In This Review

Nationalist Politics and Everyday Ethnicity in a Transylvanian Town
Nationalist Politics and Everyday Ethnicity in a Transylvanian Town
By Rogers Brubaker, Margit Feischmidt, Jon Fox, and Liana Granc
Princeton University Press, 2006, 502 pp

No topics receive more attention these days than nationalism and ethnic politics, but the reigning abstractions by which they are comprehended, say these authors, miss the way ethnicity actually resonates in the lives of people. By drilling deep into the mundane conversations, cares, and relationships among citizens of Cluj-Napoca, a city of mixed Hungarian-Romanian heritage at the heart of Transylvania, they set out to examine precisely how ethnicity matters -- for, indeed, it does -- far from the flourishes of the political entrepreneurs operating over people's heads. They are not trying to undo the day's ascendant macrotheories, seen not so much as wrong as incomplete, but rather attempting to connect the overarching with the underpinning. In this important and conceptually innovative book, Brubaker's name is in larger lights, because he did most of the writing, but it is a genuinely collaborative effort in which the others added anthropology and sociolinguistics to his sociology.