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Deconstructing the History of Nationalism: the Cultural Turn and Post-structuralism.

Chapter in book
Authors Gabriella Elgenius
Published in In Berger and Storm (eds.), Writing the History of Nationalism.
ISBN 9781350064317
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing
Place of publication London
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Sociology and Work Science
Language en
Keywords Nationalism, theories of nationalism, historiography and social history, the cultural turn, poststructuralism, deconstruction, discourse, nationalism as a discourse of social solidarity, symbolic repertoires and political legitimacy.
Subject categories Globalization Studies, Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology), History of Ideas, History, Political Science, Sociology


What is nationalism and how can we study it from a historical perspective? Writing the History of Nationalism answers this question by examining eleven historical approaches to nationalism studies in theory and practice. An impressive cast of contributors cover the history of nationalism from a wide range of thematic approaches, from traditional modernist and Marxist perspectives to more recent debates around gender. This book is essential reading for undergraduate students of history, politics and sociology wanting to understand the complex yet fascinating history of nationalism. The deconstruction of discourses, the critical assessment of underlying assumptions and ways in which we write and talk about nationalism, is the focus of chapter eight. Nations rely on nationalist claims about history and national identity for political authority and legitimacy. It is the discourse of nationalism that turns culture into politics and power through its support of dominant assumptions about nations. The national rhetoric, historical narration and symbolic repertoire of nations are therefore analytically significant to support discursive claims about nationalism as social solidarity, national unity, ethnic homogeneity and earned membership.

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