This book shows that the world of nations is characterized by a certain spatial dynamic
which participates in the production and maintenance of national belonging, as opposed
to the static and ahistorical spatial representation currently prevalent in eastern
Europe. The immobility and stability of the world of nations is interpreted from the
perspective of these spatial movements of deterritorialization and ‘uprooting’, and
thus there arise the two different problems of the homeland and of ‘being at home’.
Among the spatial practices through which the individual and the community inhabit
space as national home, social remembering is of crucial importance. The author elaborates
on the spatial-corporeal dimension of memory practices by applying the concept of
localization and analysing the strategies of various individual and governmental actors
in drawing social-geographical space. This theoretical framework enables to study
the construction of cultural belonging as a reaction to the spatial dynamic of nationalism.
The spatial problem of national belonging is investigated through the struggles of
post-1989 memory politics in Hungary. The maps of remembrance of national identification
are drawn both by the state and by individuals whose Hungarian belonging, at some
point in the twentieth century, was questioned by force. The Trianon Peace Treaty,
the expulsion of those of German origin after the Second World War, and the collapse
of the bipolar world order are socio-historical events the memory of which forces
those affected to reconstruct their Hungarian belonging. Whether dealing with state
commemorations or individual life stories, the author seeks the answer to the question
of how national belonging becomes natural in cases where the homeland becomes doubtful.
How is it possible to be at home after having been expelled?
To the reader interested in sociological and cultural issues, this volume presents
the findings of a research which takes an original look at the relationships between
nationalism and space, between memory and spatial practices, and between the state
and the individual.