Challenges for research of ethnicity in Central Europe
Department of Sociology Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University Brno, Czech republic
The paper analyses specific features of the current research on ethnicity in Central Europe. Author argues that research on ethnicity, identity, inter-ethnic relations and cultural determinants of ethnic interactions in Central Europe is from the methodological point of view insufficient and problematic due to various structural factors. Author identifies factors influencing quality of the research on ethnicity - ethnic and primordial perception of a nation; lack of data on ethnicity; low abilities to foster specific methods of ethnicity research; over-representation of quantification of inter-ethnic relations qualities and not focus on phenomenological research of perception of ethnicity; paradigmatic chaos; lack of research ethic of researchers researching an ethnicity; lack of abilities to interconnect academic basic research and public policy analysis; and incompetence of research recipients as a specific problem. Author suggest that researchers in Central Europe often tend to be "victims" of the methodological nationalism - they ignore national framing of modernity and take national discourses, agendas, loyalties, and histories for granted, without problematizing them, cultures are perceived even by researchers as unitary and organically related to territories, and researchers often reduce the analytical focus to the boundaries of the national state. Author attempts to document his arguments by bringing various examples of the research on ethnicity since 1989 in V4 countries. Author suggests that research of ethnicity should be understood as a specific type of a research that ought to be contextual, multi-paradigmatic, methodologically non-conventional, de-constructivist and reflecting sensitivity.