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Nationalism

1997
Author:

Craig Calhoun

Nationalism

An indispensable introduction to this timely topic.

Drawing on examples ranging from Eritrea, the former Yugoslavia, and China to France and Germany, Calhoun clarifies the ways national boundaries and identities have become central to the modern era, how they relate to the development of state power, and how a host of social movements and government policy makers try to make use of them.

This book is a timely conspectus of a field where there has been a proliferation of scholarly writing in recent years. Calhoun's treatment deftly combines the analytical with the historical and is both lucid and subtle. A superb introduction to the current state of the debate.

Partha Chatterjee, Director, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta

An indispensable introduction to this timely topic.

Nationalism is one of the most pressing of global problems, exacerbating ethnic conflicts and increasing the likelihood of war. It is also basic to defining the rights of democratic citizenship, and can be a source of inspiration and social solidarity. In this fascinating overview, Craig Calhoun considers nationalism’s diverse manifestations, its history, and its relationship to imperialism and colonialism.

A way of conceiving identities that is fundamental to the modern world, nationalism is distinct from kinship and ethnicity. It is an international discourse that shapes domestic politics and relations between states. Drawing on examples ranging from Eritrea, the former Yugoslavia, and China to France and Germany, Calhoun clarifies the ways national boundaries and identities have become central to the modern era, how they relate to the development of state power, and how a host of social movements and government policy makers try to make use of them. Calhoun also challenges attempts to “debunk” nationalism that fail to grasp why it has such power and centrality in modern life.

Craig Calhoun (see biography at left).

144 pages
Concepts in Social Thought Series
Translation rights: Open University Press, UK

Nationalism

Craig Calhoun is Chair of the Sociology Department of New York University and Professor of Sociology at the University of Oslo. After receiving his doctorate from Oxford, he taught for many years at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he was founder and director of the University Center for International Studies. Among his other books are Neither Gods nor Emperors: Students and the Struggle for Democracy in China and Critical Social Theory: Culture, History, and the Challenge of Difference.

Nationalism

This book is a timely conspectus of a field where there has been a proliferation of scholarly writing in recent years. Calhoun's treatment deftly combines the analytical with the historical and is both lucid and subtle. A superb introduction to the current state of the debate.

Partha Chatterjee, Director, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta

In this lucid and engaging book, informed throughout by a broad knowledge of history and social theory, Craig Calhoun provides a challenging and sophisticated introduction to the study of nationalism. Probing behind the dramatic, headline-capturing movements and clashes we ordinarily associate with nationalism, Calhoun brings into focus the subtle but pervasive manner in which "national" ways of thinking, feeling, and talking have come to structure not only political and cultural life but everyday experience in the modern world.

Rogers Brubaker, University of California, Los Angeles