In This Review

Ethnonationalism: A Quest for Understanding

Ethnonationalism: A Quest for Understanding
By Walker Connor
226 pp, Princeton University Press, 1994

This collection of eight essays published over a 25-year period by one of the leading scholars of ethnonationalism is both highly instructive about the essential nature of the problem and unusually prescient in its anticipation of the ethnic and nationalist resurgence in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The author corrects many common misunderstandings about the nature of ethnic conflict, for example that improved communications, transportation and contact between ethnic groups will lead to greater understanding and, eventually, a common identity (he argues that the reverse is more likely); that ethnonationalism has fundamental economic causes and can be ameliorated through economic policies; that assimilation is irreversible; and that the American melting pot is a useful and broadly applicable model for other multiethnic societies. Those not unduly depressed by his analysis will benefit from the terminological clarity he brings to concepts like nation, state and ethnic group.