About the Conference and Workshop

A sequel to the Conference and Workshop Contribution of Area Studies to the Knowledge of Ethnic Tensions: Interdisciplinary Methodological Approaches (Warsaw 2009), this event focuses on nationalism and conflict. Nationalism is defined here in broad terms as involving individuals’ strong identification with a political, economic and/or social entity, “nation.” Under this understanding, it is nationalism that creates national identity, which in some cases equates with ethnic identity. The substantive questions that become increasingly important are: How is national identity formed in multiethnic societies? To what extent does strong national identity lead to conflict and protest behavior? Under what circumstances is national identity in conflict with supra-national identity? We also pose methodological questions: What are the sources of social sciences knowledge about national identities and conflicts? What is the role of public opinion surveys and other types of data? The conference reacted to these and other questions from an interdisciplinary perspective.

The event combined a three-day conference (December 10–12) on substantive and methodological issues of nationalism and conflict with a three-day workshop (December 13-15) on multilevel analysis of survey data, necessarily including contextual data.

The purpose of the Conference was to bring together scholars from different disciplines on the topic of nationalism and conflict. In multiethnic societies, nationalism often leads to ethnic tension that ranges from open domestic conflict to more subtle forms, such as prejudice and discrimination. We invited papers that examine causes and consequences of both nationalism and ethnic tensions. We seek interdisciplinary perspectives on identifying where, when, how and why such tensions emerge, including remarkable instances of absence of tension, and even ethnic cooperation.

Extant research on nationalism is seriously constrained by an overwhelmingly discipline-specific approach. To overcome this shortcoming, the conference aimed to explore creative methodologies that (a) recognize elements common across disciplines and (b) allow for the unique contributions of specific disciplines, sociology and political science in particular.

The Workshop provided a small group of exceptional doctoral students and early stage researchers with practical skills of multilevel modeling of survey data on nationalism and conflict. During lectures and computer lab sessions, workshop participants worked with the European Social Survey and the IntUne data, both of which have questionnaire items on nationalism and conflict. Participants learned how to use these data together with contextual data characterizing entire countries and their regions.