Nationalism as a historical phenomenon should be reassessed in light of the re-emergence of nationalism, and national conflicts, in post-communist societies. Democratic values and the mechanisms of the free market are not the only issues central to the political discourse of these societies, and issues of national identity and historical memory sometimes take precedence. Both the legacy of the way in which communist ideology and practice dealt with nationalism, as well as the void left by the collapse of the whole Lebenswelt fostered by communist regimes should be seen as contributing to the role played by nationalism in these emerging societies.
Shlomo Avineri is Professor of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and this year's recipient of the Israel Prize. He is a former Director-General of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and served with teams of observers in the first post-communist elections in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Estonia and Croatia. His books include The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx, Hegel's Theory of the Modern State, Israel and the Palestinians, The Making of Modem Zionism and (with Avner de-Shalit) Communitarianism and Individualism.
* Hebrew University of Jerusalen, The Faculty of Social Sciences, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, 91905 Israel.