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For the last two centuries, nationalism has been a central feature of society and politics. Few ideologies can match its power and resonance, and no other political movement and symbolic language has such worldwide appeal and resilience. But nationalism is also a form of public culture and political religion, which draws on much older cultural and symbolic forms.

Seeking to do justice to these different facets of nationalism, the second edition of this popular and respected overview has been revised and updated with contemporary developments and the latest scholarly work. It aims to provide a concise and accessible introduction to the core concepts and varieties of nationalist ideology; a clear analysis of the major competing paradigms and theories of nations and nationalism; a critical account of the often opposed histories and periodization of the nation and nationalism; and an assessment of the prospects of nationalism and its continued global power and persistence.

Broad and comparative in scope, the book is strongly interdisciplinary, drawing on ideas and insights from history, political science, sociology and anthropology. The focus is theoretical, but it also includes a fresh examination of some of the main historical and contemporary empirical contributions to the literature on the subject. It will continue to be an invaluable resource for students of nationalism across the social sciences.

Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface vii Introduction 1 1 Concepts 5 The Meanings of Nationalism 5 Definitions 9 2 Ideologies 24 Fundamental Ideals 27 Core Concepts 31 Nationalism as Culture and Religion 36 Voluntarism and Organicism 39 Ethnic and Civic Nationalisms 42 3 Paradigms 47 Modernism 49 Perennialism 53 Primordialism 55 Ethno-symbolism 60 Conclusion 63 4 Theories 66 Ideology and Industrialism 66 Reason and Emotion 72 Politics and Culture 77 Elites and Everyday Nationalism 82 Construction and Reinterpretation 85 Conclusion 93 5 Histories 95 Great Nations , Small Ethnies 96 Nations Before Nationalism 100 Nations in Antiquity? 110 Nations in History: An Alternative View 115 Conclusion 125 6 Prospects 129 Proliferating Nationalism 129 The Demise of the Nation-state? 132 Hybrid Identities? 136 The Dissolution of Nationalism? 139 The Consumer Society 141 Global Culture? 143 Internationalizing Nationalism 146 Uneven Ethno-histories 150 Sacred Foundations 153 Conclusion 157 Notes 159 Appendix 172 References 177 Index 197

About the Author

Anthony D. Smith is Emeritus Professor of Nationalism and Ethnicity at the London School of Economics.


"All who are interested in the study of nationalism are most fortunate to have available this masterly, updated distillation of Anthony Smith's four decades of intensive scholarship on the topic. It is concise and yet treats all of nationalism's key aspects, including its wellsprings and historical evolution. Students are certain to benefit from its clarity and from its critical, sweeping review of the literature." Walker Connor, Middlebury College, Vermont "This is a very accessible and engaging introduction to the major debates on the study of nationalism. It also manages to say something new and offers many insights into the complex phenomenon that is nationalism. Readers will find the definitions of concepts very helpful." Gerard Delanty, University of Sussex

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