Extreme Politics: Nationalism, Violence, and the End of Eastern Europe by Charles King

Extreme Politics: Nationalism, Violence, and the End of Eastern Europe

Charles King
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Why do some violent conflicts endure across the centuries, while others become dimly remembered ancient struggles among forgotten peoples? Is nationalism really the powerful force that it appeared to be in the 1990s? In this wide-ranging and readable set of essays, Charles King examines the conceptual intersection of nationalist ideology, social violence, and the political transformation of Europe and Eurasia over the last two decades. The end of communism seemed to usher in a period of radical change-an era of extreme politics..that pitted nations, ethnic groups, and violent entrepreneurs against one another, from the wars in the Balkans and Caucasus to the apparent upsurge in nationalist mobilization throughout the region. But the last twenty years have also illustrated the incredible diversity of political life after the end of one-party rule. Understanding these changes requires an appreciation for the multiple pathways from communism, as well as the particular ways in which scholars from the West have engaged with the region.
As King shows, recognizing the intellectual predispositions and trajectories in the West is critical to understanding how scholars have interpreted-and at times misinterpreted-the complex politics of the ex-communist East. Extreme Politics engages with themes from the micropolitics of social violence, to the history of nationalism studies, to the nature of migration and demographic change in Eurasia. Published exactly twenty years since the collapse of the Communist system, Extreme Politics charts the end of Eastern Europe..as a place and chronicles the ongoing revolution in the scholarly study of Russia, the Balkans, and the wider postcommunist world.

Publisher Description

Why do some violent conflicts endure across the centuries, while others become dimly remembered ancient struggles among forgotten peoples? Is nationalism really the powerful force that it appeared to be in the 1990s? In this wide-ranging and readable set of essays, Charles King examines the conceptual intersection of nationalist ideology, social violence, and the political transformation of Europe and Eurasia over the last two decades. The end of communism seemed to usher in a period of radical change-an era of “extreme politics” that pitted nations, ethnic groups, and violent entrepreneurs against one another, from the wars in the Balkans and Caucasus to the apparent upsurge in nationalist mobilization throughout the region. But the last twenty years have also illustrated the incredible diversity of political life after the end of one-party rule. Understanding these changes requires an appreciation for the multiple pathways from communism, as well as the particular ways in which scholars from the West have engaged with the region. As King shows, recognizing the intellectual predispositions and trajectories in the West is critical to understanding how scholars have interpreted-and at times misinterpreted-the complex politics of the ex-communist East. Extreme Politics engages with themes from the micropolitics of social violence, to the history of nationalism studies, to the nature of migration and demographic change in Eurasia. Published exactly twenty years since the collapse of the Communist system, Extreme Politics charts the end of “Eastern Europe” as a place and chronicles the ongoing revolution in the scholarly study of Russia, the Balkans, and the wider postcommunist world.

Review
It is a breathtaking and almost encyclopaedic review of the literature on nationalism, social violence, and the particularities of Eastern Europe in relation to those issues. Oscar Pardo, University of Birmingham Charles King's book is primarily aimed at an academic audience, for whom this is clearly a must read. But there are so many worthwhile insights that even the lay reader interested in what has been going on in this fascinating part of the world will gain much of benefit as well. Robin Shepherd, The Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs

Author Biography

Charles King is the Ion Ratiu Chair of Romanian Studies and Associate Professor in the School of Foreign Service and the Department of Government at Georgetown University.

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Extreme Politics: Nationalism, Violence, and the End of Eastern Europe

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