In this Alice-in-Wonderland world in which nation usually means state, in which nation-state
usually means multination state, in which nationalism usually means loyalty to the state (...) it
should come as no surprise that the nature of nationalism remains essentially unprobed.
Walker Connor 1
he purpose of Part One is to serve as a theoretical backdrop for analyzing why the
Czechoslovak nation project failed and why the level of national conflict increased during the
First Czechoslovak Republic. The primary objective is to place the thesis into a theoretical
context and to provide a theoretical framework for the analysis. In addition, I will address
some problems related to the research process, especially the choice of sources and use of
method. This is done in Chapter One.
A major obstacle to understanding problems related to nations and nationalism is the
conceptual chaos surrounding these phenomena, amply illustrated by the quotation above. In
order to avoid misunderstandings, any scholar should make clear what he or she means by
"nation" or "nationalism." The former is by and large the easier task, because some consensus
has been reached on what it means to be a nation. The conception of "nationalism", on the
other hand, tends to be intertwined with theories of how and why nations and nationalism
formed. For this reason, I have decided to treat the nation concept separately in Chapter Two,
while "nationalism" is covered in Chapter Three, along with a presentation of the scholarly
debate about how and why nations and nationalism formed. As a part of this, I will also spell
out my own position in relation to the main cleavages in the debate.
While Chapter Two and Three concentrate on what and why, Chapter Four addresses the
consequences: If there is more than one national group within a single state, national conflicts
are likely to arise, because national and other divides tend to coincide. Such (perceived)
inequalities become the object of national demands directed against the government. On the
other hand, governments have policies that are more or less explicitly designed to influence
the national question, what I have termed a nationality policy. With a few notable exceptions,
recent scholarship in this field has been dominated by historians, anthropologists and
sociologists. While the political aspect is generally included, a more systematic treatment of
the relationship between government policies and national sentiment/national movements is
still wanting. The object of Chapter Four is to provide a theoretical framework for the study of
this relationship, including an elaboration of possible nationality policy strategies and a
discussion of possible restraints on the choice of strategy and of the conditions for success.
Connor: Ethnonationalism, (1994:111-12).