IICRR Research Fellow Dr Abel Polese has co-edited a book Informal Nationalism After Communism: The Everyday Construction of Post-Socialist Identities together with Dr Oleksandra Seliverstova (Free University of Brussels), Dr Emilia Pawlusz (Tallinn University) and Dr Jeremy Morris (Aarhus University). This book is published by I.B. Tauris.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, nation building and identity construction in the post-socialist region have been the subject of extensive academic research. The majority of these studies have taken a ‘top-down’ approach – focusing on the variety of ways in which governments have sought to define the nascent nation states – and in the process have often oversimplified the complex and overlapping processes at play across the region. Drawing on research on the Balkans, Central Asia, the Caucasus and Eastern Europe, this book focuses instead on the role of non-traditional, non-politicised and non-elite actors in the construction of identity. Across topics as diverse as school textbooks, turbo folk and home decoration, contributors – each an academic with extensive on-the-ground experience – identify and analyse the ways that individuals living across the post-socialist region redefine identity on a daily basis, often by manipulating and adapting state policy. In the process, Nation Building in the Post-Socialist Region demonstrates the necessity of holistic, trans-national and inter-disciplinary approaches to national identity construction rather than studies limited to a single-state territory.