1. bookVolume 9 (2019): Issue 4 (December 2019)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2674-4619
First Published
18 Jun 2013
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

A Critical and Theoretical Re-imagining of ‘Victimhood Nationalism’: The Case of National Victimhood of the Baltic Region

Published Online: 31 Dec 2019
Volume & Issue: Volume 9 (2019) - Issue 4 (December 2019)
Page range: 206 - 217
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2674-4619
First Published
18 Jun 2013
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

There are many arguments to support the idea that the Baltic nations (and other “victimized” areas) adhere to ‘victimhood nationalism’, a form of nationalism that explains the region’s recognition of its history and the related problems. Since the start of the 21st century, memory and area studies experts have used the concept of ‘victimhood nationalism’. However, the framework of victimhood nationalism is critically flawed. Its original conceptual architecture is weak and its effectiveness as an explanatory variable requires critical examination. This paper presents a theoretical examination of victimhood nationalism from the perspective of political and social historiology. Further, the paper criticizes the concept from the perspective of the empirical area studies of the Baltic region. First, it argues that the killing or damaging of one community by another does not automatically transform into a nationalism of victimhood. Unless it has been established that one community was the ‘victim’ and the other the perpetrator of the crime, these events will not be remembered as the basis of victimhood nationalism. Second, the effectiveness of this concept is criticized from two perspectives: “tangle” as an explanatory variable and its doctrinal history. It is tautological to claim that victimhood nationalism explains political issues, as was already being implied in the early twentieth-century collective memory studies. In conclusion, the assumption of victimhood is a preliminary necessity to a community claiming victimhood nationalism. Victimhood nationalism is not an explanatory, but an explained, variable. Therefore, the concept should be renamed otherwise. The alternative framework of collective memory studies framework of “victimhood” is needed. This research argues that Baltic area studies, particularly regarding history recognition, should be phenomenologically reconsidered to reimagine the framework of “victimhood”.

Keywords

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