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Headlines of Nation, Subtexts of Class

Headlines of Nation, Subtexts of Class: Working Class Populism and the Return of the Repressed in Neoliberal Europe

Don Kalb
Gábor Halmai
Series: EASA Series
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Headlines of Nation, Subtexts of Class
    Book Description:

    Since 1989 neo-nationalism has grown as a volatile political force in almost all European societies in tandem with the formation of aneoliberalEuropean Union and wider capitalistglobalizations. Focusing on working classes situated in long-run localized processes of social change, including processes of dispossession and disenfranchisement, this volume investigates how the experiences, histories, and relationships of social class are a necessary ingredient for explaining the re-emergence and dynamics of populist nationalism in both Eastern and Western Europe. Featuring in-depth urban and regional case studies from Romania, Hungary, Serbia, Italy and Scotland this volume reclaims class for anthropological research and lays out a new interdisciplinary agenda for studying identity politics in the intensifyingneoliberalconjuncture.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-204-7
    Subjects: Anthropology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Don Kalb and Gábor Halmai
  4. Introduction Headlines of Nation, Subtexts of Class: Working-Class Populism and the Return of the Repressed in Neoliberal Europe
    (pp. 1-36)
    Don Kalb

    This is a book about the emergence and spread of mostly right-wing populism in contemporary Europe. Since about 1989 neo-nationalism has grown as a volatile political force in almost all European societies. This book does not so much look at the movements, political entrepreneurs and formal ideologies, as is done by political scientists and social movement researchers. Our focus is rather on the social groups that comprise their key constituencies. In a broad sense, these are working-class people. We study them in their natural habitats – factories, offices and neighbourhoods. And we study them as they are affected by longer...

  5. Chapter 1 ‘Nationalism Is Back!’ Radikali and Privatization in Serbia
    (pp. 37-56)
    Theodora Vetta

    In late February 2008, the Serbian Minister of Economy, Mladen Dinkić, stated that Serbia was once again ‘descending into collective madness’. Many political analysts have argued that the reaction of the Serbian political elites and the social unrest that followed the proclamation of Kosovo’s independence all point to the same thing: nationalism is back.

    The main evidence presented to support such an argument is based on electoral results. In the first parliamentary elections in 2003 that followed the 2000 regime change, the nationalist Serbian Radical Party (Srpska Radikalna Stranka, or SRS), most commonly known asRadikali, consolidated itself as the...

  6. Chapter 2 Articulating the Right to the City: Working-Class Neo-Nationalism in Postsocialist Cluj, Romania
    (pp. 57-77)
    Norbert Petrovici

    In the wake of the collapse of socialism, ethno-nationalist conflicts appeared as a major issue in the realignment of East European politics and identity. Yet the East European case was not entirely exceptional. The 1990s came with a strong tide of ethno-nationalist resurgence in many places, including Western Europe. Some of the literature has pointed out the affinity between the new nationalist wave and the current phase of neoliberal globalization and its associated migrations, as counter-movements are often encoded in the language of ethno- or religious-nationalism and localism (Comaroff and Comaroff 2001a, 2001b; Wimmer and Schiller 2002, 2003; Appadurai 2006;...

  7. Chapter 3 Football Fandom in Cluj: Class, Ethno-Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism
    (pp. 78-91)
    Florin Faje

    This chapter focuses on the specific process of identification involving class, ethnicity and football fandom in the postsocialist city of Cluj, Romania. Football fandom is never random. Identifications and passions are structured through the same processes that produce and reproduce social identities in the wider world. Supporting one or the other of the two football clubs in Cluj, Universitatea and CFR, has never been a neutral act, as I will show; people’s motivations shifted over time and the symbolic meaning of both clubs was transformed drastically between 1990 and 2010 as the collapse and later rebirth of the local economy...

  8. Chapter 4 ‘It Can’t Make Me Happy that Audi is Prospering’: Working-Class Nationalism in Hungary after 1989
    (pp. 92-112)
    Eszter Bartha

    This chapter focuses on a Hungarian former socialist ‘model’ factory and its workers in the early 2000s.¹ It is an attempt to bring back the concept of class and to show its relevance for understanding the formation of nationalist identity politics in postsocialist Hungary.² At the same time it is also an attempt to critique the use, or rather non-use, of the concept of class in East European academia following the change of regimes in the region, which seems to be as dogmatic – and as misleading – as the old Marxist-Leninist narrative.³ The rapid collapse of communist regimes across...

  9. Chapter 5 (Dis)possessed by the Spectre of Socialism: Nationalist Mobilization in ‘Transitional’ Hungary
    (pp. 113-141)
    Gábor Halmai

    Standing among a middle-aged crowd gathered in Csepel’s central square in southern Budapest on the chilly morning of 23 October 2005, Mátyás Szűrös bestowed his wrath on ‘transition’ in Hungary and called upon today’s youth to summon the spirit of the 1956 anti-communist revolution and lead a collective action against the ‘disappointment of wild capitalism’. It had been exactly sixteen years since the same Szűrös, as interim president, had proclaimed the birth of the Hungarian Republic from the balcony of Parliament on 23 October 1989. Now this former Communist Party Central Committee member serves as the prime speaker at local...

  10. Chapter 6 A Long March to Oblivion? The Decline of the Italian Left on Its Home Ground and the Rise of the New Right in Their Midst
    (pp. 142-155)
    Michael Blim

    ‘Ripe for Restoration’ a recentFinancial Timesarticle is entitled. Fermo, a city in Italy’s coastal region of the Marche and unofficial capital of one of Italy’s largest shoe-producing areas, is selling off its cultural patrimony in exchange for urban redevelopment. The city ‘is prepared to negotiate favourable terms’ in the sale of its medieval and Renaissancepalazzi nobilifor buyers able to restore and find new uses for them. European Union (EU) money may be thrown into the deals. Moreover, theFinancial Timesalso reports that real estate on offer on conventional terms in the surrounding lush countryside is...

  11. Chapter 7 Class without Consciousness: Regional Identity in the Italian Alps after 1989
    (pp. 156-172)
    Jaro Stacul

    This chapter seeks to provide an anthropological reading of the recent emergence of populist nationalism in Italy, and particularly to analyse the ways it is interpreted and understood as an ideological framework outside the centres of political and economic power.¹ Although it can take on a broad range of forms, in late modernity populist nationalism is expressed chiefly by the emergence of particularistic forms of identification which have altered the ways people constitute themselves as political subjects. This emergence is related to the increase in ‘rooted’ forms of identity that is in turn the outcome of the decline in the...

  12. Chapter 8 Working-Class Nationalism in a Scottish Village
    (pp. 173-193)
    Paul Gilfillan

    The case study presented here is based upon fieldwork on the relationship between class and the politicization of national identity during the restoration of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 in the former coalmining village of Cardenden, Fife.¹ While the relationship between class and nation is a central problematic in the literature on Scottish nationalism (Nairn 1981, 1997; Gellner 1983; McCrone 1998), I will draw upon the insights of A.P. Cohen, who has argued that, ‘Local experience mediates national identity and, therefore, an anthropological understanding of the latter cannot proceed without knowledge of the former’ (Cohen 1982: 13). I will also...

  13. Epilogue From the Ashes of a Counter-Revolution
    (pp. 194-202)
    George Baca

    Given that, as I write, the countries of the European Union (EU) are currently being convulsed by the economic crises in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, the publication ofHeadlines of Nation, Subtexts of Classis indeed timely. This volume forcefully turns anthropological debates to class conflict and working-class culture at a time when the global economy seems to be in serious trouble. These essays provide vivid descriptions of how working-class Europeans have come to understand and respond to the disastrous consequences that have followed the implementation of neoliberal policies. Collectively this volume sheds light on the nature of neoliberalism...

  14. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 203-204)
  15. Index
    (pp. 205-222)