The event

The Babeș-Bolyai University, in cooperation with the Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN), is pleased to announce a joint conference, “Reframing Nationalism and Populism in the Context of Securitization: Political Struggles and Scholarly Debates” to be held on 6-8 July, 2023 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

The conference will be co-organized by the Faculty of Political Science and Public Administration and the Faculty of Sociology and Social Work of the Babeș-Bolyai University, together with the Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities (ISPMN).

Russia's aggression against Ukraine has disrupted existing narratives and frameworks in the social sciences. This war has challenged our beliefs about the stability of the international order and reinforced East-West-type discourses by displaying greater unity among Western allies and fueling anti-Western sentiments outside the Western core. This has significant implications for the study of nationalism. On the one hand, it has highlighted the dangerous consequences of nationalism and irredentism. On the other, it has boosted and legitimized culturally homogeneous state- and nation-building in the post-Soviet region and beyond. Russia's aggression has increased anxiety about national security throughout the region and led to heightened securitization in key areas such as minority rights, ethnic relations, and kin-state activity. This has had an impact on both political struggles and scholarly debates.

The focus of our conference is primarily, but not exclusively, on Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Ukraine, Russia, Eurasia, and Turkey. We encourage discussions about the impact of the changing international order on states and societies in these regions. Despite increased European and transatlantic engagement in many countries, some political actors, including "populists in power," have used pro-Kremlin or ambivalent discourses to strengthen their support by mobilizing anti-Western attitudes. There is no consensus about good governance or diversity management. Integrationist approaches associated with majoritarian democracy coexist with accommodative models which allow for minority institutions and political agency. More research is needed on the matter of these debates and processes.     

We invite a wide range of papers and panels from scholars with various disciplinary backgrounds and perspectives on nationalism, populism, national and international security, democracy, developmental models, and discourses. Both theoretically and empirically oriented submissions, including case studies and comparative analyses, are accepted. We have a particular interest in the following topics: 

• Nationalism and processes of nation-building in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond

• Challenges for democracy in the context of insecurity and changing world order in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond

• Forms of populism in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond, especially recent development in the post-COVID-19 period and war

• East-West discourses: decolonizing knowledge production in Central and Eastern Europe

• Minority policies and minority policy regimes in Central and Eastern Europe and the challenges of securitization

• Minority institutions, minority political agency, minority rights

• International relations and their effects on democracy and development in the Central and Eastern European region

• Censuses, “regimes of counting” and the states’ commitment (or the lack of commitment) to keep track of ethnic identities (recent experiences with 2021/2022 censuses)

• Migratory processes, perceptions of migration (both in- and out-migration), discursive frames and policies concerning migration; processes and policies affecting Ukrainian refugees

• Policies of national historical memory (including the Holocaust, state socialism, etc.)

• The use of big data in ethnic and nationalism studies

The conference also invites submissions of papers and panels that address broad topics such as state-building, nationalism, ethnicity, borders, populations, national identity, and other related subjects, with a specific focus on Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and post-Yugoslav countries, Russia, the post-Soviet republics, Turkey, and Greece. Comparative studies and case studies from other parts of the world that offer insights relevant to the primary geographic area of the conference are also welcome. Contributions from a range of disciplines, including history, sociology, political science, anthropology, cultural studies, geography, economics, law, and interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary studies, based on diverse methodologies, are expected.

Applicants can review the broad thematic scope of ASN convention and conference papers by viewing programs from past conferences at: