W086
The global character of minority questions in the new Europe

Convenors:
Antigoni Papanikolaou (Sussex University)
Zerrin Biner (Cambridge University)
Discussant:
Yael Navaro-Yashin, Cambridge and Jane Cowan, Sussex
Stream:
Worskhops
Location:
Queens 1.15
Start time:
19 September, 2006 at 11:30
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

The panel will explore minority questions - the formation of identifications, the naming of identities, and the articulations of claims and their trajectories across institutions - as produced by and negotiated within a European global nexus of minorities, states and international institutions.

Long abstract:

Public discourse on minority questions, articulated by minority organisations, NGOs, journalists and concerned citizens, tends to be framed in terms of the state-minority relation. Similarly, state-centric approaches of political philosophy have set the terms of public and scholarly debate, posing minority questions under rubrics of nation, multiculturalism and constitutionalism. Yet the worldwide efflorescence of grass-roots struggles as well as efforts at international level to define, and articulate global standards pertaining to, collectivities located within, or across, state borders, such as indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities, demonstrate that minority questions are global: produced within a nexus of relations and processes that span the local to the supranational and which anthropologists are only beginning to conceptualise and map. This panel will consider the nexus between minorities, states and supranational networks and institutions (including diasporas, international and regional institutions, and NGOs) in relation to minority identities and claims. We propose to focus on these phenomena in the context of the new Europe: an entity transformed through processes of the European Union and expanded through the accession of former socialist East European polities, a region at the forefront in formalising minority rights. The panel will explore minority questions - the formation of identifications, the naming of identities, and the articulations of claims and their trajectories across institutions - as produced by and negotiated within a European global nexus of minorities, states and international institutions. We seek to understand not only the perspectives and experiences of minority members and activists but also those of the multiple actors' diasporic compatriots, NGO workers, bureaucrats, internationals, academic experts, and state agents operating at various nodal points on minority questions.