In the past thirty years, the concept of nation has been redefined in Central and Eastern, as well as in Western Europe. In Central and Eastern Europe, the nation was reconstructed along ethnic lines as a revival of ethnic identity took place following the collapse of Communism. These countries aimed to strengthen their ethnic or national identity by reaching out to their ethnic kin living abroad as minorities or as part of the Western diaspora. In Central and Eastern Europe, citizenship and voting rights for ethnic kin became the most important tools for nation-building across borders and for reconstructing the national community.1 Western European countries also redefined their concept of nation as they reacted to the demographic changes that took place following decades of intensive migration into their territories from outside Europe. These countries embraced even more closely the non-ethnic concept of the nation, derived from its political or civic concept as a group of people living together on a territory, regardless of nationality. Western nation states gave immigrants, many from their former colonies, citizenship and voting rights to integrate them into their societies.2 Indeed, many Western scholars greeted those measures as tools for integrating immigrants, but criticized their use as means to strengthen the ethnic identity of national minorities. They came to regard granting citizenship and voting rights to immigrants as the harbinger of a post-national world in which ethnic identity would play a diminishing role, and citizenship would no longer be tied to a particular nation.3

The differences in attitude toward ethnic identity and migration between Central and Eastern Europe and Western Europe came into focus at the time of the 2015 migration crisis.4 Central Eastern European countries were at the forefront of openly resisting the attempts of the European Union to distribute migrants among EU members. Western governments, by contrast, welcomed migrants from outside Europe and presented them to their populations as refugees who needed support.

The diverging historical development of Western Europe on the one hand and Central and Eastern Europe on the other is key to understanding the different approaches towards ethnic identity and migration. Western nations were the products of a long process of nation-building that reached back to the Middle Ages. When national movements formed around 1800, they took place under constitutional conditions and at a time when capitalism was beginning to take root. Here the state was usually established before the nation, and the traditional nation state consisted of the trinity of nation, state, and territory. The political definition of the nation gained the upper hand as a group of people living together on a territory regardless of nationality, where the bond between citizens was not a shared identity but allegiance to the law. Nationally relevant conflicts found expression in political terms. This promoted the development of well-functioning democracies in Western Europe and high levels of state legitimacy. In Central and Eastern Europe, by contrast, national borders and national identities were often not congruent, and majorities were frequently turned into minorities in their historical native land. Mobilization around ethnicity was necessary for the attainment of national independence from the empires in which these nations had been incorporated.5 Around 1800, elites in Central and Eastern Europe began to mobilize the nation around ethnicity before the state was formed, and the ethnic origin (ius sanguinis) principle was given priority. Many new nations were formed for which ethnic identity was essential, as they grappled with nation-building and numerous minorities on their territory. Ethnicity played a key role as nations were rebuilt or founded and was used to reconstruct narratives about the nation.6

Central and Eastern European countries experienced decades of Soviet rule and defined their opposition to it in national terms. Communism left a legacy of widespread mistrust and atomization, and of weak civil societies which had to be rebuilt.7 Following the collapse of Communism, Central and Eastern European countries faced the challenge of simultaneously constructing nations and democratic systems of government. Western European countries, by contrast, had completed their nation-building many decades before, and could rely on well-functioning democracies.8

Many of the countries of the Central and Eastern European region are newly created nation states for whom it was particularly important to define their relationship to the nation, and to have this reflected in their constitutions.9 With the exception of Romania, the states in which Hungarian minorities live are newly independent states. Many of the new nation states are kin-states for their ethnic majority, but have national minorities on their territories. (Ethnic Hungarians are the largest national minority in Slovakia: 8.5 per cent in 2011.) The representatives of the majority regard themselves as the legitimate ‘owners of the state’ or the ‘core nation’ and engage in nationalism to assimilate the minorities on their territory. They often argue that the majority nation is weak in the fields of culture, economy, and/or demography, and call for its defence against the minority.10

The concept of the nation has a special meaning to ethnic Hungarians in neighbouring countries, since they are part of the ethno-cultural Hungarian nation and also part of the political nation of their home countries. As a result of the Treaty of Trianon of 1920, over three million ethnic Hungarians suddenly found themselves citizens of neighbouring states. They became ‘coerced communities’ because while they remained in the same place, they were transformed from ethnic majority into ethnic minority communities. Those Hungarian nationals who opted to stay in their place of birth instead of moving to Hungary were divided between the territories of the newly created countries, and experienced assimilation pressure from states which sought to establish their identity by forcing the dominant culture onto national minorities. This treatment strongly influenced the identity and national aspirations of the minorities. Hungarian minorities did not develop substantial loyalty to the states in which they lived, and their history has been marked by struggles to survive as ethnic communities.11 Since their separation from the kin-state, Hungarian co-nationals have continued to speak the same language and share similar traditions, and have maintained a strong sense of national identity.12


I argue that nationalism is a major driving force behind nation-building in post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe, which influences the attitudes of the home state, kin-state, and the national minority. For the purposes of my analysis, I define nationalism as a social process by which both the majority and the minority seek to organize end institutionalize society along ethnic lines. The goal of political actors engaging in nationalism is to create and maintain the cultural identity of the nation or the national minority. Nations, majority and minority, pursue their own nationalizing projects to preserve their identity and culture. The efforts of the kin-state to support its ethnic kin and to establish a legal or political relationship with them by granting them citizenship reflects nationalism. Home states also act in a nationalizing manner when they support their ethnic kin abroad, and seek to assimilate the minorities living on their territory.13

A review of the scholarly literature shows that there is no universally accepted definition of what a nation is. The nation is essentially a contested political concept. Nation states have a great deal of leeway when it comes to adopting their own definition of the nation and deciding whom they regard as minorities, which means that politics, interests, and power often determine how the nation is interpreted.

Although numerous theories have been promulgated since the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to this day there is still no agreement among scholars about when nations were first established, why they exist, and whether nations or nationalism took form first. Answers to the question of how nations are formed range from spontaneous development as natural communities to the intellectual constructions of the political elite. Scholars debate whether the concept of the nation responds to the needs of the population, or is used by the political elite to manipulate the masses.14

Many scholars agree that nations were formed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and became the basis of nation states, which carried out their institutionalization on a national basis. The concept of the nation is central to the development of nationalism. The nationalizing state organizes itself around the concept of the nation, which it interprets and employs as a means of engendering loyalty toward itself. Other scholars argue that the state emerged first, and incorporated the people who lived on its territory.15

Under the ‘essentialist’ branch of the study of nationalism, ethnic belonging is an objective category and an inalienable and unchangeable part of human nature. Nations are unique and offer a source of stability in the world. The ‘primordialist’ view of this branch of scholarship regards nations as ancient and natural communities. The individual becomes a member of a nation or an ethnic community through birth, and national identity will be his or her primary identification. The ‘perennialist’ branch of scholarship holds that the formation of national identity preceded the formation of nations. Liah Greenfeld regards nations as timeless historical categories, and ethnicity as the most stable form of social organization, having survived centuries. Accordingly, the idea of nationhood and the phenomenon of national consciousness and its expression in nationalism have appeared in various forms throughout much of the history of literate civilization. Ancient Jews and Athenians, the Middle Ages, and sixteenth-century England all serve as examples of premodern nationalism.16

The ethnic-symbolist view of national identity holds that a common ethnic past, as well as myths and symbols rooted in a shared history, are essential for identity formation and nation-building.17 In Anthony D. Smith’s view, the ethnic myths, narratives, and symbols of nations predated nationalism, and formed the basis for a common cultural heritage which is unlikely to disappear in the foreseeable future.18 National identity is always tied to a political community, and is made up of the historical common territory, common myths, and historical memories, common mass culture, common rights and duties, and a common economy. In his view, modern nations developed from premodern ethnic communities, called ‘ethnies’. According to Smith, nationalism was born out of the nation, and became ‘an ideological movement for attaining and maintaining autonomy, unity, and identity on behalf of a population deemed by some of its members to constitute an actual or potential nation’.19

At the other end of the spectrum, the ‘modernist’ view of national identity regards nations as constructs of capitalism and the modern nation state. Nationalism is a modern political doctrine which aims to connect nation, territory, and state.20 National identity is constructed by the nation-building elites, who introduce symbols such as the national anthem and national flag, which are accepted by the population and come to personify the nation.21 Eric Hobsbawm rejected the idea that nations had emerged from historical ethnic communities. In his view, emerging capital markets helped in the creation of nationalism by introducing the myth of common historical roots. Since the French Revolution, communities which define themselves as nations have set the goal of establishing a state on a designated territory which they control, and which has clearly demarcated borders and a homogeneous population.22

The postmodern constructivist strand of research, which dominates the discourse about nations, no longer regards nations and ethnicity as clearly defined, real existing entities, but rather as ‘constructed’, ‘contingent’, ‘contested’, or ‘fluid.’23 Pogonyi, for example, explains the lack of existence of nations as follows:

Nations are not entities and they do not have an essence. Nations are real because they are imagined, projected, and assumed. The reality of the nation lies in its use as an instrument of political action, legitimation, and mobilization, or as a frame of perception, articulation, and identification. In each case, nationhood is a narrative of belonging and sameness – articulated either by individuals who use national categories to structure social reality and narrate their own identity, or by political agents who frame political action as national projects, or by social institutions that classify individuals along national categories.24

From the point of view of political philosophy, as Canovan argues, ‘the most significant feature of nationhood is its role in generating collective power, its capacity to create an “us” that can be mobilized and represented, and for which a surprising number of people are prepared to make sacrifices’.25


Most scholars differentiate between ethnic and civic nationalism, and use this dichotomy as one of the conceptual building blocks in nationalism research. This shapes Central and Eastern European as well as Western discourses about nationalism. Under the ethnic concept of the nation, the identity of the national community is a substantiated reality based on a common ancestry or culture, which forms the basis for the functioning of the nation as a political community. One is born into the nation, and does not become a member through any obligation to participate in political life. One characteristic of cultural nations is a high level of ethnic homogeneity and an ‘organic’ character shaped by historical development.26

In contrast to the organic character of the ethno-cultural nation, the civic or political nation is conceived as a nation which is imagined and constructed from above. The political concept of the nation derives the legitimacy of the political community not from cultural traditions or common ancestry but from a ‘social contract’ with the state, where place of residence, taxation, and the rule of law form the basis of the political community. Under civic nationalism, the state becomes a community of citizens held together by a common territory and government. Adherents of this view argue that ethnicity plays only a secondary role, and that the concept of nation can be defined as a community of citizens living on the territory of a state.27 Each person can become a citizen by accepting the norms of the state, regardless of ethnic origin. It is citizenship which determines a person’s nationality and entitles members of the state to social and political participation. Citizens develop loyalty toward the nation state and a modern political community emerges.28

The dichotomy between the ethno-cultural and the civic nation, or political and cultural nations, was formulated in the aftermath of the Second World War, and gained fresh impetus in the wake of the violent ethnic conflicts in South-Eastern Europe after the collapse of Communism.29 The origins of this dichotomy go back to 1907, when the German historian Friedrich Meinecke first distinguished between political and cultural nations. In the Franco-German debate over the ownership of Alsace-Lorraine, he spoke of the French ‘state nation’ (Staatsnation) and the German ‘cultural nation’ (Kulturnation).30 The Prague-born American scholar Hans Kohn addressed the dichotomy between East and West in his discussion of civic and ethno-cultural nationalism in the aftermath of the Second World War. Kohn argued that civic nationalism was prevalent in Western Europe, while ethnic nationalism was confined to Central and Eastern Europe, and to peripheral areas of Western Europe. Kohn presented civic nationalism as ‘liberal, civic’, and ethnic nationalism as ‘illiberal, ethnic’.31 The Czech historian Miroslav Hroch also stressed the role of social transformation, such as mobility, communication, and education in the differing development of nations in Western and Central and Eastern Europe. In his view, elites in Central and Eastern Europe lacked political experience, and could only articulate conflicts in national categories.32 The German philosopher Jürgen Habermas introduced the concept of ‘constitutional patriotism’ or civic nationalism, which still exerts great influence among scholars. Habermas developed the concept of ‘constitutional patriotism’ against the background of Germany’s involvement in the Second World War. The idea behind ‘constitutional patriotism’ was that Germans should identify with Germany’s constitutional system instead of the German nation, which had brought them war and destruction. Under this concept, the development of a European identity was preferred over German identity.33

According to Kohn and other scholars, under ethnic nationalism formed around the ethno-cultural nation, the governing elite left little room for free expression and social mobility. Ethnic nationalism came to be identified in intellectual discourse with backwardness. The civic nation, in contrast, was associated by Kohn and other scholars with progress. Under civic nationalism, citizens’ loyalty is reserved for the state in which they live, and it in turn provides them protection and equality before the law. Here the governing elite was less oppressive, and welcomed technological progress and social mobility.34 The term ‘civic’ still appears in the dominant political and social science discourse as something positive, as opposed to ‘ethnic-national’, which has acquired negative connotations.35 Ethnic nationalism came to be identified with ‘ethnic nationalists’ and civil nationalism with ‘civic democrats’.36

Ethnic Hungarians do not fit into the political concept of the nation which equates citizenship and nationality with the people living on the territory of a particular state. Defining the identity of ethnic Hungarians exclusively through the political concept of the nation based on their citizenship in their home countries would mean that they are not allowed to decide based on their cultural heritage whether they are Hungarians. If the political view of the nation is correct, Catalans, Swedes in Finland, and many other national minorities exist only as part of the political nations in which they live, and their minority rights have no foundation. Yet nationalities have rights in most EU countries.37 As a rule, the states in which ethnic Hungarians live in large numbers have nothing in common with the concept of ‘civic nationalism’, which takes a neutral stance toward minorities. The home states behave as ‘ethnic nationalists’, as they seek to assimilate Hungarian minorities and build their homogeneous ethnic nation.38

Most scholars agree that no states exist which fully embody either civic or ethnic nationalism. Studies indicate that nationalism also plays a key role in the citizenship policies of Western nations, and that the distinction between the Western ‘political’ nation and the Eastern ‘ethnic’ nation is exaggerated. European citizenship policies contain both ethno-cultural and civic elements. The idea of using citizenship as a tool of nation-building across state borders has precedents in Western Europe. There are no examples of states which can be regarded as purely political, ethno-culturally neutral nations. The criteria of civic nationalism are difficult to fulfil, even in Western countries. The two prime examples of civic nationalism, the United States and France, have many cultural features which foster the assimilation of minorities, placing them in the ethnic-cultural category.39

One can agree with Joppke, who concludes that ‘All nations are fundamentally defined by descent and origins; which makes them different from, say, class, age, sex or lifestyle as alternative (and often competing) forms of allegiance and group organization. Conversely, all nations have a “civic” element because they are an association of strangers that transcend the immediate kinship nexus. Nevertheless, a “civic nation” as being voluntary and contractual only, without reference to origins, is a fiction, meaningful only in the polemical contrast to the “ethnic nation”.’40



The historical development of nation concepts in Hungary reflects both the ethno-cultural and political concepts of the nation.41 In medieval Hungary, the community of the nobility, expressed in the Latin term natio Hungarica, encompassed not only ethnic Hungarians but also other nationalities. Under this arrangement, belonging to the political community was more important than nationality.42 This political concept was also dominant during the period when Hungary was part of the Habsburg Monarchy, and had to rely on Vienna for the maintenance of law and order. As the Hungarian elite sought independence from the Habsburg Empire, it turned to liberalism as the guiding principle. The ethno-cultural concept came to the fore as a substantial part of the Hungarian population became a minority outside the country’s borders because of the 1920 Trianon Peace Treaty.43 As Hungary sought to regain these lost territories, it turned to the ethno-cultural concept of the nation, according to which common culture determined membership in the nation. During the Second World War, some of the territories which had been part of Hungary during the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy were briefly returned.

The current Hungarian controversy over what constitutes the nation reaches back to the early twentieth century, and still plays a key role in the conflicts between Hungarian political camps. The attitudes of Hungarian intellectuals toward their ethnic kin were also strongly shaped by the Communist era. The Kádár regime (1956–1988) adopted an ‘antinational’ or ‘anti-ethnicist’ attitude, condemning symbolic politics and national rhetoric. In the late 1980s and at the time of the 1990 parliamentary elections, the problems of ethnic Hungarians in neighbouring countries and the question of who belongs to the nation was raised again. By the early 1990s, different interpretations of the concept of the nation had begun to re-emerge, and a competition over the legitimate interpretation of the nation began. The conservative side adopted a ‘national’ attitude that regarded the ethnic kin beyond the borders as an integral part of the nation. Conservatives saw an urgent need for the engagement of the kin-state to help its ethnic kin against the assimilatory pressures of the majority. They advocated collective rights for minorities which would encompass a form of autonomy, and sought to unite Hungarians across the borders through integration in the EU.44

The ‘anti-national’ attitude continues to be embraced by the Hungarian left-liberal political elite in the post-Communist era. Individual rights and the right of association are deemed adequate for minorities to articulate their interests. The left-liberal political camp holds that the ethnic kin are part of the political nation of their home states, which are primarily responsible for them. The national and anti-national approaches are mutually exclusive, and the two large political camps are unable to find a common language. This causes a ‘huge deficit in political identity’ especially against the background of the Kádár regime’s policy of not speaking openly about Hungarian minorities.45 The two contrasting ‘anti-national’ and ‘national’ attitudes have prevailed and shaped the kin-state policies of the various Hungarian governments since the democratic transformation because they run parallel to one another, and generate cohesion within their respective political camps. The cleavages that historically existed between the political camps around the concept of nation have deepened.46

The historian Gábor Egry summarizes the controversy as follows: ‘who, how and why are they members of this community?’ According to Egry, the citizens living in Hungary are members of a ‘republic’ which developed historically and its ‘borders are basically defined by the common affairs, about which common decisions have to be made’. Consequently, the ‘republic’ distinguishes, at least on a theoretical level, between those who live on the territory of the state and have the right to decide about common affairs and those who live elsewhere and do not have these rights.47 Egry declares that ethnic Hungarians abroad ‘are under no circumstances fully fledged members of the “republican” community since they are tied to Hungary through far fewer common interests than those living in Hungary, while a number of common interests bind them to the state and its citizens where they live.’ He calls on individual ethnic Hungarians to join the community of the ‘republic’ by moving to Hungary and taking on the responsibilities of citizenship.48

In contrast to the Hungarian experience, the political elite and populations of countries with Hungarian minorities lived for long decades under a nationalist variety of Communism, and it continues to shape their views to this day. (A prominent example is Romania under the nationalist communist leader Nicolae Ceauşescu.) In these countries, the political elite reached a minimal consensus over the concept of the nation and kin-state policy. This consensus allowed most of the neighbouring countries where Hungarian minorities live to adopt a new constitution and institutionalize relations with their ethnic kin through dual citizenship a decade earlier than Hungary. The debates over how to support ethnic kin were of a technical nature, and hardly touched upon the national self-definition of the state. The government’s kin-state policies enjoy the support of most of the academic community, as well as of the major political forces. Romanian scholars, for example, do not as a rule present dual citizenship and voting rights for Romanians in Moldova as a source of tension in bilateral or international relations. They tend to emphasize the civic features of Romanian legislation toward ethnic Romanians abroad, and regard the majority nation as the ethnic group that rightfully dominates the major fields of public life.49


The concept of ethnic identity or ethnicity is intertwined with the concepts of nation and nationalism, and is just as controversial among scholars. Some scholars regard ethnicity as something constant which each individual and national group has, while others point to the changing and constructed nature of ethnic identity based on the myth of common ancestry. Other scholars define nationality on the basis of the place where one was born, and ethnicity on that of a common ancestry.50

It is generally accepted that ethnicity and ethnic identity are constructed through complicated processes of socialization, language, and collective history.51 A clear sign of the existence of ethnic identity is that ethnic groups declare that they belong to an ethnic group or nation. Most Hungarians in neighbouring countries identify themselves as ethnic Hungarians and display a Hungarian national consciousness. Ethnic identity plays a key role in how nations see themselves. Commenting on the constructed nature of ethnic identity, Richard Jenkins remarks: ‘If ethnicity is imagined, however, it is anything but imaginary. It is “real”, in that people orient their lives and actions in terms of it, and it has very definite consequences.’52 Nations use ethnic identity to draw imaginative boundaries that differentiate them from ‘others’, and use identity as a marker of inclusion and exclusion. For Hungarians who have lived their lives as a minority, ethnic identity has played a key role in their efforts to survive and reproduce their culture. They are reminded of their ethnic identity in their daily struggles with the majority, as they seek to exercise basic rights such as speaking their mother tongue in public. Internal and external boundaries in terms of ‘we’ and ‘they’ or ‘friend’ and ‘enemy’ play a key role in preserving national identity.53

There is no universally accepted definition of minorities, which gives states a great deal of leeway in deciding which groups they choose to recognize as ethnic minorities. On the international level, the only point of consensus is that all have the right to regard themselves as members of a given minority, but should not be forced to see themselves as such if they do not wish to. I define national minorities here as groups which are organized and recognizable categories, and systematically take a stand on issues correlated to the minority and majority. The state’s definition of who belongs to the minority is crucial for a minority’s cultural development, since state recognition is required for access to resources. The official census that determines the number of minorities who live in a country also directly affects the rights and resources that minorities receive.54

The ethnicity of the majority and minority is interpreted differently in scholarly literature. The book of Brubaker, Feischmidt, and Fox about relations between the ethnic majority and minority in the city of Cluj-Napoca (in Hungarian: Kolozsvár) illustrates this. The book proceeds from the premise that Hungarians and Romanians get along very well in everyday life, and that the ethnic entrepreneurs of the political elite are the ones who stir up tensions. In the book, the majority nation is portrayed as the ‘mainstream’ unmarked category that corresponds to majority expectations, while the minority represents the marked category which diverts from the mainstream. As the authors put it: ‘The normative cultural homogeneity that everywhere accompanies the rise of the nation state marks as minorities those that do not share the dominant culture; at the same time, it “unmarks” and de-ethnicizes the dominant culture.’55 In this interpretation, the majority is ‘mainstream’ because it is what is expected and is therefore the unmarked category. The minority represents the marked category which diverts from the mainstream.56

The book illustrates that cooperation between the two groups is possible in certain fields, but in the struggle for political power the ethnic character and asymmetry of power between the majority and minority comes to the fore. For Hungarians who have lived their lives as part of the minority, the ‘marked’ culture of their national identity has played a key role in their efforts to survive and reproduce their culture.57 The ethnicity of the majority nation tends to be considered civic even if it follows the ethnic goal of assimilating minorities. ‘The minority is condemned for being ethnic and retrogressive, while the majority is rewarded for behaving in an ethnic fashion because majority ethnicity is seen as civic and thus a force for stability.’58 When, for example, minorities demonstrate against restrictions on the use of the minority language, they remind the majority that the ‘unmarked’ dominant Romanian culture behaves in an ethnic way.59

In recent years, ethnic identity has become a much-debated topic in Western Europe. This is a reaction to changes in the ethnic composition of populations, and the problems encountered by the integration of migrants whose cultural traditions differ from those of the majority. The relationship between the nation and the state is being re-evaluated, and dissatisfaction voiced over how Western European democracies function. Support has grown for political parties which speak up against migration and the de-ethnicization of the majority population.60 Today, a growing number of Western countries use citizenship not only to integrate migrants, but also to strengthen the ethnic identity of the majority. A key topic of public debate is whether national identity entails not only learning a language and attaining citizenship, but also sharing a common ancestry. The discussion revolves around the question of whether the ethnic identity of nation states should be strengthened or weakened, and whether nation states will still play a role in today’s globalized world. Joppke sees the liberal Western state ‘in the crossfire of countervailing trends and forces, some pushing for its de-ethnicization’ to reduce its ethnic character others instead pushing for ‘re-ethnicization’ to strengthen its ethnic identity.’61 Redefining the concept of the nation is likely to remain a subject of discussion for a long time to come, as nation states undergo demographic and social changes.



1 Rainer Bauböck, ‘Stakeholder Citizenship and Transnational Political Participation: A Normative Evaluation of External Voting’, Fordham Law Review 75/5/4 (2007).

2 Will Kymlicka and Magda Opalski (eds), Can Liberal Pluralism Be Exported? Western Political Theory and Ethnic Relations in Eastern Europe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).

3 Yasemin Nuhoglu Soysal, Limits of Citizenship: Migrants and Postnational Membership in Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995); Claus Leggewie, ‘Transnational Citizenship Ideals and European Realities’, Eurozine (3 April 2013),

4 Éva Eszter Szabó, ‘The Iron Curtain Metaphor and the Fence Walls of the US and Hungarian Border Barriers, Part 1’, Hungarian Review 10/2 (March 2019), 25, 32; and Éva Eszter Szabó, ‘The Iron Curtain Metaphor and the Fence Walls of the US and Hungarian Border Barriers, Part 2’, Hungarian Review 10/3 (May 2019), 15, 18–19; Leggewie, ‘Transnational Citizenship Ideals’; Christian Joppke, ‘Populismus, Erst die Moral, dann das Fressen (Populism, First the Morals then the Cake)’, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (12 June 2017),

5 Hans Kohn, The Idea of Nationalism (New Brunswick: Transactions Publishers, 2005 (1944)); ‘Western and Eastern Nationalisms’, in John Hutchinson and Anthony D. Smith (eds), Nationalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994); Friedrich Meinecke, Cosmopolitanism and the National State (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970).

6 Theda Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia, and China (New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979); Samuel P Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996).

7 George Schöpflin, ‘Hungary and the EU: The Status Law and After’, in Kántor et al. (eds), The Hungarian Status Law: Nation Building and/or Minority Protection (Sapporo: Hokkaido University Slavic Eurasian Studies no. 4, 2004), 87–104.

8 Erika Harris, Nationalism Theories and Cases (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009).

9 Mark R. Beissinger, ‘How Nationalisms Spread: Eastern Europe Adrift the Tides and Cycles of Nationalist Contention’, Social Research 63/1 (Spring 1996, 97–146.

10 Sammy Smooha, ‘The Model of Ethnic Democracy, The Fate of Ethnic Democracy in Post-Communist Europe’, ECMI – European Centre for Minority Issues (2001); Roger Brubaker, ‘Nationalizing States Revisited: Projects and Processes of Nationalisation in Post-Soviet States’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 34/11 (November 2011), 1785–1814.

11 Nándor Bárdi, Otthon és haza: tanulmányok a romániai magyar kisebbség történetéről (Home and Homeland: Studies about the History of the Hungarian Minority in Romania) (Csíkszereda: Pro-Print Könyvkiadó, 2013).

12 László Öllös, ‘Nemzet és külpolitika’ (Nation and Foreign Policy), Magyar Kisebbség 10/3–3 (2006), 41–42, 165–185.

13 Zoltán Kántor, A Nemzet intézményesítése a rendszerváltás utáni Magyarországon (The Institutionalisation of the Nation after the Change of Regime in Hungary) (Budapest: Osiris Kiadó, 2014).

14 Anthony D. Smith, The Ethnic Origins of Nations, (Malden, Blackwell Publishing 1987); Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, (London: Verso, 1983); Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism. New Perspectives on the Past Series (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983); Eric J. Hobsbawn, Nations and Nationalisms since 1788. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).

15 Zoltán Kántor (ed.), Autonomies in Europe: Solutions and Challenges (Budapest: L’Harmattan, 2014).

16 Liah Greenfeld, Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992); Zoltán Kántor, ‘The Concept of Nation in the Central and East European ‘Status Laws’’, in: Zoltán Kántor et al. (eds), The Hungarian Status Law: Nation Building and/or Minority Protection (Sapporo: Hokkaido University Slavic Eurasian Studies, no. 4, 2004).

17 John A. Armstrong, Nations before Nationalism (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1982).

18 Anthony D. Smith, National Identity (London: Penguin Books, 1991).

19 Smith National Identity, 14.

20 Ernest Gellner, Thought and Change (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1964); Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1983).

21 Eric Hobsbawm, and Terence Ranger, Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983).

22 Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780.

23 Andreas Wimmer, Ethnic Boundary Making (Oxford: University Press, 2013).

24 Szabolcs Pogonyi, Extraterritorial Ethnic Politics, Discourses, and Identities in Hungary (Palgrave Studies in Citizenship Transitions, Springer Nature, 2017), 14.

25 Margaret Canovan, Nationhood and Political Theory (Northhampton: Edward Elgar Publishing, 1996), 3.

26 Miklós Bakk, ‘A nemzet a 21. században’ (The Nation in the 21th Century), Pro Minoritate 3 (2017), 3–9); ‘Nemzet – határteremtés és modernitás’ (Nation – boundary making and modernity), in László Szarka, Balázs Vizi, Balázs Majtényi and Zoltán Kántor (eds), Nemzetfogalmak és etnopolitikai modellek Kelet-Közép-Európában (Nation Concepts and Ethnopolitical Models in East Central Europe) (Budapest: Gondolat Kiadó, 2007), 55–69.

27 Christian Joppke, Selecting by Origin. Ethnic Migration in the Liberal State (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005); Kohn, The Idea of Nationalism; Friedrich Meineke, Weltbürgertum und Nationalstaat: Studien zur Genesis des deutschen Nationalstaates (World Bourgeoisie and Nation State: Studies of the Genesis of the German Nation State) (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1962).

28 Stephen Shulman, ‘Challenging the Civic/Ethnic and West/East Dichotomies in the Study of Nationalism’, Comparative Political Studies (1 July 2002).

29 Hans Kohn, ‘Western and Eastern Nationalisms’, in John Hutchinson and Anthony D. Smith (eds): Nationalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994); Szabolcs Pogonyi, Mária M. Kovács, and Zsolt Körtvélyesi, ‘The Politics of External Kin-State Citizenship in East Central Europe’, EUDO Citizenship Observatory (October 2010),

30 Friedrich Meineke, Weltbürgertum und Nationalstaat: Studien zur Genesis des deutschen Nationalstaates; Cosmopolitanism and the National State (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970).

31 Kohn, The Idea of Nationalism; ‘Western and Eastern Nationalisms’.

32 Miroslav Hroch, Social Preconditions of National Revival in Europe. A Comparative Analysis of the Social Composition of Patriotic Groups among the Smaller European Nations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1985).

33 Jürgen Habermas, ‘Citizenship and National Identity: Some Reflections on the Future of Europe’, in Ronald Beiner (ed.), Theorizing Citizenship (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995), 155–282.

34 Kohn, The Idea of Nationalism; Hroch, Social Preconditions of National Revival in Europe.

35 Pogonyi et al., ‘The Politics of External Kin-State Citizenship in East Central Europe’; Bauböck, ‘Stakeholder Citizenship and Transnational Political Participation: A Normative Evaluation of External Voting’.

36 Bernard Yack, ‘The Myth of the Civic Nation’, Critical Review 10/2 (1996), 193–211.

37 Öllös, ‘Nemzet és külpolitika’ (Nation and Foreign Policy).

38 Tamás Kiss, Defining the Nation. Citizenship Policies, Classificatory Struggles and Discourses Crosscutting the Idea of National Reunification in Hungary and Romania (manuscript, 2015), 7–95.

39 Erika Harris, Nationalism Theories and Cases (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009), 172–175.

40 Joppke, Selecting by Origin, 17.

41 János Gyurgyák, Ezzé lett magyar hazátok. A magyar nemzeteszme és nacionalizmus története (‘This is What Became of Your Hungarian Homeland. A History of the Idea of Nation and of Nationalism in Hungary) (Budapest: Osiris, 2007).

42 Gergely Egedy, ‘Nation-Building and Kin-Minorities: The Strategies of Hungarian Conservatism’, in Karl Cordell and Konrad Jajecznik (eds), The Transformation of Nationalism in Central and Eastern Europe. Ideas and Structures (Warsaw: University of Warsaw, 2015), 79–94; Iván Halász, ‘A magyar politikai közösség jogi újragondolása 2012 után – kiindulópontok, eszközök, dilemmák és veszélyek’ (The Legal Redefinition of the Hungarian Political Community after 2012 – starting points, methods, dilemmas, and dangers), Kisebbségkutatás 3 (2013), 152–177.

43 Halász, ‘A magyar politikai közösség jogi újragondolása 2012 után’, 152–77.

44 Nándor Bárdi, ‘Different Images of the Future of the Hungarian Communities in Neighbouring Countries, 1989–2012’, European Review 21/4 (2013), 530–552.

45 Bárdi, ‘Different Images of the Future of the Hungarian Communities, 530–52.

46 Bárdi, ‘Different Images of the Future of the Hungarian Communities, 530–52.

47 Gábor Egry, Otthonosság és idegenség identitáspolitika és nemzetfelfogás Magyarországon a rendszerváltás óta (Being at Home and Feeling Like a Stranger. Identity Politics and Nation Concepts in Hungary since the Change of Regime) ( Budapest: Napvilág Kiadó, 2010), 159.

48 Egry, Otthonosság és idegenség, 160, 162.

49 Tamás Kiss, ‘Etnikai hegemónia és transznacionalizmus? A román közvélemény viszonya az erdélyi magyar etnopolitikai célkitüzésekhez és a magyar nemzetpolitikához’ (Ethnic Hegemony and Transnationalism? The Relationship of Romanian Public Opinion to Transylvanian Hungarian Ethnopolitical Goals and to Hungarian National Policy), Pro minoritate (Winter 2015), 3–34,

50 A. D. Smith, National Identity.

51 Fredrik Barth, ‘Introduction’, in Fredrik Barth (ed.), Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: the Social Organization of Culture Difference (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1969), 9–38.

52 Richard Jenkins, ‘The Limits of Identity: Ethnicity, Conflict, and Politics’ (Sheffield: Sheffield University, Online Papers in Social Research (ShOP)) (2 November 2000); Richard Jenkins, Nations and Nationalisms (London: Sage, 2008); Barth, Ethnic Groups and Boundaries.

53 Mikós Bakk, ‘A nemzet a 21. században’ (The Nation in the 21th Century), Pro Minoritate 3 (2017), 3–9; Carl Schmitt, ‘Der Begriff des Politischen’ (The Definition of the Political) (München: Duncker and Humboldt, 1932); Irina Culic, ‘Dual Citizenship Policies in Central and Eastern Europe’, Working Papers in Romanian Minority Studies 15 (2009), 5–32.

54 Magdalena Dembinska, László Marácz, and Márton Tonk, ‘Introduction to the Special Section: Minority Politics and the Territoriality Principle in Europe’, Nationalities Papers 42/3 (2014), 355– 375,

55 Roger Brubaker, Margit Feischmidt, and Jon Fox, Nationalist Politics and Everyday Ethnicity in a Transylvanian Town (Princeton: University Press, 2008), 19.

56 Kiss, Defining the Nation.

57 Brubaker et al., Nationalist Politics and Everyday Ethnicity in a Transylvanian Town, 19.

58 George Schöpflin, ‘Hungary and the EU: the Status Law and After’, 215–223.

59 Tamás Kiss, ‘Nemzeti diskurzusok hálójában’ (In the Net of National Discourses ), in Magyar Kisebbség Nemzetpolitikai Szemle 18/3–4 (2013), 69–70.

60 Karl Cordell, in Karl Cordell and Konrad Jajecznik (eds), The Transformation of Nationalism in Central and Eastern Europe. Ideas and Structures (Warsaw: University of Warsaw, 2015), 11.

61 Christian Joppke, Citizenship and Immigration (Cambridge: Polity Press, UK, 2010), 32.

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