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Partition and Redemption: A Machiavellian Analysis of Sami and Basque Patriotism
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 internationally recognized state borders is permanent. Nevertheless, a recurrent dream of ‘redemption’ (i.e. the building of a self-ruling polity which unifies the separate segments) is capable of inciting patri­otic mobilization even in the face of a very long period of unbroken partition. Little is known about this clash between dream and reality. How can an ethnoterritorial group which is appar­ently permanently partitioned between separate, sovereign states be redeemed? In seeking a solution to this puzzle, I attempt a Machiavellian type of analysis, defined as an approach which com­bines a patriotic perspective with a strategic view of the choice of specific means and ends in 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 territorial setting, the historical process, partitioning state contexts, perceptions of partition and homeland mythology, 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 are partitioned between separate states, are a minority in each one, and lack control over all existing state governments.

The analysis reveals the unexpected result that the less numerous, greater dispersed, more partitioned, and gen­erally weaker Sami have been more successful in redemption than have the Basques. While the Sami have built common bodies which officially represent Sami in all four partitioning states, the Basques have only a limited transborder cooperation between the Basque Autonomous Community (BAC) in Spain and non-Basque regional authorities in France. It is more impor­tant to have com­patible building blocks in each state (like the three Nordic Sami Parliaments), than to have a single powerful one (like the BAC). Without fairly similar and harmonized parti­tioning states, like the Nordic countries, it is ex­tremely difficult for transborder polity-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 the goal of statehood is abandoned in favour of a less ambitious transborder homerule. In order to realize this goal, the most generally applicable method is a stepwise strategy aimed at creating compatible building blocks in each state. A variant of this is the blueprint strategy, that is, using an achievement in one state as a model for the struggle in other states. In contrast to non­parti­tioned groups, partitioned groups can refer to their own achievement in other states.

The subject of interest here transcends the domestic-international divide. Similarly, the analysis tran­scends academic boundaries, mainly those of political theory, inter­national politics and com­parative politics. This combination provides a starting-point for further inquiry into the pattern of overlapping polities which is emerging, and of partition and redemption in particular.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, Department of Political Science , 1997. , p. 277
Keywords [en]
Partition, redemption, Machiavelli, Basque, Sami, patriotism, irredentism, polity
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-37401ISBN: 91-7191-305-X (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-37401DiVA, id: diva2:1282239
Public defence
, Umeå (English)
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-01-25 Created: 2019-01-24 Last updated: 2019-01-25Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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