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Politics (1st edn)

Peter Ferdinand, Robert Garner, and Stephanie Lawson
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date: 30 January 2023

p. 1216. Nations and Nationalismlocked

p. 1216. Nations and Nationalismlocked

  • Peter Ferdinand, Peter FerdinandEmeritus Reader in Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick
  • Robert GarnerRobert GarnerProfessor of Politics, University of Leicester
  •  and Stephanie LawsonStephanie LawsonProfessor of Politics and International Studies, Macquarie University


This chapter examines the concept of nation, its relationship with the state, and the phenomenon of nationalism. The concept of nation implies a notion of common biological descent and may thus be associated with ‘race’. In turn, nationalist ideas may be expressed in racist forms, although we must exercise caution when relating nationalism to racism. The chapter first considers the many different ways that the phenomenon of nationalism has been theorized, focusing on nationalist ideology in relation to the nation-state, as expressed in the principle of self-determination, and patriotism as a form of nationalism. It then explores the phenomenon of the multinational state and of sub-state nationalism and discusses three forms of nationalism: ethnic nationalism, civic nationalism, and anti-colonial nationalism. It also shows how nationalism has been faring in the era of globalization.

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