Apr. 24th, 2006

rfmcdonald: (Default)
I've never had the most solid of musculoskeletal systems: muscles tear, joints can halve themselves and give way. My left knee today felt especially weak, as if all I'd have to do would be to place just the right amount of force on it and I'd fall keening with pain onto the concrete floor.

I've got genealogical proof that I'm a fifth-generation Prince Edward Islander. I guess that I am a purebred after all.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
Sergei Abashin's paper "The transformation of ethnic identity in Central Asia: a case study of the Uzbeks and Tajiks", published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, examines the ways in which the Sarts of what is now post-Soviet central Asia to the Uzbeks as a consequence of Soviet nationbuilding policies. The confusion surrounding this population category demonstrates the truth that, in order to build a new nation, old groups must be destroyed.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
This post, examining the massive scale of post-Soviet emigration from Moldova and its wider implications, is up now. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] nhw for pointing out that the 2004 Moldovan census results have been released!
rfmcdonald: (Default)
I can't see why the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty report "Minority Ambitions Struggle To Break Through Nation-State Glass Ceiling" comes as any surprise. It is, doubtless, true that Spain is practically unique in extending more powers to regional governments, in contrast to the general European trend of relatively centralized governments administering relatively homogeneous policies across their national territories. Why is this?

Kenichi Ohmae, in his 1995 End of the Nation State, predicted the rise of what he called the "region-state", claiming that regions within nation-states were often more energetic in supporting globalization than their parent nation-states, very often taking over central state functions like taxation and support for research and development from the nation-state. Ohmae cited, as examples of region-states, political entities as diverse as Brazil's state of São Paulo, Québec, Japan's region of Kansai, Catalonia (autonomous community), the French region of Rhône-Alpes, and Scotland.

Québec, Catalonia, and Scotland have followed suit; São Paulo, Kansai, and Rhône-Alpes have, at best, trailed. Why? It isn't necessarily because, as Ohmae might suggest, the central governments of Brazil, Japan, and France have suppressed the ambitions of their component regions. Until the 1960s Candian federalism was strongly centralizing, while the--very different--unitary structures of the Spanish and British states have been almost prototypical. Rather, it's because these less autonomous regions don't especially want these powers; places like Québec and Catalonia and Scotland want to become nation-states in their own right. Never mind the region-state; the nation-state remains the central model.
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