Writer Marko Attila Hoare, a British integral nationalist (see Smith at national identity 1991, page 79) in a recent article at his blog(http://greatersurbiton.wordpress.com), try to explain the nationality of the ancient Macedonians.
How a modern writer try to define the nationality in a field of the Classicism raise a lot of questions.
Hoare's article fails in two things.
First fail is to take adequately into account the important distinction, first proposed by Max Weber (1921) and since used by social anthropologists, between objective and subjective ethnicity. Objective ethnicity is a biological category which defines groups of human beings in terms of their shared physical characteristics resulting from a common gene pool. Subjective ethnicity, however, describes the ideology of an ethnic group by defining as shared its ancestors, history, language, mode of production, religion, customs, culture, etc., and is therefore a social construct, not a fact of nature (Isajiw 1974).
Objective and subjective ethnicity may and often do overlap, and the subjective, ideological boundaries between ethnic groups may be commensurate with objective ethnic boundaries (Barth 1969), especially where an ethnic group has been isolated or has rigorously avoided intermarriage.
Second fail is the...
subjective definitions of ethnicity. These definitions by their very nature as social constructs are open to challenge. Different people can define a particular ethnic group's genealogy in different ways according to their contingent purposes at the time. In order to define a “nationality” in ancient Greece , particularly the controverted question of the “nationality” of the ancient Macedonians, not only because language is, at best, only one of the several elements which contribute to the formation of group identity, but also –and mainly– because such a debate presupposed a previous response to the question of the nature of “nationality” in ancient Greece, provided of course that this question is well formulated and admits an effective answer.
Jonathan Hall (Ancient Perceptions of Greek Ethnicity, page 172) in his research regarding the Macedonian nationality and in his conclusions confirms the Classists doubts about the possibility of answering the question concerning the “nationality” of the ancient Macedonians: “To ask whether the Macedonians ‘really were’ Greek or not in antiquity“, he writes, “is ultimately a redundant question given the shifting semantics of Greekness between the sixth and fourth centuries B.C. What cannot be denied, however, is that the cultural commodification of Hellenic identity that emerged in the fourth century might have remained a provincial artifact, confined to the Balkan peninsula, had it not been for the Macedonians”.
There is no consensus on the issue of Macedonian ethnicity: whether the Macedonians were of Greek or mixed descent. Of course Macedonians were not Slavs as usual claim the Slavonic officials of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Marko Attila Hoare never explains if believes what the main history stream of this tiny State claim.
In the archaic and classical period the Macedonians perceived themselves to be Greeks and were also perceived to be Greeks by the other Greeks. When they first became involved in affairs that concerned the Southern Greeks, and then major players in Southern Greek politics, their ethnicity became open to rhetorical manipulation, or rather, they became vulnerable to the cultural insult ‘barbarian,’ with the help of the deployment of the ‘cultural inferiority’ meaning of ‘barbarian’, so that the accusation was not unambiguously about ethnicity. It is not that perceptions of the Greekness of the Macedonians became unstable; it was the acknowledgement of their Greekness that became unstable at the level of rhetoric, it was manipulated as a weapon. But in Greek eyes the Greek identity of the Macedonians was indelibly sealed through their admittance as participants in the Panhellenic Games, which in the Greek collective representations defined Greekness, and defined not simply the individual, but also, I hope to have made clear, his polis or ethnos, as Greek. Pr Hammond in his works the above circumstances had in his mind when wrote "The Macedonians in general did not consider themselves Greeks, nor were they considered Greeks by their neighbours.” Marko Attila Hoare put a sentence and tried to change the known view of Pr Hammond. Also Slav Macedonians ultranationalists from the FYROM use this point of view. I hope Marko Attila Hoare do not adopt apart or whole of all theirs thesis.
In my blog I have post a lot of articles regarding the ancient Macedonian background. I suggest to Pr. Marko Attila Hoare to read these articles carefully and reject the influence of the Slavmacedonism propaganda that fluid his articles regarding the Greece and Greek people.
Finally I would like to suggest to Hoare for further reading two books:The "Hellenicity" by Jonathan Hall and the "Ancient perceptions in Greek ethnicity" by IraD Malkin. Maybe he will understand and realize that this confusion is a consequence of the nature of the ancient source material and the influence of modern politics, especially after 1991 when the 'new state' of the FYROM was formed.