Nationalism, cosmopolitanism and statelessness: An interview with Craig Calhoun

Barzoo Eliassi

Abstract

This interview with Professor Craig Calhoun expands on issues of nationalism and cosmopolitanism in relation to the question of statelessness. Since the 1990s, Calhoun has worked on nationalism, ethnicity and cosmopolitanism. For Calhoun, nations still matter despite post-national and cosmopolitan elaboration and repudiation of so-called parochial and provincialised identities like nation or national identity and citizenship. In this interview, Calhoun dis-cusses the material, political and cultural situations of the Kurds in the Middle East and the role of Kurdish nationalism in the context of statelessness. Calhoun finds class-based understanding of inequalities between the Kurds and their dominant others in the Middle East as problematic and incomplete since the cultural, political and material inequalities are intimately interlinked in rendering the Kurds to a subordinated position in the states they inhabit. The interview also engages with diasporic identities and examines how countries of residence can impinge on the identity formation of diasporas and how they obstruct or facilitate migrants translating their citizenship status into the right to have rights (Arendt). An important issue that Calhoun discusses is that there are both asymmetrical power relations between dominated (Kurdish) and dominating nationalisms (Turkish, Iraqi, Iranian and Syrian) and within the same nationalisms.

Keywords

Self-determination; Kurds; Turkish Constitutional Court; autonomy; democracy

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