Identity Politics and Identities in Politics: Interethnic Perspectives in a European Context

Identity Politics and Identities in Politics:
Interethnic Perspectives in a European Context

Semenenko I.S.,

Dr. Sci. (Pol. Sci.), Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Head of Centre for Comparative Socioeconomic and Political Studies, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Russian Academy of Sciences,

elibrary_id: 251670 | ORCID: 0000-0003-2529-9283 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2016.04.03

For citation:

Semenenko I.S. Identity Politics and Identities in Politics: Interethnic Perspectives in a European Context. – Polis. Political Studies. 2016. No. 4. P. 8-28. (In Russ.).


Identity politics are a key sphere of public policy. The paper focuses on the changes in the politics of identity pursued by the contemporary nation–state, its agenda and its possibilities, limits and risks. The transformations in the mechanisms of civic identity formation on the nation–state level are conditioned by a wave of “new nationalism” in countries with a strong civic tradition and a relatively high level of social welfare. Federalization, decentralization and devolution currently under way in Europe reflect the ethnic dimension of contemporary politics promoting language, religious, economic or cultural issues. Nation-building trajectories tend to vary as they fail to comply with the “universal” nation-state model, and the essence of the nation itself is questioned in the changing social environment. Today a key priority of identity politics pursued by the state is managing diversity in multicultural and, more often than not – divided societies. A comparative study of three cases of interethnic tensions regulation in European countries with ethnic minorities enjoying a different political, economic and cultural status indicates that the contemporary model of civic consensus supported by the nation-state is undergoing a deep transformation. These changes are due to the formation of new multilevel political spaces and to the growing demand for regulating interethnic conflict in a world of rapidly increasing migration inflows and reaffirming ethnic identities. Welfare, cultural policies and political and economic levels of autonomy (devolution) are key spheres of contention in countries with sustainable democratic political institutions. Alongside with the innovative development of territories, including those where minority groups are present, effective instruments for lowering the level of interethnic tension appear to be, as this study indicates, a common view of development priorities shared by the territorial (local) community and a positive alignment of civic and ethnic identities in day–to–day communications. “Active citizenship” constitutes an important part of civic identity. The consolidating basis of the modern nation, the foundation of civic concord is public commitment to the development of the national community.


identity; identity politics; civic identity; ethnicity; ethnic identity; nation; nation-state; interethnic relations; discourse; interethnic tensions; ethnic (ethno-political) conflict; migration; conflict regulation practices; development.

Content No. 4, 2016

See also:

Semenenko I.S., Lapkin V.V., Pantin V.I.,
Classifying Ethnic Conflicts: Challenges for Political Theory and Methodology. – Polis. Political Studies. 2016. No6

Drobizheva L.M., Ryzhova S.V.,
Civic and Ethnic Identity and Perception of the Preferable State in Russia. – Polis. Political Studies. 2015. No5

Drobizheva L.M.,
Russian Identity: Discussions in the Political Space and Dynamics of Mass Consciousness. – Polis. Political Studies. 2018. No5

Prokhorenko I.L.,
Ethnopolitical Conflict and Politics of Identity in Latin America. – Polis. Political Studies. 2016. No4

Semenenko I.S.,
Dilemmas of national identity: political risks and social inputs. – Polis. Political Studies. 2009. No6



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