Why has nationalism proved so durable? What are the roots of its appeal? This sharp and accessible book slices through the myths surrounding nationalism and provides an important new perspective on this perennial subject. The book argues that: nationalism is persistent, not merely because of its specific ideological appeal, but because it expresses some of the major conflicts in modernity; nationalism reflects and reinforces four key trends in western social development: state formation, democratization, capitalism and the rationalization of culture; the forms of nationalism can be organized into a comprehensive typology which is outlined in the course of this study; post-nationalism and cosmopolitanism are significant innovations in the debate about nation-states and nationalism; and that the new radical nationalisms have become powerful new movements in the global age.

Nationalism and Structure

Nationalism and structure

In the previous chapter, we outlined the centrality of structural differentiation processes to the historical development of sociology as well as the increasing questioning of the presumed independence of these differentiation processes from the dynamics of culture and agency. In the current chapter, this question is taken up afresh and related to those accounts of nationalism that in their theory and methodology can be said to belong to structural traditions in sociology and politics. An overview of the literature on nationalism today, albeit one largely confined to the English-speaking world, reveals this to be a less prominent tradition than the interpretative approaches that we will discuss in the next chapter. The work of Ernest Gellner, for example, is noticeable because ...

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