Article Spotlights January Round-Up

articlespotlightRead on for some past SEN articles from the archives that reflect on some news items reported on the blog over the past month, on current and events and news relevant to nationalism and ethnicity studies:

Zionism and Bilingualism: Palestinian-Jewish Bilingual Schools in Documentary Films, Carmit Romano-Hvid, Volume 13, Issue 3, December 2013, pp. 455-465.

This article discusses the experience of Arabic-Hebrew bilingual schools in Israel through the lens of four documentaries. It investigates Zionism’s view and understanding of bi-national and bilingual education based on the stories of the documentaries, and on background information received through interviews with the film-directors and school principals. I argue that the materials shown in the documentaries could serve as evidence that even in a bi-national and bilingual educational setting, the hegemony of the majority ethnic group is present and felt. The cinematic choices reflect repetition of specific tropes (e.g. how national holidays are celebrated, creating ‘balance’ between representations of Palestinian and Jewish suffering) but remain silent about the linguistic challenges and the remaining inequality.

Ethnic Politics, Political Elite, and Regime Change in Nigeria, Henry Ani Kifordu, Volume 11, Issue 3, December 2011, pp. 427-450.

Since the 1960s, intermittent social conflicts in Nigeria appear mostly linked to ethnic groups’ differences. Considering the importance of regime change in social and political stability, this article critically analyses the historic and dynamic role of the core political executive elite in the political system’s stability. The article argues that ethnic politics persist in Nigeria based on the nature of interactions between political institutions, institution-builders, and society. It asserts a contradictory link between deep-rooted elite interests and popular preferences in ways that undermine orientations towards democracy. The empirical focus is on the composite nature of the core political executive elite analysed through their ethnic and educational backgrounds. It is observed that, although ethnic shocks are variously motivated, the atypical shape and inequity in power and role distribution at the highest levels of executive office-holding stand out as a salient source and target of antagonism by ethnic groups. This finding has a paradoxical implication: deep-seated economic and political interests of the elite play a diversionary role from the real causes of ethnic conflicts in Nigeria.

New Imaginings: The Legacy of Benedict Anderson and Alternative Engagements of Nationalism, Mark Hamilton, Volume 6, Issue 3, December 2006, pp. 73-89.

Where should we look as scholars, policymakers, and practitioners to decipher contemporary sources of nationalism and understand nations’ historical origins? This article draws on Benedict Anderson’s scholarly legacy and highlights potential pathways for future studies of ethnicity and nationalism. It outlines major themes from the landmark text Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (1983), reviews its impact and significance, describes heated scholarly critiques, and, finally, proffers three directions for ongoing research: the intersecting inquiries of political-economic mobilisation, of relational networks, and of hybrid identities.

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