Situated on the geographic margins of two nations, yet imagined as central to each, Transylvania has long been a site of nationalist struggles. Since the fall of communism, these struggles have been particularly intense in Cluj, Transylvania's cultural and political center. Yet heated nationalist rhetoric has evoked only muted popular response. The citizens of Cluj--the Romanian-speaking majority and the Hungarian-speaking minority--have been largely indifferent to the nationalist claims made in their names.
Based on seven years of field research, this book examines not only the sharply polarized fields of nationalist politics--in Cluj, Transylvania, and the wider region--but also the more fluid terrain on which ethnicity and nationhood are experienced, enacted, and understood in everyday life. In doing so the book addresses fundamental questions about ethnicity: where it is, when it matters, and how it works. Bridging conventional divisions of academic labor, Rogers Brubaker and his collaborators employ perspectives seldom found together: historical and ethnographic, institutional and interactional, political and experiential. Further developing the argument of Brubaker's groundbreaking Ethnicity without Groups, the book demonstrates that it is ultimately in and through everyday experience--as much as in political contestation or cultural articulation--that ethnicity and nationhood are produced and reproduced as basic categories of social and political life.
"By drilling deep into the mundane conversations, cares, and relationships among citizens of Cluj-Napoca...[the authors] set out to examine precisely how ethnicity matters....[An] important and conceptually innovative book."--Robert Levgold, Foreign Affairs
"Provides a reality check for those who continue to operate under the myths of the past, while offering valuable insights into the mundane inner workings of everyday ethnicity in the old borderlands of the Russian, Turkish, and Austro-Hungarian empires....The most important contribution of the book is its ability to demystify nationhood in East Central Europe."--Robert A. Saunders, Transitions
"This fascinating, richly detailed, and highly informative study of Cluj in the mixed Hungarian-Romanian Transylvanian part of Romania is based on fieldwork conducted between 1995 and 2001...This is a must read for anyone interested in ethnic or national identity in eastern Europe or, indeed, in any area contested by groups using ethnic or nationalist symbols to announce their presence and promote their interests."--D. Ashley, Choice
"This substantial volume, with its vivid portrayal of the shifting dimensions of ethnicity in Romanian-Transylvanian city of Cluj-Napoca... is a welcome addition both to theory challenging romantic, essentialist identity models as well as to our knowledge of the inner workings of central European life.... Given its strong arguments and impressive array of data about the resourceful, performative, everyday qualities of ethnicity, this book deserves a wide readership."--David A. Kideckel, Slavic Review
"We can only rejoice that through the writing of this book Rogers Brubaker reads anew the theories of nationalism to which he has contributed in the past with the aid of convincing field arguments."--Monica Heintz, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Society
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