Review: “Ethnocultural Processes and National Problems in the Modern World” – ed. I. R. Grigulevich

“Ethnocultural Processes and National Problems in the Modern World” is a collection of essays by Soviet ethnologists edited by I. R. Grigulevich about ethnic, racial, and national issues in both the USSR and other countries.

This is an impressively comprehensive book. Part 1 of the book examines ethnocultural processes in the USSR and is divided into regions and subjects. The Reflection of Ethnocultural Links in Present-Day Dance in the USSR looks at the development of multinational performing arts in the USSR. The Converging of Nations in the USSR and the Main Trends in the Development of Bilingualism investigates the spread and growth of bilingualism in the USSR, its trends, and methods of developing it further. It offers some fascinating research on why some peoples adopt bilingualism quicker and easier than others and what sociological, psychological, and socio-economic factors influence the growth of bilingualism in the USSR. The development of multinational families is examined in Ethnos and the Family in the USSR. Ethnocultural Changes Among the Peoples of the Volga, Urals, and Far North of Europe surveys the national consolidation and the building of socialism among the Udmurt, Mari, Chuvash, Mordovian, Tatar, Bashkir, Karelian, Komi, Nenets, and Saami people. National State Demarcation and the Ethnic Evolution of the Peoples of Central Asia provides a comprehensive history of national territorial delimitation in Central Asia, refuting bourgeois lies and distortions, and surveys the national consolidation and building of socialism among the Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Turkmens, Pamiris, and Karakalpaks. Present-Day Ethnic Processes Among the Peoples of Siberia surveys the national consolidation and building of socialism among the Buryats, Tuvans, Yakuts, Chukchi, Chuvans, Koryaks, Itelmens, Eskimos, Kachins, Koybals, Sagai, Beltirs, Kyzyls, and a plethora of other peoples.

Part 2 examines ethnocultural processes outside the USSR. National Processes and Relations in Western Europe and North America examines racial, linguistic, national, and ethnic issues in North America and Western Europe. In Europe, the essay examines ethnic consolidation and conflicts between Flemish and Walloons in Belgium, Catalans, Basques, and Galicians in Spain, the national question, anti-immigrant racism, and the conflict in Northern Ireland in Britain. In North America, the essay examines racism and immigration (ex. Irish, Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Italians, Indians, Mexicans, etc.), the genocide of indigenous peoples, the issues facing African-Americans in the US, and Quebec separatism in Canada. Ethnic Processes in Southeast Asian Countries examines ethnic consolidation, linguistic development, and conflict among the various peoples of Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. The Specific Character of Ethnic Processes in African Countries examines various ethnic conflicts and issues confronting post-colonial African states. The essay is divided into four sections: Part 1 examines North Africa, where the population is more or less uniform in ethnic composition (Arab and Berber), close in religion (Islam), and culture; Part 2 examines East, Central, and West Africa, including the conflict in Sudan and national consolidation in Ghana, Senegal, Cameroon, Togo, Burkina Faso, and other countries; Part 3 examines Equatorial Africa, namely the Congo, and the difficulties of the development of a national political community and national consolidation out of the separate ethnic groups; and Part 4 examines Southern Africa, especially white-colonial racism and apartheid in Rhodesia and South Africa and the struggle against racist regimes. Policy on the National Question and Interethnic Relations in Oceania examines the national question and ethnic issues in Oceania, New Zealand, and Australia. Particular attention is devoted to ethnic issues between Native and Indo-Fijians in Fiji, national consolidation among the various tribes in Papua New Guinea, ethnic relations in Nauru, and French colonialism in French Polynesia and New Caledonia.

I was very impressed by this book’s wealth of analysis and information. It is a tragedy that the USSR is no longer here; Progress Publishers published some genuinely remarkable works that I doubt we’ll see again until capitalism is abolished.

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