CRCEES Roundtable discussion: National Minority Rights and Non-Territorial Cultural Autonomy in Central and Eastern Europe

Published: 7 December 2011

Part of the AHRC-sponsored research project 'Ending Nationalism? The Quest for Cultural Autonomy in Inter-war Europe' and the CRCEES Briefing Days Programme 30 January 2007, 11.00-13.00 Randolph Hall, Main Building, University of Glasgow


Prof. John Hiden and Dr David Smith, Department of Central and East European Studies, University of Glasgow

Keynote Discussants:

  • Dr Eamonn Butler, University of Glasgow, UK
  • Ms Laura Cashman, University of Glasgow, UK
  • Mr Christopher Decker, Chief, Security Issues Section, OSCE
  • Ms Ivana Djuric, University of Nottingham, UK
  • Dr Károly Gruber, University of Gyõr, Hungary
  • Ms Barbara Kejzar, Institute for the Ethnic Studies, Slovenia
  • Mr Shavarsh Khachatryan, Department of National Minorities and Religious Affairs, Republic of Armenia
  • Mrs Raduta Matache, Chargé d'Affaires, Embassy of Romania, London

Themes for Discussion:

Issues of multiculturalism and national minority rights have elicited considerable discussion across Europe over the past decade and a half, with the Central and Eastern European countries in particular being required to demonstrate 'respect for and protection of minorities' within the context of the EU enlargement process. One model of minority rights that appears especially salient in today's Central and Eastern Europe is non-territorial cultural autonomy (NTCA), which forms the focus of Hiden and Smith's current AHRC-funded research project (2004-2007) based at the Department of Central and East European Studies of the University of Glasgow. NTCA has either been adopted or is under consideration in a number of states in the region, including Estonia, Hungary, Romania, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, and is increasingly on the agenda of organisations such as the Council of Europe and the OSCE. The origins of the NTCA concept can be traced back to the turn of the 20th century and the writings of the 'Austro Marxists' Karl Renner and Otto Bauer. The latter argued that a territorially-based approach could not in itself lead to a durable regulation of the "national question", and thus advocated the creation of minority cultural self-governments whose jurisdiction extended not to particular territories, but to groups of persons, voluntarily enrolling as part of a public legal corporation.

The roundtable discussion forms part of the dissemination agenda of this project, and will bring together diplomatic representatives from the region with academic specialists from CEES Glasgow, the wider Central for Russian and Central and East European Studies and their partner institutions in Central and Eastern Europe. Participants will be invited to reflect upon some of the key findings of the AHRC project and their possible relevance to the region today. More broadly, the roundtable will discuss: the main factors shaping the relationship between states, national minorities, external national homelands and international organisations in today's Europe; and the question of how to reconcile classic liberal principles with collective demands for recognition of particular cultures, within a normative agenda of forging stable and democratic political communities.

Participation in the roundtable discussion is free, but places are limited. Anyone wishing to attend should contact: Ann Mulholland, CRCEES Administrator ( as soon as possible, and no later than 15 January 2007.

Some funding is available to support attendance by CRCEES staff and postgraduate students from partner institutions outside Glasgow, and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. A buffet lunch will be provided for participants at the end of the discussion.

First published: 7 December 2011