politics as a crucial necessity for the debate about our identity and future ( to the lecture video). National identity and citizenship, McCrone said, are not identical concepts. Consequently, national identity cannot be replaced by constitutional patriotism, as postulated by Jürgen Habermas: constitutional patriotism ignores cultural aspects that are essential for the definition of a national identity. Like Hutchinson, McCrone argued that nationalism is not fundamentally a right-wing phenomenon. Rather, its chameleon-like character allows nationalism many possibilities of manifestation, which can be both explicit and implicit. McCrone called for an explicit social debate about the character of the nation so that we do not leave nationalism and the definition of a national identity to a radical right. National identity cannot be taken for granted.

Radical nationalism in Western Europe - yesterday and today

Nations are flexible units. Timothy Baycroft, history professor at the University of Sheffield, also confirmed in one of five parallel panel discussions that nations are carried by culture, history and an identity ( to the lecture video). Nationalism is responsible for the political dimension of the nation: it legitimizes the declared interests of a nation. Nations are also myths and therefore not "fake", but rather bearers of a symbolic meaning or a mythical truth. Baycroft differentiated between a universalist, liberal and democratic nationalism that began with the French Revolution and lasted until the mid-19th century. This nationalism was based on the idea that nations and peoples are identical and, as sovereign bodies, form a democratic opposition to absolutism. A particular, exclusive and conservative nationalism, on the other hand, dominated Europe after 1848, when popular sovereignty was integrated into state constitutions and the conflict thus shifted. The enemy was no longer the absolutist monarchy but the rival nation. Especially after 1945 a new level of categorization emerged, the bourgeois (civic) of ethnic (ethnic) Nationalism separated from each other. This typology calls bourgeois nationalism "good" nationalism, while it condemns ethnic nationalism as "bad" nationalism. It could thus be argued that it was not nationalism per se that was responsible for the world wars, but only its ethnic variant. This typology and its consequences do not work for Baycroft. Nationalism grows stronger in crises in which it is instrumentalized for political mobilization. Nationalism experiences radicalism as a result of an underlying conflict that has to be analyzed.

Professor Tamir Bar-On from the Tecnológico de Monterrey University in Mexico was the second speaker alongside Baycroft in the panel discussion on radical nationalism in Western Europe ( to the lecture video). In view of the adaptation of nationalism by the radical right, he asked whether we were confronted with neo-fascism, populism or a democracy in action. He did not give an unequivocal answer. And yet he succeeded in clearly formulating the characteristics of right-wing nationalism. If the latter is misleading about a fascist past, they tend to be obsessed with the rise and decline of a dominant ethnic group and wish for the establishment of homogeneous nations and states (ethnic nationalism). In the interwar years, the radical right represented an integral nationalism: belief in the collective, pronounced anti-individualism, an authoritarian or totalitarian state, and aggressive and expansionist militarism. At present, Europe's radical right sees itself as an opponent of such integral nationalism. They play largely according to parliamentary rules and reject imperialism or colonialism. Thus, Bar-On reached the following conclusion: the radical right should always be analyzed historically and contextually, the label "fascist" should not be misused and the research literature on the radical right should shed its bias.

Historical images and politics of nationalism

Historian Professor Christian Jansen from Trier introduced the panel discussion "Historical Images and Politics of Nationalism" with the presentation of various powerful historical myths. According to Jansen, it is important to distinguish between two phenomena of nationalism: The term denotes both a political conglomerate Ideas, feelings and associated symbols that can lead to a closed ideology, as well as political movements that carry these ideas. A distinction must be made between ideas and movements. Within the sphere of nationalism as a conglomerate of political ideas, in turn, "ideology" should be between the levels According to Jansen, nationalism as a political ideology has three central components: First, the assertion of the existence of the "nation" or the "people" as the active subject of history ; second, di e Establishing the exclusive affiliation of each individual to a special nation and, thirdly, the stylization of the nation to a high moral and moral value, in which the affiliation to a nation is placed above all other loyalties and the nation itself is elevated to the most important guideline for human activity. The fundamental values ​​of nationalism upheld in this regard are national unity, both internally and externally, and national autonomy as that freedom and power that allows a nation to act independently and successfully. Professor Jansen divides the phenomenon of nationalism as a political movement into a three-phase model: At the beginning there would be the literary and cultural development of the nationalist idea, the construction of a national history including heroes, myths and identification offers - a process that the British historian Eric Hobsbawm calls "Invention of tradition". The reference to a supposedly shared (national) history is of immense importance. According to Jansen, the second phase is characterized by the systematic agitation of the nationalists with the aim of growing into a mass movement on which The third phase follows, in which organized nationalism takes on the character of a mass movement. This happened in Germany in the course of the 19th century. This theoretical model can be illustrated using the example of German nation building: the starting point was the intellectuals, the poets and thought r from the classical to the romantic, who contributed to the conception of a nationalistically chargeable historical image. Important motives were the old Germanic tribes, medieval emperors, the Reformation and France as an alleged “hereditary enemy.” Turner, singers and fraternities contributed to the growing mobilization of townspeople and educated citizens in the context of the nationalist movement. This development was accompanied by political conflicts over conservatives With the failed revolution of 1848/49 at the latest, nationalism turned into a mass movement in Germany, which was able to cooperate with the political elite, above all Bismarck, under the banner of Realpolitik Wars of Unification was founded between 1864 and 1871. The enthusiasm for war at the beginning of the First World War in 1914 could be described as the "second", inner establishment of an empire. In conclusion, Jansen emphasizes that there is no inclusion without exclusion, and thus no nationalism without exclusion. The Potsdam political scientist, right-wing extremism researcher and private lecturer Dr. Gideon Botsch, the second speaker in the panel on the historical images and politics of nationalism, was particularly interested in the relationship between nationalism and the nation-state. Botsch described nationalism primarily as an ideology of mobilization. He distinguished between a defensive, a fundamentally oppositional nationalism and a nationalism in power. Botsch showed that current actors in nationalism would refer to German history in a strikingly eclectic way. For example, the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) emphasized the importance of the revolutions of 1848 and 1989, but attached remarkably little weight to the revolution of 1918/19, although the first German democracy emerged from this overthrow of the system. Botsch also emphasized that historical nationalism had proven to be culture-creating in fiction, dramaturgy, historiography, music and other fields, which is not true of current nationalism.

Nationalism and minorities

Professor Samuel Salzborn from the Technical University of Berlin discussed three lines of conflict within the concept of minorities. The first line of conflict focuses on the differentiation between "ethos" and "demos" - possible categories of national affiliation based on descent (ethos) or free will (demos). The second line of conflict recognizes foreign / immigrant minorities who have lived in a state for several generations. The third line of conflict addresses the addressee of minority rights: either humans as an individual or a minority as a collective. Thorsten Afflerbach heads the Office of the Special Representative for Roma Issues of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.He agrees with the theoretical considerations of the previous speaker and illustrates them using the example of the Roma minority, whose situation in Europe he first describes. There are still no concrete figures on the number of Roma, according to Afflerbach. Many states prohibit statistical surveys on ethnicity. It is estimated that ten to twelve million Roma live in the member states of the Council of Europe. They are considered to be a strongly discriminated minority in Europe in many respects. Forced evictions, censuses and even (fatal) violence against Sinti and Roma in Italy or the Ukraine make a still current antiziganism clear. The final discussion in the panel dealt with the way of life of the Roma and their role in connection with violent attacks. Although Roma living in camps are extremely vulnerable, the growing violence does not result from this way of life alone. Rather, it is the consequence of a deeply rooted attitude. A controversial discussion also sparked the question of whether Roma should be protected through collective or individual rights. On the one hand, collective rights promote the delimitation of a minority; on the other hand, it is almost impossible to equate the highly discriminated Roma minority with other members of society without establishing specific group rights.

Nationalism in Germany - then and now

The emergence of German nationalism in the context of the Napoleonic Wars was outlined by Dr. Wiebke Wiede from the University of Trier. Accompanied with quotes from Gottfried Herder and Ernst Moritz Arndt and with the help of images, it continued the development, ideology and formation of the nationalism that arose in this way until the Wilhelmine Empire. Dr. Volker Weiß, journalist from Hamburg. He showed how this nationalism was radicalized on the eve of the First World War and then culminated in the "Ideas of 1914" and honed during the war in trench warfare against the so-called "hereditary enemy". With the defeat of 1918 and the Treaty of Versailles, which was perceived as a "treaty of shame" far beyond the circles of the radical right, nationalism was radicalized again. This, in a word from Ernst Jünger, "New Nationalism" knew how to conceptually integrate the elements of modernity. It developed into a dynamic and aggressive movement against the republic, which had set itself the goal of "total mobilization" (disciples) of society. In doing so, his protagonists not only positioned themselves offensively against democracy, but also wanted to overcome traditional Wilhelmine conservatism. It was precisely their modern self-image as "revolutionaries" from the right that made them pioneers of fascism and National Socialism. The continuation of the traditional line of "New Nationalism" is now the responsibility of the so-called New Right, said Weiß.

Nationalism in Poland

Miss Dr. Świder, Professor of History at the University of Opole, opened the panel discussion with a lecture on the history of nationalism in Poland. At the end of the 18th and 19th centuries, Poland was divided, so building a national culture was difficult for the people. The inhabitants of the border areas were not equal to the population in the heartland and refused to adopt Polish cultural elements. The nationalist endeavors aimed at an unification of all Polish forces. Their opponents were democrats, intellectuals, the occupying powers and socialists. Jews were declared enemies because the Catholic religion was seen as a basis for cultural and state unity. After the First World War, the nationalist ideology in the "camp of the great Poles" radicalized, so that Jews and socialists became the target of violence in the 1930s. After the camp was dissolved, eight movements or parties, some of them fascist and National Socialist, were founded, including the camp, the aim of which was to found a "Polish state of Catholic denomination". Nationalist aspirations before the Second World War were primarily anti-Soviet, anti-German and anti-Semitic. Despite a 1945 ban on all nationalist associations, their ideas and structures continued to exist. The communist state consciously used the Polish anthem, the flag and a partly nationalistic language to unite the people behind their thoughts.
Following Dr. Świder gave a lecture by Bartosz Dudek, head of the Poland editorial team at Deutsche Welle, on Polish nationalism after 1989 and its actors, ideologies and goals. After the coup, nationalist and extreme right-wing parties (again) founded, for example NOP, ONR, Wielkopolska Youth or National Movement. Nationalist and extremist parties are currently represented in the European and Polish parliaments. Even if these right-wing parties are not united, they show clear similarities: anti-communism, anti-Semitism, hostility to Muslims, racism, homophobia, Catholic fundamentalism, EU rejection and hostility towards NATO.
The discussion in the plenary focused primarily on the current situation in Poland. The country is ruled by the PiS party, which harbors nationalistic elements: the devaluation of people of Muslim faith and "foreigners" and the appeal to Polish values. For Dr. However, the PiS party is not a nationalist party, and for Mr Dudek it is still a right-wing populist party. In addition, the question was raised why the Polish population disapproves of the EU despite massive subsidies. Dr. Świder stated that around 70 percent of the Polish population agree with EU policies. However, the rejection is particularly visible in eastern areas with high unemployment.

The panels presented so far were followed by five more. Four of these subsequent discussions focused on nationalism in countries or regions in Europe, while Robert Claus and Professor Dieter Reicher analyzed the role of nationalism in sport.

"VICTORY!!!" Nationalism in sport

Professor Dieter Reicher is a sociologist at the Karl Franzens University in Graz, Austria. He opened his lecture with the characterization of nationalism. According to Reicher, the concept of nationalism is normative. In addition, nationalism could be viewed from both an emic and an etic perspective - that is, from a point of view within a system or culture, or from a point of view outside the underlying system. There are different perspectives on nationalism in connection with sport, so Reicher. To clarify his point of view, he showed pictures of fans celebrating happily together, of men dressed in black with the German flag, the effect of which is rather deterrent, and named a commercial that the DFB shot around ten years ago for integration and against racism. Sport unites different ideas of us. Professor Reicher gave a special lecture on national sport. According to him, the causes and reasons for national sport are a functional democratization and mass culture, the mass media, the international order and the lack of social upheavals. Following on from Professor Reicher, Robert Claus, project manager and research assistant at the "Competence Group Fan Cultures and Sport-Related Social Work (KoFaS gGmbH)" spoke in Hanover. His input dealt with nationalistic statements from sports officials such as the former DFB President Gerhard Meyer-Vorfelder and the nationalism in the fan scenes, as can be seen, for example, through songs. At the DFB, so Claus, changes could certainly be seen. Years ago, German players with Turkish roots were recruited for the DFB national team. Nationalism in football works as a demarcation strategy: "We" against "They". Football is affine for discrimination and nationalism, as the question of belonging is clearly visible. In addition, football offers a competitive environment in which physical confrontation is also relatively central. Claus also addressed the so-called Özil debate. After the early World Cup of the German national team in 2018, Mesut Özil was often racially insulted. The DFB did not give its player sufficient support. The debate, according to Claus, is an example of how sporting issues, success and failure, can be nationalistically charged. In the spectrum of violent ultras and hooligans, open nationalism and right-wing extremism are still very problematic. There were also mixed scenes of hooligans, martial artists and members of free camaraderie. The incidents in Chemnitz have shown how strongly and how quickly these scenes can mobilize for marches.
The following question dominated the discussion that followed: Is (organized) sport - especially football - democratic or not? The two speakers had different opinions. Professor Reicher characterized organized sport as more democratic. Sport levels out differences and can create positive identifications that are less about origin and more about performance. Robert Claus, on the other hand, described organized sport as rather undemocratic. Sport demands compulsory confession, which cannot be easily reconciled with pluralism and diversity. In addition, football lives from demarcation and works in binary terms (victory or defeat). The Özil debate made it clear that communicating complex identities in a football context is difficult. Football thus has a structural similarity to nationalism.

Should I stay or should I go? Is Britain falling apart?

The impression that nationalism is currently enjoying strong support is strengthened for many citizens by a look at the news from all over the world. For example, Britain's decision to leave the European Union was a much discussed and controversial event that apparently clearly demonstrated the return to nationalism. More than two years have passed since the Brexit referendum. Still, questions remain: How will the future relationship between Great Britain and the EU look like? Will nationalist voices in Scotland and Northern Ireland try to break away from the UK? Dr. Cathal McManus from Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland and Dr. Neil McGarvey from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland gave insights into the debates on the question "Should I stay or should I go?".

In Northern Ireland, nationalism and unionism still persist in a cultural conflict. There is much speculation about the consequences of Brexit for this conflict. However, according to McManus, Northern Irish unionism is more skeptical of the EU than nationalism ( to the lecture video). 56 percent of Northern Irish voters voted to remain in the European Union. Opinion polls show that this percentage has even increased since June 2016. However, further surveys also confirm that growing support for the EU does not mean growing support for Irish unity on the part of those citizens who claim to be Protestant or British. Northern Irish Catholics, on the other hand, express frustration with the country's politics and increasingly demand unity with the Republic of Ireland. In light of these developments, McManus asked whether Brexit would represent a new front in Northern Ireland's cultural war?

In Scotland, according to McGarvey, the Brexit campaign was not particularly well received: the nostalgic memory of the nation of England before the European single market and xenophobic debates about migration rather gave the impression that Brexit was an English, but not a Scottish topic ( to the lecture video). 62 percent of Scottish voters wanted to remain in the EU. McGarvey discussed the paradox of Scottish nationalism: The Scottish National Party (SNP) continues to enjoy great popularity. From the government mandate, however, there is no majority in favor of Scottish independence, as demanded by the SNP. At the same time, there is support among sections of the population who do not call themselves nationalists. Scottish nationalism and unionism, McGarvey stressed, are not necessarily polar opposites: Both ideologies share the rejection of English chauvinism and the assumption that Scotland was just a province within the Empire. McGarvey described Scottish unionism as a political ideology that both recognizes British identity and seeks to preserve a Scottish element. Modern Scottish nationalism is inclusive. He speaks of "all people of Scotland" instead of "Scottish people". An important component of national identity is the portrayal of Scotland as a "welcoming nation" ready to recognize ethnic and cultural diversity. Thus modern Scottish nationalism is an ideology of a political dimension.

Nationalism in Eastern Europe - A Communist Legacy?

Philipp Fritz, correspondent for WELT and WELT AM SONNTAG in Warsaw, introduced the panel and described the basis for the discussion: Nationalist movements and parties have been popular in many countries in Eastern and Southeastern Europe for years and are also represented in governments. Is this a specifically Eastern European problem and even a legacy of communist rule? Professor Marie-Janine Calic, historian at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, explained the nationalist developments based on the region of the Western Balkans. In contrast to homogeneous Poland, Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic state whose coexistence was characterized by a peaceful climate. Josip Broz Tito wanted to build the state on fraternity, unity and equality. The key to this was ethnic participation and representation. In addition, the promotion of national cultures took place. Still, there was ethnic conflict and rejection. After the Second World War, many people were not communists, but nationalists as a result of the civil war. Nationalist ideas were particularly encouraged at universities. In Yugoslavia, there was still a large development gap between a poor south and a rich north. As a result of growing inequality, an economic nationalism emerged, according to Celic. Slobodan Milošević incited the already existing Serbian nationalism at the time of the breakup of Yugoslavia. He propagated the disadvantage of Serbia and the threat from other peoples. For Celic, Milošević is the ideal type of a populist: he presented himself as a strong leader and as a guarantor for the power of the people and their interests.
Using two examples, Professor Celic described the current situation of nationalism in the bar. Bosnia-Herzegovina is ethnically, politically and culturally deeply divided. The three ruling peoples of Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian origin do not have a common understanding of the state. Dissatisfaction is also very high due to a weak economy and the associated high unemployment. The respective nationalism is driven by many political forces, each with different goals. Opposite is the Republic of Macedonia. Albanians and Slavic Macedonians would live there by peaceful agreement. After a nationalist government was voted out of office, the policy of the new Social Democratic Prime Minister Zoran Zaev would have given the Albanians more rights and ended the name dispute with Greece for the time being. In her conclusion, Celic made it clear that nationalism in the Balkans is not a constant, there are examples of hardening and improvement. Communist rule certainly had an influence on the expansion of nationalism. Perhaps, according to Celic, the Balkans, with its advancing nationalism, will not show us the past, but the future.
The speaker Reinhold Vetter, freelance scientist and journalist, was unfortunately unable to take part in the event, but made his script available, which analyzed the historical, political and economic backgrounds for the phenomena of nationalism and populism in Eastern Europe. History politics, according to Vetter, is an important field of activity for nationalists and populists, because nationalist historiography only allows the heroism of one's own people to be portrayed, but not the self-critical reflection of one's own transgressions. In his script, Vetter discusses a law passed by the Polish Parliament, which provides for a change in the status of the Institute of National Remembrance. Up until now, this institute was primarily entrusted with dealing with communist and national socialist crimes. According to the change in the law, however, it should now also "preserve the good name of the Polish Republic and the Polish people". The aim is to act against the term "Polish camps" and against those who ascribe some responsibility to Poland for the crimes of the National Socialists. The new law sparked a heated diplomatic dispute with Israel, after which it was defused.However, the intention of the law remains and opens the doors to condemn any public reference to Polish crimes during World War II in the future. A look at the social media in Poland shows that the change in the law opened the floodgates for a new anti-Semitism. According to Vetter, nationalism is an ideology whose protagonists look down on other peoples and despise people from other nations and cultures. This leads to a need for homogeneity in society and thus to the exclusion of all those who do not fit into the picture. In addition, nationalists see their nation in constant need and incapacitated by refugees, Brussels or the dissolution of families in their traditional forms. In its extreme form, nationalism could become a political and military danger for other states and peoples. The term "nationalism" is often used in conjunction with the term "populism" - they can, but do not have to overlap. There is nationalism without populism and left populism. According to Vetter, populists do not need a strict ideology. Rather, the program of populism is variable and should be understood as a strategy for seizing power. Populists are characterized by the fact that they invoke a popular will and are hostile to elites and institutions. Essential characteristics of populism are also the intensive use of symbols and the instrumentalization of history. The appearance of nationalists and populists has political and social consequences of varying degrees. The building of a strong state with authoritarian features in both Poland and Hungary had made great strides. The constitutional and political views of the ruling parties are reflected in their dealings with the constitution, the rule of law and important institutions. History politics, culture and education are subordinated to the nationalistic-schematic principles of these parties. Kaczyňski in Poland and Orbán in Hungary want to fulfill a historic mission. After years of deep crisis, the states are now in the process of building a "national system" - characterized by a clear community order and traditional values ​​such as nation, home, family and Christianity. The thinking of Kaczyňski and Orbán is based on the conviction that it is not a primarily civic entity (demos) that represents the sovereign, but the nation. In this narrative, the nation has a strong communal identity. As a result, people of different faiths, people with different outlooks on life, different sexual identities, refugees and even protesters critical of the government are not part of the national community. The question arises as to why politicians like Kaczyński and Orbán come to power. Both politicians emphasize that the economic change at the end of the 1980s led to undesirable developments. In fact, the market economy reforms of the time did not meet the wishes of many citizens. In addition, nationalists in the East criticize the privatization of state-owned companies that took place in the early 1990s. This criticism works because the transfer of ownership at the time was often an opaque business. Directors of socialist state companies turned into private owners of "their" companies. The search for the reasons for the rise of the right in Eastern Europe also leads to the fact that those responsible in politics, education, culture and the media have done little in the last 25 years to improve people’s sense of the role of the state and for to promote the tripartite division of state power. To this day, many people feel like losers in the new market economy. In countries like Poland and Hungary, the bitterness over neoliberalism is unmistakable. In the face of various crises, Western societies have lost their radiance.

In the ensuing discussion in the plenary session, questions were asked about the religious relationships between the peoples of the Balkans. In addition, it was critically reflected on whether the democratization of Eastern Europe was an elite project that society had not sufficiently integrated. Did that reinforce nationalism?

Separatism in Spain

Professor Fernando Vallespin introduced the panel with the historical background of the conflict over the current Catalan separation efforts. He gave a brief overview of Spanish history with several historical milestones. In the constructivist tradition, he emphasized that nations were basically "invented" and that historical narratives would only be derived from them. For an understanding of the Catalan situation, among other things, it was important that Catalonia had been part of the Spanish part of the Iberian Peninsula since Spain's unification in 1492 The unification was accompanied by the expulsion of Muslims and Jews and ran parallel to Spain's rise to a colonial world power.The two united kingdoms of Castile and Aragon enjoyed great autonomy until the War of the Spanish Succession at the beginning of the 18th century, which became a political structure The defeat of Aragon's troops on September 11, 1714 is still commemorated today with a public holiday in Catalonia - although it was decidedly a war of succession and not a war of secession. This ended the privileges of Aragon - to which Catalonia belonged. Almost a hundred years then, in response to the Napoleonic invasion of 1812, a national idea of ​​Spain began to develop. A little later in the 19th century, in the course of rapid industrialization in Catalonia and the Basque Country, each of these regions developed their own nationalism. For the perspective of the Spanish central government it is also important to remember the "national tragedy" of Spain: the loss of a large part of the remaining colonies after the Spanish-American War in 1898. In the 20th century of great importance for Catalan separatism was the proclamation - and suppression - an independent Catalan republic in 1934, the republic-loyal resistance in Catalonia against Franco in the Spanish Civil War and the experience of the Franco dictatorship, including the suppression of all non-Spanish languages. That a good 90 percent of Catalans approved the new Spanish constitution after Franco's death Vallespin, who recognized Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia as "nationalities" and granted statutes of autonomy, refuted the topos that Catalonia was a "colony of Spain." With the beginning of the Spanish constitutional monarchy, the "nation building" process began in Catalonia. This was supported above all by the education system, which is now mainly Catalan, and the public media. It should be noted, however, that a good 50 percent of Catalan families speak Spanish at home - so it is a bilingual society. Vallespin summarized the points that were important to him: On the one hand, Catalonia could be compared to a German federal state, but there are great differences between the various political-territorial sub-units. Catalonia and a few others are referred to as "nationalities", while most of the others are referred to as "regions". Finally, Vallespin emphasized that Spain - as a state and as an idea - top-down was created.

In her keynote lecture "Separatism in Catalonia: A Movement That Arose Overnight? The Recent Developments in the Independence Movement", Maria Batllori focused on the question of why the conflict is escalating right now. She highlighted several important levels: the court ruling on the Statute of Autonomy for Catalonia 2010, the economic crisis, Catalan cultural policy, the centralized policy from Madrid and the strategic decision of the Spanish central government to resolve the conflict legally rather than politically The beginning of the separatist movement is to be assessed. In 2010 the Spanish Constitutional Court overturned large parts of the Catalan regional constitution adopted in 2006 after a complaint by the conservative Partido Popular (PP), which was perceived as humiliation and led to large demonstrations. This disappointment resulted there s goal shifted to strive for separatism rather than reforms and to see it as a real political solution to factual problems. Since the economic crisis, some Catalan politicians have increasingly seen the Catalan financial equalization as a problem. In fact, there is a mismatch between the taxes ceded to Madrid by the economically strong Catalonia and Spain's investments in Catalonia. The role of the regional media is also important. For example, the television broadcaster TV3, which is subordinate to the Catalan regional government, has had a not to be underestimated influence on the fact that separatist efforts have become a mass phenomenon. Batllori emphasized that not only the Catalan nationalism had grown, but also the Spanish one. This is an expression of mutual processes. On the Catalan side, it is increasingly articulated that the Spanish government should be interpreted as a burden and a brake on economic and social progress in Catalonia. It led to great resentment in Catalonia that the Spanish government had parts of Catalan social legislation overturned by the constitutional court. It is also fatal that the Rajoy government took legal action against Catalan attacks instead of treating them politically. This also worsened the situation with regard to the independence referendum. It should be noted that although the majority of those eligible to vote did not vote for independence from Spain, a relevant mass of people voted for independence in an uncontrolled and quite dangerous situation. Spain's former Prime Minister Rajoy has not been in office since June 2018. Since then, the conflict has also eased somewhat. Above all, the fear of a violent escalation disappeared.

In the joint discussion, the difficulty of the political situation was emphasized: although around two thirds of the Catalans would support independence, how should this be dealt with when a third is loyal to Spain after the establishment of a Catalan state? Batllori confirmed that the Catalan regional government had made separatism attractive by painting an unrealistic future utopia - which made the quest for independence even more attractive. Both speakers agreed that there was currently a political standstill in Catalonia, precisely because all political discussions would focus on a single topic - separatism.

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