Research area

The intermediary structures of national movements in Europe over the last two centuries

The NISE research area is circumscribed as to form, content, chronology and geography.

It concerns the intermediary structures in the form of

  • both political parties and cultural associations as well as social organisations. An intermediary structure is a form of organisation under private law whose function it is to mediate between the individual and the public authorities while pursuing a kind of continuity. The intermediary structures operate in a society between the authorities and the individual and are active on all levels of social life (politics, social, economic, cultural and religious affairs). In this case, they are also ‘mobilizing structures’, i.e. “collective vehicles, informal as well as formal, through which people mobilize and engage in collective actions” (McAdam (D.), McCarthy (J.) & Zald (M.) (eds), Comparative perspectives on social movements: political opportunities, mobilizing structures and cultural framings, Cambridge, 1996, p. 3)
  • the people associated with these intermediary structures (persons in charge, activists, representatives, ideologists…)
  • the programmes and goals as articulated in their publications and archives.

As far as the content is concerned, the intermediary structures belong to the national movements (under the umbrella concept of ‘national movement’, the platform also makes use mutatis mutandis of the term ‘regional movement’, with reference to its relevant specificity). These movements are oriented towards the reform of the state (separatist, federalist; sub-state movements) or to the maintenance of the status quo (state nationalism). To be included into the platform’s subject, the agency of civil society is thé criterion (so as to exclude nationalism induced by the state itself).

The chronological starting date for the NISE platform is not clear-cut, but evolves from the break-up of the old identities at the end of the Ancien Régime. There is also no cut-off date: the data are kept up-to-date continuously.

Geographically Europe constitutes the collective term. The concept of ‘Europe’ according to the content of this platform is defined on the basis of geographic, historical, cultural and political elements. It extends in the North to the Arctic Ocean, in the West to Ireland and Iceland, in the South to the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea, and in the East to the Ural Mountains, where the South East limit is respectively the border with the former Soviet Union in the Caucasus and the present border of the Russian Federation with the Central Asian Republics. States and nations, which are located outside the territory described above, but which are historically connected to Europe, such as Turkey east of the Bosphorus, the Kurds or Quebec, still reside within the research area.