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12 JEMIE 1 (2013)

handle is hein.journals/jemie2013 and id is 1 raw text is: Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe
Vol 12, No 1, 2013, 1-6
Minearimm t        Copyright C ECMI 2013
This article is located at:
http://www.ecmi.de/fileadmin/downloads/publications/JEMIE/2013/Prina.pdf
Introduction - National Cultural Autonomy in Theory and Practice
Federica Prina*
European Centre for Minority Issues
Non-territorial autonomy (NTA) has attracted much academic interest in recent years,
both among scholars (Kymlicka, 2007; Nimni, 2005; Nimni, 2007; Roach, 2005;
Smith and Cordell, 2008) and, as Osipov and Smith note in this volume, among the
governments of Central and Eastern Europe. NTA offers a different approach to
diversity from the traditional minority regime, which implies the subordination of
minorities to nation-states. The NTA model was developed by Karl Renner in his
article State and Nation ([1899] 2005). Renner's objective was the creation of a union
of nations within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The model was based on the
'personality principle'-the idea that communities may be autonomous within a
multinational state, regardless of whether they have, or identify with, a particular
territory. Although this concept was not translated into reality in Renner's times, there
have recently been attempts to revive it, both in theory and in practice. NTA is now
commonly understood as the autonomy of groups in managing their internal affairs in
relation to their culture, which can extend to forms of self-government.
Why study NTA? There are multiple reasons for re-exploring the concept.
First, societies continuously look for solutions to accommodate their disparate groups
in a manner that may enhance stability and keep the menace of societal friction, or
even conflict, at bay. As Smith notes in his article in this volume, it is the desire for
*Senior Research Associate, European Centre for Minority Issues. Email: prinap~ecmi.de.

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