chapter  5
40 Pages

Law and sociology

The constructivist and interpretative turn
WithJoseph Marko

As we have learned from the previous chapter, all the ideologies of racism,ethno-nationalismand primordial theories of nation or ethnicity, tell us that these concepts are based either on the common origin of people in terms of biological descent, known as kinship, or other forms of allegedly natural relationships, thus substituting this belief in the biological descent of groupings for notions of ethnic sentiment or cultural community, understood as an a priori culturally homogenous group of people which can be differentiated only in this way from other groups. Fluidity or hybridity of cultures without clear boundaries stemming from essentialist differences between cultures is, from this primordial perspective, no civil(ised) culture at all, so that people who transgress boundaries by changing cultures or switching between cultures will be labelled traitors of their nation or community, or at least be classified as outsiders or part of a strange subculture whose members do not really belong to us. The conceptualisation of such closed or bounded groups will also presume that the social and political behaviour of the members of these groups is predetermined by the biological or cultural properties of such groups. With the exception of racist ideologues, advocates of nationalist ideologies and primordial theories will not deny that it is possible to change your ethnicity, but following from the underlying view of antagonistic structures of societies, they will postulate that ethnic difference is the root cause of violent conflict. Therefore, according to this approach, as outlined in Chapter 4, section 4.2, peaceful coexistence is only possible through the separation of territories or people in the forms of secession and/or voluntary population transfer, or power-dividing structures for state authorities and institutional segregation in culture-preserving sectors, such as public education, in order to enable peaceful coexistence, after the common saying: good fences make good neighbours.