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Partition and redemption: a Machiavellian analysis of Sami and Basque patriotism
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
1997 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Since the end of the Second World War, the location of most interstate borders has been fixed.This suggests that the common phenomenon of ethnic groups partitioned by internationallyrecognized state borders is permanent. Nevertheless, a recurrent dream of 'redemption' (i.e. thebuilding of a self-ruling polity which unifies the separate segments) is capable of inciting patrioticmobilization even in the face of a very long period of unbroken partition. Little is knownabout this clash between dream and reality. How can an ethnoterritorial group which is apparentlypermanently partitioned between separate, sovereign states be redeemed? In seeking asolution to this puzzle, I attempt a Machiavellian type of analysis, defined as an approach whichcombines a patriotic perspective with a strategic view of the choice of specific means and endsin a way which is free of state-centrism. I also employ Machiavelli's theory-building method,which is a form of abduction.This study focuses on six aspects of the problem of partition and redemption: the territorialsetting, the historical process, partitioning state contexts, perceptions of partition and homelandmythology, strategies, and outcomes. Two instances are selected for case study and comparison:the Sami in northernmost Europe, and the Basques in Spain and France. Both groups arepartitioned between separate states, are a minority in each one, and lack control over all existingstate governments.The analysis reveals the unexpected result that the less numerous, greater dispersed, morepartitioned, and generally weaker Sami have been more successful in redemption than have theBasques. While the Sami have built common bodies which officially represent Sami in all fourpartitioning states, the Basques have only a limited transborder cooperation between the BasqueAutonomous Community (BAC) in Spain and non-Basque regional authorities in France. It ismore important to have compatible building blocks in each state (like the three Nordic SamiParliaments), than to have a single powerful one (like the BAC). Without fairly similar andharmonized partitioning states, like the Nordic countries, it is extremely difficult for transborderpolity-building to succeed. Another main conclusion, which disputes the findings of other research,is that redemption is possible even when a group remains partitioned, given that thegoal of statehood is abandoned in favour of a less ambitious transborder homerule. In order torealize this goal, the most generally applicable method is a stepwise strategy aimed at creatingcompatible building blocks in each state. A variant of this is the blueprint strategy, that is, usingan achievement in one state as a model for the struggle in other states. In contrast to nonparti -tioned groups, partitioned groups can refer to their own achievement in other states.The subject of interest here transcends the domestic-international divide. Similarly, theanalysis transcends academic boundaries, mainly those of political theory, international politicsand comparative politics. This combination provides a starting-point for further inquiry into thepattern of overlapping polities which is emerging, and of partition and redemption in particular.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1997. , 277 p.
, Research report / Umeå University, Department of Political Science, ISSN 0349-0831 ; 1997:1
Keyword [en]
Partition, redemption, Machiavelli, Sami, Basque, patriotism, irredentism, polity
Keyword [sv]
Samer, Basker (folk), Patriotism
National Category
Political Science Sociology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-79502ISBN: 91-7191-305-XOAI: diva2:642123
Public defence
1997-05-30, Hörsal MA 121, MIT-huset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:15
Available from: 2013-08-20 Created: 2013-08-20 Last updated: 2013-08-20Bibliographically approved

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