States without Nations in the Contemporary World

Marius Calu

This paper aims to explore how the liberal-democratic state model has been exported to post-communist societies and how it has influenced local realities and examine. This has been very problematic in cases like Moldova and Transnistria, where state-building has struggled to synchronize liberal democratic norms with conditions of diversity. Therefore, I investigate whether the multidimensional differences between ethno-national groups and the changing nature of national (civic) identity may require fully customized solutions and tools for the protection, integration or accommodation of all constituent peoples. In relation to this, this paper examines how the lack of congruence between state and society, between state and nation may be exemplified by cases where the state has not yet fully 'created' a nation. Contemporary state formation has increasingly required the extensive accommodation of ethnic diversity under the umbrella of an ethnically-neutral civic identity. This is also evident in modern and long-established democracies like the United Kingdom and Spain in relation to their constituent groups. Firstly, I want to investigate the impact of local realities (local factors) on the adoption of externally-designed models of liberal-democratic governance. Secondly, this research also considers the contemporary tension between the civic identity of plural states and the sub-national forms of ethnic/cultural group identities. Therefore, the intersection of two research directions in the context of democratization of Eastern Europe is the key to this paper: the transformation of liberal-democratic (Western-centric) notions of governance and the perennial tensions between civic and ethnic identities. With the above focus in mind, the primary objective is to analyse the extent to which state-building and nation-building processes remain highly volatile both as norms and practice. Given the unpredictable character of current politics in the region, it is crucial to better understand the implications of these processes from the perspective of both Nationalism and International Relations.

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