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The Minority Rights Revolution.

Reviews in American History. In this case, the obstacle course—composed of incentives and constraints—leaves to actors a fairly large room of maneuver. So actors rely on their assumptions or cognitive priors first and foremost in attempting to choose, and alight on, an optimal or satisficing course of action. Nevertheless, we can argue that the range of possible ways in which the above would be likely to occur is fairly large.

Berk, In turn, in his , chapter 4 vocabulary, he substitutes for the latter a more explicit language, which is a-rationality. Another possibility that suggests itself regarding action is that actors can dispense with rationality as such e.

In this case, we can make the strongest case for the autonomous influence of ideas on the behaviour of elites. It must be stressed here that irrationality and a-rationality are synthetic. That is to say, actors can have their own organizing principles. The macrosociological analysis of human behaviour presented here inexorably opens itself to a charge of historical inadequacy. I submit that critics of the comparative analysis, of human action, miss the point of such analysis, which is to explore commonalities across diverse sets of empirical cases without sacrificing attention to detail see, for example, Skocpol, ; Goldstone, !

Romania and Ukraine both have a history of burdened inter-ethnic relations. Benedict Anderson reminds us of the salience of memory processes to resurgent Ukrainian or Romanian nationalisms. Ethnicity as a sociological category is constructed. No theory has complete explanatory purchase over the empirical reality, and the theory elaborated here is no exception to this statement or conviction. That being said, the above heuristic devices that is, a-rationality and irrationality can shed light on the behavioural strategies of linguistic minority elites in the Romania and Ukraine cases.

In the Romania case, it is possible, methodologically speaking, to show that the behaviours of moderate ethnic minority elites Hungarians, remember are unequivocally a-rational. Furthermore, this politics served to redound to the power of those elites who pursued it. What is more, doing thus also served to better the political image or reputation of the mainstream Hungarian elites in Romania.

Likewise, we can make the strongest case—in methodological terms—for the case that the behaviours of radical Hungarian elites in Romania are irrational. This follows from the fact that a politics of disengagement or quasi-confrontation made it more difficult both for the moderate and radical-cum-marginalized Hungarian elites in Romania to have changes in the policy toward Hungarians implemented—which these all elites strived for. Furthermore, radicalism among some Hungarian elites in Romania served to diminish the political support for these elites in the Hungarian minority itself.

What is more, radical Hungarian elites in Romania sustained heavy losses in regards to their political image or reputation, which had been damaged arguably beyond repair this is both from the perspective of mainstream Hungarian elites and Romanians across the board. Lastly, speaking of the substantive assumptions or interpretative frames, the moderate Hungarian elites in Romania saw any form of autonomy, for the Hungarian minority, as unrealistic.

So, these elites argued in favour of substituting a small-steps-policy aimed at addressing the immediate concerns of Hungarians for the above long-term goal. In contrast, the radical Hungarian elites in Romania argued in favour of enforcing the policy aimed at granting autonomy to the Hungarian minority on the regional level by internationalizing the language dispute.

Reviews in American History

It is no exaggeration to say that these elites did thus because they harbored distrust for the presumed goodwill of the Romanian political elite. According to the most recent census of the population in Romania, the Hungarian minority comprises 6. Further, the Hungarian minority is settled predominantly in Transylvania central Romania. Unlike the Romania case, the Ukraine case is less conclusive regarding whether the behavioural strategies of radical Russian-speaking elites in Ukraine are a-rational or irrational. At the same time, however, it will be also evident in the analysis that the above politics made it more difficult for the Russian-speaking elite at large to seek after power and better policy performance.


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  6. The latter is so because a politics of confrontation served to strengthen the resolve of the Ukrainian-speaking elites to resist the inroads made by the Russian speakers in the issue-area of the protection of language rights for national minorities and, particularly, Russian speakers. In this way the evidence in the Ukraine case, taken individually, is mixed. Further, unlike the cleavage in ethnic minority politics proper in Romania, the similar cleavage in language politics among the Russian-speaking elites in Ukraine is hardly pronounced.

    Thus it does not appear to be possible, methodologically speaking, to characterize the alternate, consensus-marked courses of action in Ukraine as being a-rational or irrational, that is, if we consider the Ukraine case separately. Lastly, speaking of the assumptions or interpretative frames which elites in Ukraine brought to bear on the politics of language, the Russian-speaking elite at large saw the language dispute in zero-sum terms.

    That is, for this elite, only one side could, so to speak, nationalize the other. In contrast, the marginal Russian-speaking elites in Ukraine, who proposed the alternate consensus-marked courses of action, placed emphasis on the immediate concerns of Russian speakers rather than the politics of language per se.

    According to the most recent census of the population in Ukraine, Russian speakers comprise Further, Russian speakers are settled predominantly in the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine. There are several reasons why a comparison of language politics in Romania and Ukraine seems to be compelling.

    Minority rights

    One, in both these states protection of language rights for national minorities is contested. So, this fact alone renders Romania and Ukraine prima facie comparable. Further, in both Romania and Ukraine there is the relative scarcity of wealth, which arguably makes political compromises between the ethno-linguistic groups more difficult to achieve. Finally, Romania and Ukraine showcase the high degree of variation in the value of dependent and independent variables, which permits me to make the following, unusually strong claim. Namely, this claim is that a politics of interethnic compromise has the larger chance to bring about the sought-after, lasting changes in state policies toward national minorities than does that of confrontation.

    Footnote 2 Consequently, linguistic minority groups shall draw upon languages use on the ground, freely so. Romania and Ukraine are contrasting cases. The empirical analyses, presented below, draw upon a variety of sources, which include the primary and secondary ones. The primary sources include occasional official documentation and the interviews conducted by the author in Romania, Ukraine and Hungary.

    In turn, the interview material aims to prop up rather than inform the empirical analyses throughout. In brief, the mainstream Hungarian elites in Romania pursued a politics of interethnic compromise and the quid pro quo in a setting that had been highly susceptible to interethnic conflict in the arena of politics. Footnote 3. The above violence—which had left several people dead and hundreds injured —served to strengthen or reinforce the already-existent political conviction 6 amongst the mainstream Hungarian elites, grouped under the umbrella of the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania UDMR , with regard to the inexpediency of seeking after any form of autonomy, for the Hungarian minority, in a political setting that had been prone to encouraging inter-ethnic animosity or hatred.

    Footnote 4 Yet, not all Hungarian elites in Romania took such a position in politics. In Iliescu was reelected President of Romania.