Theory and Practice
Edited By Ephraim Nimni, Alexander Osipov and David Smith
Alexander Osipov Non-Territorial Autonomy as a Way to Frame Diversity Policies
: The Case of Russia The notion of non-territorial autonomy for ethnic groups (hereinafter – NTA) has not so far occupied a definite niche in politics or scholarly debates. It was elaborated more than a hundred years ago as a part of a normative model by Austro-Marxist theorists (Renner 1899/2005), but as such exists on paper and still lacks a full-f ledged practical application. While NTA and similar terminologies have been repeatedly employed in the political vernacular (Smith and Cordell 2008; Henrard 2005), the related contexts and scenarios are too diverse and examples of empirical research are rare even now (see, for example, Dobos 2007). Thus, it is not clear whether NTA can usefully serve as a category of analysis and what kinds of substantive referents it might have. This article suggests a way in which NTA could be applied as a descriptive and analytical tool to a sig- nificant segment of identity-related political activities. The suggested approach would mean that NTA depicts top-down arrangements designed for the accommodation and facilitation of collec- tive activities pursued on behalf of identity-based groups. I regard ‘policies of non-territorial autonomy’ as activities (including discursive strategies and symbolic policies) of public authorities purporting to create condi- tions for self-organization and activity of ethnic groups as such. Therefore, such an approach excludes ‘ordinary’ ethnicity-based non-governmental organizations subject to legislation on civil society (because there are no specific arrangements) or advisory bodies on ethnic issues (because there is no implication of ethnic groups’ self-organization). The main problem with...
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