The ‘Quadratic Nexus’ revisited: nation-building in Estonia through the prism of national cultural autonomy

Smith, D. J. (2020) The ‘Quadratic Nexus’ revisited: nation-building in Estonia through the prism of national cultural autonomy. Nationalities Papers, 48(2), pp. 235-250. (doi: 10.1017/nps.2018.38)

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This article explores how the concept of minority national-cultural autonomy (NCA) has been defined and practiced in contemporary Estonia, combining data from interviews and previously unanalyzed archival sources to trace debates and policymaking processes back to 1988 and ascertain: why (and for whom) NCA was adopted; the functions ascribed to NCA institutions; and the effectiveness and legitimacy of the model in the eyes of different “noncore” ethnic communities. In so doing, the article uses NCA as a fresh lens for analyzing the more general politics of post-Soviet state and nation-building in the country, situating this case within the “Quadratic Nexus” framework. Estonia’s NCA law is generally viewed as irrelevant to ongoing issues of diversity governance in the country. However, Finnish and Swedish minority autonomies have been established and, in recent years, there have been three applications to establish a Russian NCA. None have been approved, and yet some authors see them as evidence that NCA could (and should) have a role to play in bringing about a more meaningful accommodation of ethnic diversity. Having reviewed the evidence, however, the article concludes that this claim is misplaced.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Smith, Professor David
Authors: Smith, D. J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Central and East European Studies
Journal Name:Nationalities Papers
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN (Online):1465-3923
Published Online:22 November 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © Association for the Study of Nationalities 2019
First Published:First published in Nationalities Papers 48(2):235-250
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
632461National Minority Rights & Democratic Political Community: Practices of Non-territorial Cultural Autonomy in Contemporary Central and Easter EuropeDavid SmithEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/L007126/1SPS - CENTRAL & EAST EUROPEAN STUDIES