War and Peace."Formalists" vs "Essentialists" in ethnic identity theory

I afraid theory of ethnic identity became an important part of  today’s world politics in wrong time when  a dispute between “formalists” and “essentialists” on nature of ethnic identity  is not  discontinued and “hidden” collision  of these two schools of thinking in social anthropology is continuing.  As is known, formalists believe  that ethnic identity ( as some social set of all sets ) is merely a political cognitive formal construction, correspondingly,  it is not important. For example, German speaking citizens of Federative Republic of Germany and German speaking citizens of German Democratic Republic in 1980s are different wholes or different ethno-cultural communities. Similarly, Russian speaking citizens of Ukraine’s Crimea  and Russian speaking citizens of Russian Federation represent different wholes as well. Essentialists, however, suggest  alternative paradigm – ethnic identity is not constructible and important. Hence, German speaking citizens of these two Republics represented two parts of the same whole divided by political circumstances of War ( similar interpretation  could be achieved in the case of Russians in Crimea Autonomous Republic and Russia in 2010s ) . Because there is no such thing as scientific theory ( lack of systematic experimental foundations, narrative as main proof ,collective mind reading as a method, simplification and lack of mathematics) of ethnic identity now, following, for example, exclusively formalist argumentation, we are faced with unsolvable paradoxes and “suicidal” ways of doing judgements. In particularly, if we accept that Germany’s reunification of German people without any formal proof ( or National Referendum ) in 1990 is valid, we, correspondingly, must accept also that reunification of Crimea and Russia in 2014 with such sort of proof as Crimea Referendum 2014 as valid as well. However, some popular experts try to suggest that German reunification is “truly reunification” whereas Russian reunification is “wrong reunification”. Thus, following this kind of simplified logic experts can conclude that Western nations are “honest” to claim “to return “ people of Crimea Autonomous Republic  into Ukraine citizenship, whereas Russians cannot claim similar things on people of German Democratic Republic. Hence, sooner or later illogical defence of the formalists attitude is able to lead to justification of …New Global War. Because it is not acceptable , correspondingly, we must consider alternative or essentialist way of thinking. Indeed, iif  German ethnic identity of Western and Eastern Germans is the same whole and self determination is about Essential Ethnicity, then German reunification cannot be considered as Western annexation of German Democratic Republic, similarly, Russian reunification with Crimea cannot be considered as annexation of Crimea by Russia as well. Generally speaking, thus, incompleteness of ethnic identity theory is not innocent in our wrong time and it can contain unpredictable consequences.           

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Comment by Michael Alexeevich Popov on January 29, 2015 at 6:01pm

Relevant Events and Definitions

Event :

MOSCOW, January 28. /TASS/. Members of the Russian parliament mull drafting a statement to condemn the annexation of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) by the Federative Republic of Germany (FRG) in 1989, a historic event commonly known as the reunification of East and West Germany.

A relevant order was issued by State Duma speaker Sergey Naryshkin to the parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs as it was proposed earlier in the day by Nikolay Ivanov, a lawmaker from the Russian Communist Party.

"Dear Sergey Yevgenyevich (Naryshkin), we were all sympathizing with you, when on January 26 at a news conference of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) you were refuting verbal assaults of PACE President Anne Brasseur, who accused Russia of ‘Crimea’s annexation'," Ivanov said, addressing Naryshkin on Wednesday morning.

"I propose that as a form of a retaliatory step you give order to the Committee on Foreign Affairs to prepare a statement condemning the annexation of the German Democratic Republic by the Federative Republic of Germany in 1989," Ivanov said. "Moreover, unlike in Crimea, there was no nationwide referendum in GDR.""



I suppose that there is only One taking Science seriously, correspondingly, all Western or non Western “social sciences” including  Western “social and cultural anthropology” represent merely pre-scientific projects, limited by lack of experimental foundations and lack of mathematical culture. Because experiments with humans are ethically not accepted , there are, nevertheless, opportunities to use supercomputer simulations as well as mathematical applications in anthropology of ethnic identity.

My definitions of Formalists ( Legal based Constructivists ) and Essentialists ( Intuitionists which cannot accept constructability of ethnic identities without understanding of non-social factors )  are merely approximations . Political practitioners use such approximations but they do not realized an existence of some intuitive theory of ethnic identity.

Crimea Paradox is not easy to dismiss as is often  thought in European Parliaments. And there exists a great logical tradition behind it. In particularly, over a century ago Shirokogorov ( founder of Russian ethnoscience school , which later was adopted by Soviet ethnologists ) reduced all the great variety of ethnoses concepts to just one and derived all intuitive mathematical theorems from just one axiom. This “axiom” looked a ethnographic triviality, but was found to yield  more than Shirokogorov wanted, including self – referenced contradictions. Soviet theorists ( before invasion of today’s Formalists like academician  Tishkov at el ) made attempts to replace Shirokogorov logic by some collection of its restricted cases, limiting the types allowed properties. However, it is faced with lack of some kind of “Axiom of Choice” etc.

In Anglocentric Western anthropological literature Russian intuitionist logical passages were misunderstood. Hence, grotesque publications on ethnic identity theory ( used today amateur anthropologists formalists in the Western governments )  in the style of naïve “transactional ethnography” by  Frederik Barth ( 1969) are arisen…


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