International Relations Nations and Nationalism
by
Jennifer Jackson-Preece, Maria Norris
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 July 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199743292-0181

Introduction

At the heart of nationalism lies the belief that humanity is (or ought to be) divided into nations, and that nations are (or ought to be) the basis of independent sovereign states. The basic problem of nationalism is the difficulty (if not impossibility) in making political facts correspond to the national ideal. As a result, scholarship on nationalism deals with complex issues regarding the nature of identity and belonging, as well as the origins and legitimacy of the international system of nation-states. Consequently, this article has not been designed to answer questions, but rather to introduce the international-relations reader to key debates, developments, and controversies in a field that is deeply interdisciplinary. The article comprises works from disciplines as varied as political science, sociology, anthropology, law, and criminology as well as international relations. It has been split into three main sections. The first deals with nationalism theory, which is mostly concerned with the origins of nations and their relationship to the state. The second section takes the study of nationalism further by looking at identity, national or otherwise, and its relationship to belonging. Finally, as long as nationalism has existed, there has been conflict in its name. The last section thus looks at instability and nationalism in its myriad of forms, including secession, self-determination, multiculturalism, and ethnic conflict.

General Overviews

The Nationalism Project website is a great starting point for those interested in finding out more about nationalism. More-detailed introductions are found in Breuilly 2013 and Özkirimli 2005. Özkirimli 2010, Day and Thompson 2004, and Smith 1998 provide accessible introductions to nationalism theory, and Hutchinson and Smith 1994 is a great companion. Delanty and Kumar 2006 is a more critical introduction to the field.

  • Breuilly, John, ed. The Oxford Handbook of the History of Nationalism. Oxford Handbooks in History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

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    This edited volume comprises thirty-six essays providing a global view of the study of nationalism. It is comprehensive of current developments and debates in nationalism studies.

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    • Day, Graham, and Andrew Thompson. Theorizing Nationalism. Edited by Jo Campling. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

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      This is a great, modern overview of nationalism theory. It is accessible to new readers and is written in a very engaging way.

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      • Delanty, Gerard, and Krishan Kumar. The SAGE Handbook of Nations and Nationalism. London: SAGE, 2006.

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        A critical overview of nationalism theories and debates. Useful for those unsure about where to begin in the field of nationalism studies.

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        • Hutchinson, John, and Anthony D. Smith, eds. Nationalism. Oxford Readers. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.

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          This reader showcases carefully selected extracts of the central theories of nationalism. It is helpful to those who do not want to brave the entire section on nationalism theory.

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          • The Nationalism Project.

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            This website provides an overview of definitions and debates on the topic of nationalism and is a great starting point for those interested in the field. It is particularly useful as a data bank of multiple definitions of nation and nationalism.

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            • Özkirimli, Umut. Contemporary Debates on Nationalism: A Critical Engagement. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

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              The author reviews major areas of debate and key issues in the study of nationalism in the modern world, taking his work on the theories of nationalism further. It continues to highlight key debates and challenges in nationalism studies.

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              • Özkirimli, Umut. Theories of Nationalism: A Critical Introduction. 2d ed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

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                The book provides great critical insight on the theoretical aspect of nationalism and is essentially a roadmap to studying nationalism theory. It is more critically bent than Delanty and Kumar 2006, directly questioning key assumptions in nationalism theory.

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                • Smith, Anthony D. Nationalism and Modernism: A Critical Survey of Recent Theories of Nations and Nationalism. New York: Routledge, 1998.

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                  This volume provides an overview of dominant academic explanations of nations and nationalism. Although written in 1998, it remains the most comprehensive exploration of the different theories of nationalism through the ethnosymbolist lens.

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                  Journals

                  There are several academic journals dedicated to nationalism, each concentrating on particular areas of nationalism study. Nations and Nationalism as well as Studies in Ethnicities and Nationalism are the journals of the Association for the Study of Nationalism and have a tendency to more theoretical and historical in scope. Ethnic and Racial Studies brings a perspective that is more oriented toward political science. Ethnicities and National Identities focus more on the sociological aspect of nationalism, while Ethnopolitics and Nationalities Papers bring in insight from the field of conflict studies.

                  Theories of Nationalism

                  There is no single, unified theory of nationalism. The theoretical aspect of nationalism study is among the most diverse in the social sciences. This section provides key texts on the different theories of nationalism, ranging from primordialism to postmodernism. The study of nationalism originated in western Europe, and, as such, the main theoretical texts still disclose a degree of Eurocentrism. Such Eurocentrism is challenged by several of the authors in this section, and by those in the other sections of this article. Understanding nationalism theory allows us to build a frame of reference in which to investigate nationalism as a social and political phenomenon, and, as such, it is the appropriate starting place for this article.

                  Primordialism/Perennialism

                  Primordialists believe that both nations and nationalism already existed in premodern times. Primordialism is thus in direct opposition to the modernist approach to nationalism. Not all the works in this section are themselves primordialist, but they all engage with discussing the premodernity of the nation. Ichijo and Uzelac 2005 acts as an introduction to the issues regarding the age of nations. Hastings 1997 argues that England is an example of a primordial nation; Gorski 2000 agrees in regard to the Netherlands, while Roshwald 2006 claims that ancient Jewish and Greek history provide examples of premodern nationalism. Hirschi 2011 argues that nationalism existed as early as the Renaissance. Gat and Yakobson 2013 is a comprehensive exploration of the primordialist view, and Scales and Zimmer 2005 continues in this vein by showcasing medieval historians’ view of nationalism.

                  • Gat, Azar, and Alexander Yakobson. Nations: The Long History and Deep Roots of Political Ethnicity and Nationalism. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

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                    Gat and Yakobson argue that nations have existed for thousands of years. This is a comprehensive book sharing the primordialist view.

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                    • Gorski, Philip S. “The Mosaic Moment: An Early Modernist Critique of Modernist Theories of Nationalism.” American Journal of Sociology 105.5 (2000): 1428–1468.

                      DOI: 10.1086/210435Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      Looking at the Netherlands and the emergence of the Protestant religion, Gorski argues that there were medieval forms of nationalism both in Dutch and English forms. Available online via free registration.

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                      • Hastings, Adrian. The Construction of Nationhood: Ethnicity, Religion and Nationalism. Wiles Lectures 1996. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

                        DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511612107Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        Hastings is one of the central challengers to the modernist view of nationalism. For Hastings, the nation has a medieval origin, dependent on biblical religion and a vernacular literature. It is a great companion piece to Gorski 2000.

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                        • Hirschi, Caspar. The Origins of Nationalism: An Alternative History from Ancient Rome to Early Modern Germany. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

                          DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139032551Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Hirschi book takes us back to ancient Rome, arguing that the first nationalists were Renaissance humanists, which challenges the standard view that nationalists (and nationalism) emerged only after the French Revolution.

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                          • Ichijo, Atsuko, and Gordana Uzelac, eds. When Is the Nation? Towards an Understanding of Theories of Nationalism. New York: Routledge, 2005.

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                            This edited volume provides several approaches to dating the start of the nation and nationalism. It is a good introduction to the question “When is the nation?,” which is a conventional starting point of nationalism studies.

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                            • Roshwald, Aviel. The Endurance of Nationalism: Ancient Roots and Modern Dilemmas. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

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                              Roshwald’s work goes well with Hastings’s and Gorski’s in the sense that both passionately argue that nationalism is premodern. Roshwald takes this argument further by analyzing ancient Jewish and ancient Greek history as examples of nations and nationalism.

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                              • Scales, Len, and Oliver Zimmer, eds. Power and the Nation in European History. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

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                                This book takes a historical look at nationalism and is quite innovative because it brings in the expertise of medieval and early modern scholars in a quest to date the beginning of the nation.

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                                Modernism

                                Modernism is not a unified theory of nationalism. Rather, it is an umbrella term, encompassing disparate theories that have one thing in common: nations and nationalism are dependent on modern conditions. There is no agreement as to what these conditions are. Gellner 1983 highlights the role of industrialism, while Anderson 1985 focuses on print capitalism. Breuilly 1993 looks at the role of the state, while Hechter 2000 and Mann 2012 look for more-economic reasons. Chatterjee 1999 focuses more on non-Western forms of nationalism, and Kedourie 1993 powerfully criticizes nationalism in general, while agreeing that it is a modern creation.

                                • Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso, 1985.

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                                  Anderson famously said that the nation is an imagined community. In this book, he charts the relationship between nationalism and print capitalism, which he argues makes such imagining possible. It is a short and engaging read.

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                                  • Breuilly, John. Nationalism and the State. 2d ed. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1993.

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                                    Breuilly views nationalism through the prism of the state. He argues that nationalism is dependent on modern politics because it is used to achieve and maintain state power.

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                                    • Chatterjee, Partha. The Partha Chatterjee Omnibus. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1999.

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                                      This work offers a non-European approach to nationalism. Chatterjee is a modernist, and he argues that nationalism is not the sole property of postindustrial Europe.

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                                      • Gellner, Ernest. Nations and Nationalism. New Perspectives on the Past. Oxford: Blackwell, 1983.

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                                        Gellner is widely considered to be the father of nationalism studies. For him, nationalism is a political doctrine that holds that the nation and the state should be congruent. A modernist, he believed nationalism to be inherently connected with the rise of industrialism. This book is the most comprehensive depiction of his theory of nationalism.

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                                        • Hechter, Michael. Containing Nationalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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                                          Hechter argues that nationalism emerges from the imposition of direct rule, which created tension between the center and the periphery of society.

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                                          • Hobsbawm, Eric, and Terence Ranger, eds. The Invention of Tradition. Past and Present Publications. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

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                                            The theory of the invented tradition—that is, that customs believed to be ancient are in fact quite modern; should be read as a companion piece to Anderson 1985. First published in 1983.

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                                            • Kedourie, Elie. Nationalism. 4th ed. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1993.

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                                              Kedourie does not think nationalism is primordial, seeing it as a doctrine invented in modern Europe. This book is his scathing deconstruction of the philosophy and origins of nationalism. Originally published in 1960 (London: Hutchinson).

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                                              • Mann, Michael. The Sources of Social Power. Vol. 2, The Rise of Classes and Nation-States, 1760–1914. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

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                                                According to Mann, nations evolved in modern times responding to specific military and economic needs, which led to a demand for political representation. To be read in conjunction to Breuilly 1993 and Hechter 2000 if looking at state-centric theories of nationalism.

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                                                Ethnosymbolism

                                                Ethnosymbolism is the middle way between modernism and primordialism. It holds that nationalism as an ideology is dependent on conditions attached to modernity, but that nations themselves have a premodern core. Smith 1988 details the ethnosymbolist position, while Smith 1996 and Gellner 1996 engage in lively debate over the merits of ethnosymbolism over the modernist position. Armstrong 1982, Leerssen 2014, and Hutchinson 2000 develop on Anthony Smith’s arguments, whereas Hutchinson 2004 links the ethnosymbolist position to conflict studies, and Özkirimli 2003 rebuts ethnosymbolism as a theoretical explanation of nationalism.

                                                • Armstrong, John A. Nations before Nationalism. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1982.

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                                                  Armstrong’s book provides a very interesting look at ancient Islamic and Christian culture as an exploration of premodern ethnic identity. While not explicitly ethnosymbolist, his belief in premodern ethnic identities resonates within this subsection.

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                                                  • Gellner, Ernest. “Do Nations Have Navels?” Nations and Nationalism 2.3 (1996): 366–370.

                                                    DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8219.1996.tb00003.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                    Here, Gellner responds to Smith’s criticism of Gellner’s approach to nations and nationalism, arguing that nations are modern constructs. This short essay is often cited on undergraduate reading lists as a recommended introduction to nationalism.

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                                                    • Hutchinson, John. “Ethnicity and Modern Nations.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 23.4 (2000): 651–669.

                                                      DOI: 10.1080/01419870050033667Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                      Here, Hutchinson rejects the modernist position, criticizing it for conflating nation with nation-state. Hutchinson was a student of Anthony Smith’s, the key theorist of ethnosymbolism, and his work is important in understanding the ethnosymbolist position.

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                                                      • Hutchinson, John. Nations as Zones of Conflict. London: SAGE, 2004.

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                                                        Looking at the relationship between nations and conflicts, Hutchinson argues that nations rest on older ethnic identities. This book expands on his earlier work on ethnosymbolism.

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                                                        • Leerssen, Joep. National Thought in Europe: A Cultural History. 3d ed. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2014.

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                                                          Leerssen takes a historical approach to argue that nationalism has roots in medieval times, particularly in medieval ethnic prejudice. This is an expansive book, as he ranges from different countries and eras to search for early forms of nationalism. First published in 1999.

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                                                          • Özkirimli, Umut. “The Nation as an Artichoke? A Critique of Ethnosymbolist Interpretations of Nationalism.” Nations and Nationalism 9.3 (2003): 339–355.

                                                            DOI: 10.1111/1469-8219.00100Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                            This article presents a strong critique of the ethnosymbolist position and its normative implications.

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                                                            • Smith, Anthony D. The Ethnic Origins of Nations. New York: Basil Blackwell, 1988.

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                                                              This is the most detailed explanation of the ethnosymbolist position, on which Smith is the leading theorist. In this book, significantly, he expands on his idea of the ethnie, the premodern core of nations.

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                                                              • Smith, Anthony D. “Memory and Modernity: Reflections on Ernest Gellner’s Theory of Nationalism.” Nations and Nationalism 2.3 (1996): 371–388.

                                                                DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8219.1996.tb00004.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                This is a direct critique of Gellner’s theory of nationalism and a passionate defense of the ethnosymbolist position.

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                                                                Postmodern Theories

                                                                Postmodern theories of nationalism do not see nationalism either as primordial or modern. Instead, nationalism is analyzed as a social and discursive construction. Readers should be aware that there is debate over labeling discursive approaches as “postmodernism.” When (as here) the term is used, it is intended to highlight key differences with other perspectives on nationalism. For example, Billig 1995 is concerned with everyday displays of nationalism, while Calhoun 1998 looks at nationalism as a discursive construction. Sutherland 2005 argues for the study of nationalism through discourse theory. This is echoed in Finlayson 1998, a call for a discourse-analytical approach to nationalism studies. Staying with discourse, Weiner 2015 explores an example of cultural discourse working to reproduce national identity. Day and Thompson 2004 and Ting 2008 highlight the importance of looking at nationalism as a social construction.

                                                                • Billig, Michael. Banal Nationalism. London: SAGE, 1995.

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                                                                  Challenging the standard approach to nationalism, Billig focuses on everyday, less visible forms of nationalism, which he describes as “banal.” He argues that in daily life, nationalism is constantly flagged in the media through routine symbols and habits of language.

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                                                                  • Calhoun, Craig. Nationalism. Concepts in Social Thought. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998.

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                                                                    For Calhoun, there can be no single theory of nationalism that fully explains the phenomenon. For this reason, he depicts nationalism as a discursive construction.

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                                                                    • Day, Graham, and Andrew Thompson. Theorizing Nationalism. Edited by Jo Campling. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

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                                                                      While this book does provide an overview of all the main theoretical approaches, its chapter on the social construction of nationalism is one of the best explanations of this approach.

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                                                                      • Finlayson, Alan. “Ideology, Discourse and Nationalism.” Political Ideologies 3.1 (1998): 99–118.

                                                                        DOI: 10.1080/13569319808420771Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                        This article is a basic example of the constructivist approach to nationalism. It argues that due to the high specificity of national identity, only a discourse-analytical account of nationalism can fully explain the phenomenon.

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                                                                        • Sutherland, Claire. “Nation-Building through Discourse Theory.” Nations and Nationalism 11.2 (2005): 185–202.

                                                                          DOI: 10.1111/j.1354-5078.2005.00199.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                          Sutherland lays out the case for studying nationalism through the use of discourse theory. She innovatively examines Antonio Gramsci’s, Ernesto Laclau’s, and Chantal Mouffle’s work on discourse theory, arguing for its usefulness in studying nationalist ideology, especially between nation-states and minorities.

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                                                                          • Ting, Helen. “Social Construction of Nation—A Theoretical Exploration.” Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 14.3 (2008): 453–482.

                                                                            DOI: 10.1080/13537110802301418Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                            Ting takes a deep constructivist approach, arguing that nation is a mental construct and that national identity is a contentious historical process.

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                                                                            • Weiner, Melissa F. “Whitening a Diverse Dutch Classroom: White Cultural Discourses in an Amsterdam Primary School.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 38.2 (2015): 359–376.

                                                                              DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2014.894200Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                              This article explores ethnic and cultural discourses in practice in a Dutch primary school, which serve to reproduce a particular construction of Dutch identity.

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                                                                              Civic versus Ethnic Nationalism

                                                                              There have been several attempts to categorize nationalisms, but the most enduring typology is that originally proposed by Hans Kohn. Kohn 1960 posits a distinction between what he termed ethnic and civic nations. Whereas ethnic nations privileged shared language and a myth of common descent, civic nations instead privileged shared institutions and a myth of common consent. Kohn’s dichotomy has acquired normative undertones due to the presumption, fiercely contested, that western Europe fits the civic type and central, southern, and eastern Europe fits the ethnic type. This is seen in more detail in Brubaker 1994 and is critically reviewed in Kuzio 2002. The typology has a strong normative basis, where civic nationalism is supposedly more peaceful than ethnic. Brown 1999 explores this normative aspect, whereas Kreuzer 2006 and Fozdar and Low 2015 challenge the belief that civic nationalism is “better” than ethnic nationalism.

                                                                              • Brown, David. “Are There Good and Bad Nationalisms?” Nations and Nationalism 5.2 (1999): 281–302.

                                                                                DOI: 10.1111/j.1354-5078.1999.00281.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                Civic nationalism is considered to be good, while ethnic nationalism is viewed as negative and undesirable. This article explores and challenges this normative layer of the civic/ethnic typology.

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                                                                                • Brubaker, Rogers. Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany. New ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994.

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                                                                                  France and Germany are the original templates for civic and ethnic nationalism, respectively. The entire book is of interest, but the introduction provides a succinct explanation of the differences between the two nations.

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                                                                                  • Fozdar, Farida, and Mitchell Low. “‘They Have to Abide by Our Laws . . . and Stuff’: Ethnonationalism Masquerading as Civic Nationalism.” Nations and Nationalism 21.3 (2015): 524–543.

                                                                                    DOI: 10.1111/nana.12128Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    This article shows how the typology of nationalism actually does not fully work in practice, with civic nationalism often being a cover for ethnic nationalism.

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                                                                                    • Kohn, Hans. The Idea of Nationalism: A Study in Its Origins and Background. New York: Macmillan, 1960.

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                                                                                      The civic/ethnic dichotomy has its roots in the Western/Eastern typology of nationalism developed here by Kohn. Originally published in 1938; most recently republished in 2008 (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction).

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                                                                                      • Kreuzer, Pete. “Violent Civic Nationalism versus Civil Ethnic Nationalism: Contrasting Indonesia and Malay(si)a.” National Identities 8.1 (2006): 41–59.

                                                                                        DOI: 10.1080/14608940600571289Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        This article turns the civic/ethnic typology on its head. Kreuzer shows that civic nationalism, often considered to be peaceful, can take a violent turn. Likewise, he points out that ethnic nationalism does not necessarily mean violence.

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                                                                                        • Kuzio, Taras. “The Myth of the Civic State: A Critical Survey of Hans Kohn’s Framework for Understanding Nationalism.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 25.1 (2002): 20–39.

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                                                                                          Kuzio provides a succinct summary of Kohn’s typology, while challenging the idea of a purely civic nationalism.

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                                                                                          Identity and Nationalism

                                                                                          If nationalism is primarily about the relationship between the nation and the state, then it is also about identity. To define the nation requires defining who the people are and who they are not. The map of the world is bifurcated into states because nationalism demands the construction and preservation of boundaries between people. The focus here is on the construction of identity, nationalism, and gender, and the existence of national minorities. As such, it provides an introduction to the relationship between nationalism and identity in its many forms.

                                                                                          Boundaries

                                                                                          Boundaries demarcate insiders from outsiders. As such, they are the building blocks of collective identity. The ideology of nationalism further asserts that identity boundaries are (or ought to be) political boundaries. This belief is the basis of self-determination claims and the practice of state secession. The concept of boundaries gained academic attention through Barth 1969. Lamont and Molnár 2002 provides a great overview of boundary theories. Tilly 2004 explores the dynamics of boundary change, while Zimmer 2003 is interested in the nature of boundaries. Conversely, Alba 2005 focuses on boundary behavior, and Zolberg and Woon 1999 provides a great case study of boundary construction.

                                                                                          • Alba, Richard. “Bright vs. Blurred Boundaries: Second-Generation Assimilation and Exclusion in France, Germany, and the United States.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 28.1 (2005): 20–49.

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                                                                                            Alba creates a typology of boundaries. Bright boundaries are immovable and exclusive, while blurred boundaries are malleable and inclusive. The article helps explain how and why different versions of nationalism and national identity have different social and political effects.

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                                                                                            • Barth, Fredrik. Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Culture Difference. Papers presented at a conference held 23–26 February 1967 at the University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway. Scandinavian University Books. London: Allen & Unwin, 1969.

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                                                                                              Barth’s is the first study of boundaries, and it remains influential due to its detailed examination of how boundaries are constructed at the interface of identity.

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                                                                                              • Lamont, Michèle, and Virág Molnár. “The Study of Boundaries in the Social Sciences.” Annual Review of Sociology 28 (2002): 167–195.

                                                                                                DOI: 10.2307/3069239Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                This is an excellent survey of boundary theory, especially as it sets out the differences between social and symbolic boundaries.

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                                                                                                • Tilly, Charles. “Social Boundary Mechanisms.” Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34.2 (2004): 211–236.

                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1177/0048393103262551Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  Tilly looks at the dynamics of boundary change. He defines social boundaries as active concepts of “us and them” and details mechanisms that precipitate and constitute boundary change.

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                                                                                                  • Zimmer, Oliver. “Boundary Mechanisms and Symbolic Resources: Towards a Process-Oriented Approach to National Identity.” Nations and Nationalism 9.2 (2003): 173–193.

                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1111/1469-8219.00081Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                    Zimmer develops the civic/ethnic boundary to better explain not just how nationalism behaves, but how national identity is constructed at the microlevel. He does so by looking at symbolic resources such as myths, history, and values as representing the microlevel of boundary formation.

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                                                                                                    • Zolberg, Aristide R., and Long Litt Woon. “Why Islam Is Like Spanish: Cultural Incorporation in Europe and the United States.” Politics & Society 27.1 (1999): 5–38.

                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1177/0032329299027001002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      This article is a great case study of boundary construction in action. By comparing polemics surrounding Latin Americans in the United States and Muslims in Europe, it shows the similar ways different national boundaries form against the Other.

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                                                                                                      Gender

                                                                                                      Nationalism tends to be a gendered ideal because it frequently assigns different roles to men and women. For example, national myths usually portray men as military or political heroes while women are tasked with reproducing the nation. This is seen in Mayer 2000, which makes the argument of the nation being dependent on sexed bodies. Yuval-Davis 1997 and Bannerji 2000 are great introductions to the role of gender and nationalism, whereas Blom, et al. 2000 provides a more global perspective. Enloe 2014 brings an international-relations perspective by looking at gender and globalization. Baron 2007 looks at Egypt as a case study, and Jeffrey 2003 explores the connection between the sex industry and national identity in Thailand. Hitchcock and Cohen 1999 focuses more on constructions of masculinity and nationalism. The readings in this section use feminist theory in nationalism studies, which is a significant theoretical and methodological innovation.

                                                                                                      • Bannerji, Himani. The Dark Side of the Nation: Essays on Multiculturalism, Nationalism and Gender. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’, 2000.

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                                                                                                        This short book takes a much-needed intersectional view of gender and national identity. Although it focuses on the experience of nonwhite people in Canada, it has a much-wider application as it looks at the nation as a place of contested hegemonies.

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                                                                                                        • Baron, Beth. Egypt as a Woman: Nationalism, Gender, and Politics. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                          Through analyzing gendered images and languages of the nation in a historical perspective, Baron shows how gender influenced the shaping of Egyptian national identity in the early 20th century.

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                                                                                                          • Blom, Ida, Karen Hagemann, and Catherine Hall, eds. Gendered Nations: Nationalisms and Gender Order in the Long Nineteenth Century. Oxford: Berg, 2000.

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                                                                                                            This book focuses on the intersection between gender and access to national movements and groups, by looking at patterns of inclusion, exclusion, symbols, rituals, and myths connecting gender and nationalism. It takes a global, historical perspective.

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                                                                                                            • Enloe, Cynthia. Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014.

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                                                                                                              Enloe’s analysis of gender and globalization is pivotal for those looking at how international relations and gender interact. The chapter on nationalism and gender provides an excellent overview of key issues and for this reason is frequently included on undergraduate reading lists.

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                                                                                                              • Hitchcock, Tim, and Michèle Cohen, eds. English Masculinities, 1660–1800. Women and Men in History. New York: Longman, 1999.

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                                                                                                                Approaching nationalism through a gendered perspective means also looking at constructions of masculinity. This book is also relevant to debates on the premodernity of nations.

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                                                                                                                • Jeffrey, Leslie Ann. Sex and Borders: Gender, National Identity, and Prostitution Policy in Thailand. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2003.

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                                                                                                                  This book looks at the interactions among the sex trade, prostitution policy, and national identity in Thailand. It is an innovative and fascinating case study that expands the borders of nationalism study.

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                                                                                                                  • Mayer, Tamar, ed. Gender Ironies of Nationalism: Sexing the Nation. New York: Routledge, 2000.

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                                                                                                                    This is a comprehensive book on nationalism and sexuality. It uses constructivist methodology to take a global approach (case studies range from China to the Caribbean), and it is theoretically innovative in that it views the nation as constructed (and thus dependent) on sexed bodies.

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                                                                                                                    • Yuval-Davis, Nira. Gender & Nation. Politics and Culture. London: SAGE, 1997.

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                                                                                                                      One of the seminal works on gender and nationalism, Yuval-Davis deconstructs the standard understanding of nationalism to show how constructions of manhood and womanhood underpin the national project.

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                                                                                                                      Migration and Minorities

                                                                                                                      The national ideal tends to problematize both minorities and migrants. The ideology of nationalism asserts that every nation is (or ought to be) a sovereign, independent state. Yet not every putative nation has (or even wants) their own state, and many states contain more than one national group. Additionally, the ideology of nationalism also assumes that each individual will belong to one nation-state, and there reside and enjoy the rights of full and effective citizenship. But many individuals (migrants) do not reside in their state of citizenship because they have voluntarily or involuntarily crossed an international frontier. Bauman 2013 refers to migrants as “human waste,” since they are not considered valuable in society. Huysmans 2006 explores the securization of immigration, while Castles, et al. 2013 provides a good overview of migration movements. Joppke 1999 and Wimmer and Schiller 2002 look at the relationship between migration and the nation-state. At the same time, many individuals (minorities) do not possess full and effective citizenship in those states where they are currently resident. Various works investigate the complex relationships among minorities, migrants, and nationalism. For example, Jackson Preece 2005 is a comprehensive and accessible introductory book on minority rights, which is complemented by the detail in Jackson Preece 1998. Also, Guibernau and Rex 2010 is a great introduction to ethnicity and its relationship to identity and nationalism.

                                                                                                                      • Bauman, Zygmunt. Wasted Lives: Modernity and Its Outcasts. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2013.

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                                                                                                                        Bauman talks about how the lives of migrants are “human waste,” since they appear to be disposable in a world dominated by what he calls liquid modernity. Though not directly a book on nationalism, its theoretically innovative category of “human waste” helps expose nationalism’s construction of the Other. First published in 2003.

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                                                                                                                        • Castles, Stephen, Hein de Haas, and Mark J. Miller. The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World. 5th ed. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

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                                                                                                                          This book provides an accessible and thorough comparative study of the nature and extent of international population movements. It is a textbook filled with empirical data on migration flows, with a very useful online component. First published in 1993 (London: Macmillan), with Castles and Miller as coauthors.

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                                                                                                                          • Guibernau, Montserrat, and John Rex, eds. The Ethnicity Reader: Nationalism, Multiculturalism and Migration. 2d ed. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2010.

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                                                                                                                            This reader is the perfect starting point for students unfamiliar with studies on ethnicity. It is multidisciplinary, including extracts from works in the fields of sociology, political science, and anthropology, and it gives a great overview of debates within ethnicity and race studies.

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                                                                                                                            • Huysmans, Jeff. The Politics of Insecurity: Fear, Migration and Asylum in the EU. New International Relations. New York: Routledge, 2006.

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                                                                                                                              This book shows how security theory can contribute to nationalism study. It investigates the connections among insecurity after 9/11, immigration, and identity in Europe, using a post-structuralist methodology stemming from security studies.

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                                                                                                                              • Jackson Preece, Jennifer. National Minorities and the European Nation-States System. Oxford: Clarendon, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                Jackson Preece analyzes the role of minorities in European international relations from the Peace of Westphalia to the post–Cold War period. In so doing, she argues that the problem of minorities is intrinsically derivative of the nation-state system itself, a system that potentially intensifies minority disaffection.

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                                                                                                                                • Jackson Preece, Jennifer. Minority Rights: Between Diversity and Community. Key Concepts. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                  This is a compact, accessible book that is a great introduction to those new to studying minorities or migrants; for this reason, it is often used as an undergraduate textbook. Minority rights are discussed in the context of the increasingly polarized debate between those who urge the virtues of multiculturalism and those who fear that Western values are being undermined by respect for diversity.

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                                                                                                                                  • Joppke, Christian. Immigration and the Nation-State: The United States, Germany, and Great Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1093/0198295405.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                    This is a comparative study of postwar immigration policies in the United States, Germany, and Britain, showing the impact they have on sovereignty.

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                                                                                                                                    • Wimmer, Andreas, and Nina Glick Schiller. “Methodological Nationalism and Beyond: Nation-State Building, Migration and the Social Sciences.” Global Networks 2.4 (2002): 301–334.

                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1111/1471-0374.00043Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                      The authors’ concept of methodological nationalism in migration research is theoretically innovative in that it describes the assumption that the nation-state is the natural political form of the modern world.

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                                                                                                                                      Instability and Nationalism

                                                                                                                                      Nationalism relies on the maxim that nations are (or ought to be) the basis of independent sovereign states. The basic problem of nationalism is the difficulty (if not impossibility) in making political facts correspond to the national ideal. This translation of an unworkable maxim into reality has made instability and conflict the constant companion of nationalism. This section contains readings that investigate the myriad ways this instability takes shape and is responded to, be it as secession and self-determination, ethnic conflict, or multiculturalism and globalization.

                                                                                                                                      Self-Determination and Secession

                                                                                                                                      Self-determination and secession are two of the most powerful sources of instability in the international system. Both stem directly from the nationalist belief that every nation ought to have its own state. Mayall 1990 is the essential book regarding the relationship between nationalism and international society. Hannum and Babbitt 2006 and French 2013 look at secession and self-determination from the perspective of international law. Buchanan 1991 is the classic text on secession and goes very well with Doyle 2010; both are accessible looks at this aspect of nationalism. Moore 1998 grapples with important questions regarding who the people are, and where the right of secession comes from. Gallagher Cunningham 2014 looks at self-determination and secession from a national perspective, while Ker-Lindsay 2011 provides us with an in-depth look at Kosovo.

                                                                                                                                      • Buchanan, Allen. Secession: The Morality of Political Divorce from Fort Sumter to Lithuania and Quebec. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                        This is a classic text on secession. It looks at the historical roots of secession from a comparative perspective while also interrogating the role secession plays within the modern political community.

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                                                                                                                                        • Doyle, Don H., ed. Secession as an International Phenomenon: From America’s Civil War to Contemporary Separatist Movements. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                          The authors bring a historical perspective to self-determination and secession, drawing connections between modern separatist movements and the American Civil War while arguing that secession is—and has always been—a common feature of the modern world.

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                                                                                                                                          • French, Duncan, ed. Statehood and Self-Determination: Reconciling Tradition and Modernity in International Law. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                            This book takes a legal perspective to the question of secession and self-determination. However, it is still accessible to those less familiar with law.

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                                                                                                                                            • Gallagher Cunningham, Kathleen. Inside the Politics of Self-Determination. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                              Gallagher Cunningham moves from the international to the national arena, as she explores the internal politics of states and groups concerned with self-determination. She brings the national context to a discussion that the international arena tends to control, and the book is a great companion to Mayall 1990.

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                                                                                                                                              • Hannum, Hurst, and Eileen F. Babbitt, eds. Negotiating Self-Determination. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                This book merges conflict studies with international law to provide a comprehensive look at self-determination that is appropriate both for legal and nonlegal scholars.

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                                                                                                                                                • Ker-Lindsay, James. Kosovo: The Path to Contested Statehood in the Balkans. Library of European Studies 11. London: Tauris, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                  This book explores changing international thinking regarding Kosovo, from self-government within existing boundaries being seen as the best option to supporting outright political independence. The book provides an insight into how international actors seek to manage self-determination claims in the interest of peace and stability.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Mayall, James. Nationalism and International Society. Cambridge Studies in International Relations 10. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511559099Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    Mayall questions the creation of international society and the role nationalism has played in international relations. This was the first book bringing together international relations and nationalism, and it remains influential to this day.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Moore, Margaret, ed. National Self-Determination and Secession. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                      This edited volume grapples with these questions, among others: Who are the people? What gives them the right to secede? Is secession a dangerous doctrine? A great book for those wanting to take their understanding of secession to a more detailed level.

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                                                                                                                                                      Ethnic Conflict

                                                                                                                                                      Conflict is never far from nationalism. After all, it carries with it an almost irresistible pull toward homogeneity. Because few if any states are fully homogenous, different ethnic groups may have competing claims of legitimacy over a specific territory, often with deadly and long-lasting consequences. Bose 2007 looks at conflict in a comparative perspective, while Jackson Preece 1998 argues that the roots of nation-state creation lie in ethnic cleansing. Bringa 1995 focuses on identity in Bosnia, and Cox, et al. 2006 looks at the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Kaldor 2012, Laitin 2007, and Wimmer 2002 are good general textbooks on nationalism and conflict.

                                                                                                                                                      • Bose, Sumantra. Contested Lands: Israel-Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia, Cyprus, and Sri Lanka. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007.

                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.4159/9780674028562Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        This book uses the comparative method, focusing on five crisis points of ethnic conflict. Bose asks serious questions about how peace can be achieved when there are competing ethnonationalist claims. She provides a comprehensive discussion on modern ethnonationalism.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Bringa, Tone. Being Muslim the Bosnian Way: Identity and Community in a Central Bosnian Village. Princeton Studies in Muslim Politics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                          This is an ethnographical account of Bosnian Muslims in the 1990s. It is an intimate look at ethnic conflict, showing how nationalism works on a very personal level and how ethnic conflict has a deep, personal dimension.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Cox, Michael, Adrian Guelke, and Fiona Stephen, eds. A Farewell to Arms? Beyond the Good Friday Agreement. 2d ed. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                            This is a revised and updated version of the 2000 volume (A Farewell to Arms? From “Long War” to Long Peace in Northern Ireland), which now includes much discussion and analysis of post-1998 Northern Ireland. Focusing on Northern Ireland is significant since it provides us with an example of nationalist conflict that found some sort of resolution.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Jackson Preece, Jennifer. “Ethnic Cleansing as an Instrument of Nation-State Creation: Changing State Practices and Evolving Legal Norms.” Human Rights Quarterly 20.4 (1998): 817–842.

                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1353/hrq.1998.0039Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              Jackson Preece investigates the connection between ethnic cleansing and the state. The article is theoretically innovative as well as controversial for its framing of ethnic cleansing as an integral part of the creation of nation-states ever since they became the ideal form of political community.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Kaldor, Mary. New and Old Wars: Organized Violence in a Global Era. 3d ed. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                Kaldor argues that what we think of as “war” is changing; in its place is a combination of war, massive human rights violations, and organized crime. She further connects ethnonationalist conflicts with the new developments both in warfare and the conception of war. First published in 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Laitin, David D. Nations, States, and Violence. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228232.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  In this book, Laitin revises the standard understandings of nationalism and national identity while showing the implications of culture and heterogeneity for nation-states. Since homogeneity is impossible, except by force, conflict is inevitable.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Wimmer, Andreas. Nationalist Exclusion and Ethnic Conflict: Shadows of Modernity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511490415Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    Wimmer argues that ethnic conflict has had a central role to play in the formation of modern society and the nation-state. He argues that conflict is a good illustration of the practical consequences of the nationalist demand for congruency.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Majority Nationalism and the Extreme Right

                                                                                                                                                                    Hainsworth 2008 and Mudde 2010 expand on the rise of the radical Right and its relationship with multiculturalism.

                                                                                                                                                                    • Ford, Robert, and Matthew J. Goodwin. Revolt on the Right: Explaining Support for the Radical Right in Britain. Routledge Studies in Extremism and Democracy 21. New York: Routledge, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                                                      By looking at the rise of the UK Independence Party, the book shows how Far Right parties rely on the language of nationalism, reaching disaffected voters whose sense of national identity is felt to be under threat from outside forces.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Hainsworth, Paul. The Extreme Right in Western Europe. Making of the Contemporary World. New York: Routledge, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                        While Ford and Goodwin provide an in-depth look at the popular Right in the United Kingdom, Hainsworth provides a cross-European account of their appeal while also exploring the theoretical and historical background of populist parties.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Halikiopoulou, Daphne, Steven Mock, and Sofia Vasilopoulou. “The Civic Zeitgeist: Nationalism and Liberal Values in the European Radical Right.” Nations and Nationalism 19.1 (2013): 107–127.

                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8129.2012.00550.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                          This article explores the civic aspect of nationalism, and how liberal values can be used in exclusive ways that are more associated with ethnic than civic nationalism. It is theoretically innovative in analyzing the Far Right through the prism of civic nationalism.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Mudde, Cas. “The Populist Radical Right: A Pathological Normalcy.” West European Politics 33.6 (2010): 1167–1186.

                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1080/01402382.2010.508901Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                            Standard belief is that Far Right ideology does not reflect standard national values. Here, Mudde shows that Far Right feelings should be interpreted as an extreme interpretation of mainstream national values. As such, rather than an anomaly, Far Right ideology should be considered as a form of nationalism.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Globalization and Multiculturalism

                                                                                                                                                                            Globalization is a supranational phenomenon that blurs the boundaries of nation-states. Multiculturalism, which is directly related to globalization, blurs internal boundaries. Both challenge the maxim that nations and states have to be congruent and as such are great sources of instability to any nationalist narrative. Indeed, it can be argued that ethnic conflict and the backlash against multiculturalism and diversity share the same root: the nationalist impulse toward homogeneity. Kymlicka 1995 and Kymlicka 2007 are central texts on multiculturalism and identity. Collier 2014 brings an economic look to immigration and multiculturalism, while Lentin and Titley 2011 questions the idea of a crisis in multiculturalism. Vertovec 2007 explores the concept of superdiversity, and Hainsworth 2008 and Mudde 2010 (both cited under Majority Nationalism and the Extreme Right) expand on the rise of the radical Right and its relationship with multiculturalism.

                                                                                                                                                                            • Collier, Paul. Exodus: Immigration and Multiculturalism in the 21st Century. London: Penguin, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Collier takes an economic approach to immigration and multiculturalism. Nationalism and economics are not usually studied together, so this work is refreshing and innovative. It looks at migration flows and the unintended consequences of migration policy.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Kymlicka, Will. Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights. Oxford Political Theory. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Kymlicka is a key author on the topic of multiculturalism. In this book, he sets out a liberal theory of minority rights, through which national unity can still be achieved. Although written in 1995, it remains the authoritative book on multiculturalism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Kymlicka, Will. Multicultural Odysseys: Navigating the New International Politics of Diversity. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  In this book, Kymlicka charts the unprecedented move in international society regarding minority rights, where states are required to meet evolving standards in their treatment of minority groups and indigenous people.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Lentin, Alana, and Gavan Titley. The Crises of Multiculturalism: Racism in a Neoliberal Age. London: Zed Books, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    This book challenges the narrative that there has been both a rise and a fall of multiculturalism. Instead, the authors argue that there has never been a coherent “multicultural” era in the first place, and that claims of a crisis must be understood in light of the prevalence of neoliberalism in Western societies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Vertovec, Steven. “Super-diversity and Its Implications.” In Special Issue: New Directions in the Anthropology of Migration and Multiculturalism. Ethnic and Racial Studies 30.6 (2007): 1024–1054.

                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1080/01419870701599465Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                      Here, Vertovec introduces the concept of superdiversity, which presents a new set of challenges to nation-states. Looking at the United Kingdom as a case study, superdiversity refers to a level and complexity of diversity never experienced before.

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