Taxonomies of Slavic Identity
Through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, encyclopedia
entries for “Slavs” or “Slavic Languages” have typically given a taxonomy
of Slavic national or national-linguistic identities. The identity
categories listed on such taxonomies change as various national movements
win recognition from interested international public opinion. So by
schematizing and comparing encyclopedia, the chronological development of
different national movements becomes empirically possible. The Russian,
Czech, Bulgarian and Polish categories are almost always present in such
taxonomies, Belarussian, Ukrainian, Slovak, Macedonian and Slovenian win
recognition within the last two hundred years. Serbs and Croats undergo
a series of complicated redefinitions which have not yet solidified.
This comparison also illustrates that national movements win popular recognition
before state-formation, and that a given national movement can switch names
while retaining essentially the same content, as for example when ‘Bohemians’
became Czechs or ‘Little Russians’ and ‘Ruthenians’ became Ukrainians.