The Macedonian Conflict
Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World
Loring M. Danforth
Greeks and Macedonians are presently engaged in an often heated dispute involving competing claims to a single identity. Each group asserts that they, and they alone, have the right to identify themselves as Macedonians. The Greek government denies the existence of a Macedonian nation and insists that all Macedonians are Greeks, while Macedonians vehemently assert their existence as a unique people. Here Loring Danforth examines the Macedonian conflict in light of contemporary theoretical work on ethnic nationalism, the construction of national identities and cultures, the invention of tradition, and the role of the state in the process of building a nation. The conflict is set in the broader context of Balkan history and in the more narrow context of the recent disintegration of Yugoslavia.
Danforth focuses on the transnational dimension of the "global cultural war" taking place between Greeks and Macedonians both in the Balkans and in the diaspora. He analyzes two issues in particular: the struggle for human rights of the Macedonian minority in northern Greece and the campaign for international recognition of the newly independent Republic of Macedonia. The book concludes with a detailed analysis of the construction of identity at an individual level among immigrants from northern Greece who have settled in Australia, where multiculturalism is an official policy. People from the same villages, members of the same families, living in the northern suburbs of Melbourne have adopted different national identities.
Loring M. Danforth is Professor of Anthropology at Bates College. He is the author of The Death Rituals of Rural Greece and Firewalking and Religious Healing: The Anastenaria of Greece and the American Firewalking Movement, both available from Princeton University Press.