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Nationalism

  • By: Fiona M. Davidson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Nationalism is a term generally used to describe either the attachment of a person to a particular nation or a political action by a group of persons to achieve statehood (or national self-determination). While there is debate about the origin and antiquity of the idea of a nation, the political manifestation of national identity as nationalism is widely accepted as a relatively modern concept. As the state became the primary locus of sovereignty in the 18th and 19th centuries, it became increasingly important for ruling elites to construct a narrative that provided the often culturally heterogeneous populations that inhabited the state territory with a single identity. Depending on the circumstances of state formation, this identity could be voluntary and founded on adherence to ideology and ...

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