Archive for November, 2013

ennin1 copyThe University of Edinburgh’s Ethnicity, Nationalism and National Identity Network (ENNIN) is pleased to invite abstracts for a one-day graduate conference entitled ‘Identity, Nations and Nationalism in a Changing World’. The conference will be held on Thursday, May 22, 2014, at the University of Edinburgh. Our aim is to provide an opportunity for Ph.D. students and professors to exchange ideas and build networks in a welcoming setting that encourages interdisciplinary dialogue and approaches. There will be five different panels: Accommodating Plural Societies: Pathways to Autonomy and Independence; Gender and Nationalism; Socialism, Class and Nationalism; Spreading Nationalism: Media and Literature; and Migration and Diversity. The conference keynote speech will be delivered by Professor John Breuilly (London School of Economics). There will also be a timely roundtable on Scotland’s constitutional future with Professor David McCrone (University of Edinburgh), Professor Michael Keating (University of Aberdeen and University of Edinburgh) and Dr. Michael Rosie (University of Edinburgh). Detailed descriptions of the panels are included below and all of the abstracts (250-350 words) should be e-mailed to ennin.rg@ed.ac.uk with ‘Conference 2014/Name of Panel’ in the subject line by Monday, January 13, 2014. The outcome of the submissions will be known by the end of January, and the general registration for the conference will begin in February. We recommend making the trip a long weekend to experience the beautiful, historic, and friendly city of Edinburgh.

The ‘Identity, Nations and Nationalism in a Changing World’ Conference’s Panels:


#1 Accommodating Plural Societies: Pathways to Autonomy and Independence

Not every state represents a unique nation and not every nation has its own state. There is a growing body of literature on the territorial, cultural and economic claims posed by stateless nationalist movements and on how central governments and the international community deal with them. Scholarly debates have tackled issues from the territorial decentralisation of the state and demands for independence to the nature of national identity and nationalist movements. Stateless nationalist demands are currently a salient topic with the forthcoming referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future and are also a prominent issue in Catalonia, Flanders and Quebec. Ongoing disputes over contested states from Kosovo and Taiwan to Nagorno-Karabakh and Somaliland pose significant security challenges and hinder regional integration. This panel examines the internal and external dynamics of self-determination demands, including the role of party strategies, public opinion, ethnic diasporas and great powers. We welcome papers dealing with the aforementioned issues, either comparative or single-case studies, on these contexts and beyond.

#2 Gender and Nationalism

This panel will explore the relationship between gender, nationalism and national identity. We aim to contribute to the debate about the role that gender and sexuality hold in the construction and preservation of national identities. We also aim to explore the impact of nationalism on gender behaviour and expectations. Topics will include, but are not limited to, sexuality and war, engendering of the nation, symbolism and reproductive policies.


#3 Nationalism, Socialism and Class

This panel explores the connections and interactions between nationalism, socialism and class. Nationalism and socialism are often seen as opposites—the former being held as particularistic and exclusive, the latter as universal and inclusive. Both emerged in their modern forms almost simultaneously and both offered new ways to organise society in the age of modernity. The ideological battle between these two forces has been the dominant theme in global history for the last 150 years. However, more recently some scholars have argued that nationalism and socialism are similar phenomena. This panels explores how nationalism, socialism and class relations formed and the complex ways in which they related to each other historically. We ask how have different classes responded to and used these ideologies? And do nationalism, socialism and class continue to be powerful forces today?


#4 Migration and Nationalism

The arrival of immigrants of diverse ethno-cultural and religious backgrounds is a central feature of many contemporary societies. The integration of these newcomers into the national community is particularly challenging for multinational states, where immigrants are faced with contested national identities and competing nation-building projects. Many societies are experiencing a rise of anti-immigrant attitudes and are developing state measures to limit access to public benefits and citizenship rights to new immigrants. Recent scholarship has proposed different measures at the national and transnational levels to accommodate diversity. Other scholars have proposed shifting the focus from multicultural paradigms to intercultural paradigms. We welcome theoretical and empirically-informed contributions to the topic of the relationship between migration and nationalism worldwide.


#5 Spreading Nationalism: Media and Literature

This panel addresses the function of media and literature in the construction of national identity. With a focus on the 19th century to the present, this panel tracks the changing nature of literature and media through socio-political fluctuations that have shaped nationalisms around the world. We welcome but are not limited to papers exploring how efforts to construct national identity have been used to support or deny an artist’s work, how media/literature can be used to verify or refute notions of national identity and how efforts to construct national identity have been denied through censorship laws.

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Hearn to chair Nations and Nationalism Debate

ASEN/Nations and Nationalism Debate on Bernard Yack’s book, “Nationalism and the Moral Psychology of Community”

This is the eighth in the series of public debates organised by ASEN and Nations and Nationalism in which a recent major work on the subject of nationalism is discussed by a panel of experts, including the author, followed by discussion with the audience.

The Debate will take place in the Lecture Theatre U8, Tower 1, London School of Economics, on Wednesday 13 November 6-7.30pm. The Speakers are as follows; Bernard Yack (Brandeis University), Chandran Kukathas (LSE), David Miller (Oxford University). The Debate will be Chaired by Jonathan Hearn (University of Edinburgh). The event is free and open to all with no ticket required.

See also:


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CFP Reminder: ASEN Annual Conference, 1-3 April 2014

The Association for Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN) is pleased to announce the call for papers for the 24th ASEN Annual Conference: Nationalism and Belonging. The conference will take place from the 1-3rd April, 2014 at the London School of Economics. The full call for papers can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/asen2014

Confirmed keynote speakers include: William Callahan, Sheila Croucher, Alain Dieckhoff, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Gregory Jusdanis, and Bo Strath

Proposals are invited for papers focusing on the following themes:
• How national belonging is ascribed and cultivated
• The role of symbols and rituals in national belonging
• The process by which individuals and groups construct their belonging to nations
• How states use claims about national belonging to define their communities

• The examination of forms of diaspora and kin nationalism
• How transnational communities maintain a sense of belonging across space and time
• How migrant and diaspora communities construct new ways of belonging

• How national belonging is responding to alternative, non-national forms of attachment
• The role of supra-national and sub-national forces in redefining belonging
• The relationship between national belonging and cosmopolitanism/post-nationalism
• How possible shifts in the centrality of national belonging in the contemporary world affect the study of nationalism.

Abstracts should be submitted online no later than November 30, 2013. To submit your abstract, please follow this link: http://tinyurl.com/asen2014CFP

Successful submissions will be announced in January 2014. The ASEN conference team looks forward to reading your abstract!

Please email asen.conference2014@lse.ac.uk if you have any queries.

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Call for Submissions: Nationalism and Ethnic Politics

Nationalism and Ethnic Politics is a refereed journal published four times a year. The editors welcome articles from a variety of methodological approaches on ethnicity and nationalism, including ethnic identity formation, mobilization, competition, conflict, and accommodation. The journal is also open to studies of related subjects such as immigration, citizenship, as well as the connection between ethnicity and religion, race, language, class, economic development, and the external environment. Articles submitted to the journal should be original contributions and should not be under simultaneous consideration by any other publication. If another version of the article is under consideration by another publication, or has been, or will be published elsewhere, authors should clearly indicate this at the time of submission.

Submission Guidelines:
Manuscripts should not exceed 9,500 words (including notes and references). The article should begin with an indented and italicized abstract of 100 words, which describes the main arguments and conclusions of the article. The details of the author’s institutional affiliation, full address and contact information, the exact length of the article, a brief biographical description (about 40 words), and any acknowledgments should be included on a separate cover-sheet. Manuscripts are sent out for anonymous review; consequently we would encourage authors to refrain from posting their name or affiliation on any materials that may be sent out to referees (i.e. the manuscript itself and associated graphical presentations). Finally, the journal prefers numerical superscript to parenthetical notation and encourages authors to abide by these guidelines when citing.

Each manuscript should be submitted electronically to the editor, Professor Adrian Guelke, at a.guelke@qub.ac.uk, as well as one hardcopy to Professor Adrian Guelke, Centre for the Study of Ethnic Conflict, School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, Queen’s University of Belfast, BELFAST BT7 1NN. Northern Ireland, UNITED KINGDOM.

For more details about how to submit manuscripts to Nationalism and Ethnic Politics or to view a sample copy online, go to http://www.tandfonline.com/FNEP. Visit our Author Services website for further resources and guides to the complete publication process and beyond.

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Seminar Series: Nationalism and Education

Please join us for this year’s seminar series, “Nationalism and Education” which will begin Thursday 14 Nov. with Professor Jenny Ozga.

Crafting the Narrative of Independence – the SNP, Education and the Political Work of Governing

Prof. Jenny Ozga, Professor of the Sociology of Education, University of Oxford

Nationalism is a key resource for the political work of governing Scotland, and education offers the Scottish National Party (SNP) government a policy space in which political nationalism (self determination) along with social and cultural forms of nationalism can be formed and propagated, through referencing ‘inwards’ to established myths and traditions that stress the ‘public’ nature of schooling/education/universities and their role in construction of ‘community’; and referencing ‘outwards’, especially to Nordic comparators, to education’s role in economic recovery and progress. The SNP government has been very active in the education policy field, and a significant element of their activity lies in promoting a discourse of collective learning in which a ‘learning government’ is enabled to lead a ‘learning nation’ towards greater independence. This presentation draws on recent and current research in order to analyse the construction of this discourse and the roles of key system actors in its mobilisation.

Room KSW.1.04 at the LSE at 1815.

All welcome and no ticket required

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Public Lecture: Canada’s New National Museumscape

Canadian Studies 2013 Public Lecture Poster-page-001

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Both Liah Greenfeld’s family history, and her own life are intertwined with the political violence and upheaval of the Soviet Union at the time. She was born and raised in Russia to a family of intellectuals. Her grandfather was a Bolshevik, spending time in prison in Siberia, eventually escaping to Italy where he knew Gramsci. All of her grandparents were devout socialists, although they were also political prisoners. Her grandmother spent 10 years in a prison camp.

Political persecution did not escape her parents, either, who were both interrogated by the KGB on several occasions. Greenfeld’s parents embraced their Jewish identity, especially her father who taught himself Hebrew and instilled in Greenfeld that her most fundamental and important identity was Jewish. Her father’s openness about his support of Israel led to further interrogation, and the constant threat of arrest. In 1972, at age 18, her family left Russia, and Greenfeld ended up attending university in Israel.

One can imagine that this family history has had a profound effect on her work on nationalism, identity, and power. When reflecting on her mother’s relationship to her Jewish identity, Greenfeld says, “I remember vividly how she blushed, when asked her nationality—a most common and devious question in the happy multinational family of the Soviet republics, in which, as it was believed in the West, all national animosities were forgotten” (p. 38).

Greenfeld gained her PhD in Sociology of Art from Hebrew University in 1982 and taught at University of Chicago and Harvard before becoming a professor at Boston University in 1994, where she remains.

Greenfeld, 1994, p. 9

Theoretical outline

For Greenfeld, nationalism is the modern culture. It is the underlying principle behind all modern institutions. Before going on to explaining her theory, it would be beneficial to outline Greenfeld’s approach. Greenfeld is of the veiw that human society is organised symbolically rather materially. This leads her to assert that the history of human society should be studied as a cultural process rather than as a history of biological evolution.

According to Greenfeld, nationalism is the ‘symbolic blueprint of modern reality’. It is our stand-point as well as the prism through which we see the modern world and construct its image in our minds.

For Greenfeld, ‘nationalism’ has three primary characteristics:

  1. It is based on the principle of egalitarianism which places sovereignty with the people    (popular sovereignty)
  2. It is humanistic at its core
  3. It is fundamentally secular

The explanations of the above points are inter-linked and no clear lines can be drawn between each of them. According to Greenfeld, the members of the new English aristocracy in early sixteenth century England were the ‘inventors’ of nationalism. Up till this point the word ‘nation‘ implied an elite. An elite who were, of course, at the top of social hierarchy but also the source of sovereignty of the state. Sometime in early sixteenth century, ‘nation‘ came to be used for the entire population, thereby elevating the entire population to the status of ‘elite‘ and thus the concept of popular sovereignty was born. Since everyone was now an ‘elite’, everyone was equal. Thus along with popular sovereignty, egalitarianism was also created.

According to Greenfeld, this notion of popular sovereignty is what led to democracy. Nationalism placed sovereignty with the people and the assumed  a fundamental equality amongst all of them. These turned out to foundations of democracy as well. For her, ‘nationalism is the form in which democracy appeared in the world, contained in the idea of the nation as a butterfly in a cocoon’.

It must be mentioned at this point that Greenfeld lays great emphasis on the ‘desire for status’ within human beings in her study of nationalisms. At one point, she writes that ‘national identity is, fundamentally, a matter of dignity. When sovereignty is placed with the people, everybody, in a sense, is an elite. And this sense of pride is brought by being a member of the nation.

As for being secular and humanistic, Greenfeld opines that nationalism, in being the modern culture, is the way humans experience and express modern consciousness. And the image thus expressed is secular, in so far as it is confined to ‘this’ world. It is humanistic since the most significant element of this world are humans.

But surely such a consciousness could have been constructed in other ways too . According to Greenfeld, it the members of new English aristocracy in England, through a conscious effort, substituted the traditional society where social mobility was non-existent with the concept of an ‘homogenously elite’ people. They could have might as well forged genealogies, which Greenfeld terms as ‘perfectly logical thing to do given the circusmtances’. She concedes, that had this happened, history would be different.

The stand-out feature of Greenfeld’s theory is its contrast with other modernists. While the ‘modernist’ view holds that nationalism was the product of industrialization and modernity, Greenfeld asserts that it was in fact the other way round. In her view, it was ‘nationalism’ which created the neccessary social ground for industrialisation and modernity; it is the ‘constitutive element for modernity’. For Greenfeld, industrialisation and modernity are not structural constituents of nationalism but its consequences.

Both industrial capitalism and the modern state could only come to be once nationalism had created an egalitarian society. With the onset of nationalism economic activities of the masses achieved an elevated status and in an egalitarian society, social mobility was finally possible. One was not ordained to an occupation for life but could dream about growth and hence a shift was bought about from subsistence model to a model of sustained growth. Greenfeld regards this as a direct consequence of nationalism.

In so far as the modern state is concerned, Greenfeld regards the concept of popular sovereignty as an effect of equality bought about by being a member of the nation. Since all modern states claim to derive their authority and legitimacy from popular sovereignty, Greenfeld opines that the modern state, too, follows nationalism and does not precede it.

Before concluding this section, it is important to know that the approach which Greenfeld adopts i.e. of regarding human societies as organised symbolically and assuming social reality to be intrinsically cultural, is an an approach that is characteristic of the Weberian school.

Case study > Russian transitions between nationalism and internationalism

Greenfeld claims that the rise of communism in Russia was due to the intelligentsia feeling inferiority towards the West. The explanation is not to be found in economics or class struggles. Contrastingly, there was a common feeling of shame amongst the Russian intelligentsia. The establishment of the Soviet Union implied the dissolving of a russian nation and becoming the representative for an international proletariat.  Thus, the establishment of the Soviet Union redefined reality of the intelligentsia and a possible triumph over the West. In other words, it was a change to internationalism.

Does this view of the transition from Tsarist Russia to Soviet Russia appear convincing?

The tables below show the distribution of answers to the question: “To which of these geographical groups would you say you belong first of all?”
The question was asked to a relatively large group of Russians in 1990 and 1995, accordingly:

Russia 1990


Do the distributions match the expectations of Greenfeld?  Do you think that Russia is moving towards nationalism today?

Case study > Venezuela

Nowadays, Venezuelan Nationalism could be understood as a civic-collectivist nationalism fostered from the state political structures. The political changes in Venezuela since 1998, based on a “XXI century socialism” project, needed a wide popular support to be applied. Therefore, the renovation of nationalism feelings was an essential political tool to reach the political and juridical modifications towards the application of this model.

The Venezuelan nationalism, as the other Latino-American nationalisms, was based on the resentment to Western, especially to Spain and USA due to the economical dependence and political influence they pursued in the region. However, since Chavez administration, the social resentment and sense of inferiority, former expressed as resentment to other nations, was replaced and leaded to high classes. This was evident in the political discourse of the government and the terms used in Chavez’ speech, as “oligarchy” and “aristocracy”, instead of “businessmen” or “entrepreneurs”, as in other Latin-American countries. The Venezuelan nationalism has been also focused on exalt historical heroes, as a form of legitimation of nowadays policies. This strategy implied the reinforcement of civic holydays, giving them a new meaning and contextualized them as a palpable sign of patriotism. Even the actual name of the country “Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela” makes reference to Simon Bolívar “the liberator of America”, an XIX century important politician, ideologist and military in South America.


The emotional element of Venezuelan nationalism has been a very interesting factor, developed along the Chavez’ administrations. The revolutionary discourse of Venezuelan regime with Chavez and now with Maduro’s regime use phrases recalling hard-core socialism ideology as “socialist nation or death”. The state has been able to create a new national identity in some sectors of the population based in the idea of the state as a social class, in communion and solidarity with “our America” (other Latin-American countries), expressed in the Venezuelan popular culture. An outstanding example of this emotional mixture was the Chavez death and funeral, with widespread demonstration of sorrow and condolences.

A link showing a video with the public reactions towards Chavez death


The construction of Venezuelan nationalism and renovated national identity from a very personalistic form of leading has been very obvious. This new identification of Chavez with the Bolivarian revolution transcend itself the idea of class, otherwise, the identification with chavism for a big portion of the population is almost comparable with the identification with Venezuela.

Given that this policy worked fine at internal level, the Venezuelan state tried to export it to other Latin-American countries with relative success. This provoked a change in foreign policy towards USA and Latin America, basically. This was mirrored in some international cooperation forums along Latin America, principally ALBA (The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas, AlianzaBolivariana para los Pueblos de NuestraAmérica in Spanish). This international organization is nowadays the most important mean of foreign policy for Venezuelan government in the region. Until today, ALBA count with the membership of Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela (with Suriname as “special guest”). Moreover, Venezuela has strong relations with Argentina, El Salvador Brasil and Uruguay. In this way, Venezuela has been expanding his influence along Latin-America and, thus, expanding his nationalism model, specifically to Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador with relative success


According to Greenfeld. Nationalism often is an imported political movement imitation. In the case of Venezuela, it has his origin in Castro’s socialist Cuba. Moreover, in the same way that Cuba, the empowered classes in Venezuela are not the same classes that support widely the proposed political project, what coincide with Greenfeld’s idea of the usefulness of nationalism for some influential groups, especially regarding economic competence with other states. This idea is deepen explained in the following statement:

“Chavismis not a leapof nationalismto socialism, but abourgeois nationalist movement. The socialist speech is notnew.Manynationalistsinthe ’40smade ​​use ofsocialisticspeechesto win supportamong the masses, andthus blockthe developmentof a leftanchored inclass independence. It matters little whetherthe social baseof chavism is”commoner”. The baseof Peronismwas the working class. Butneither workersleadedPeronnor addressedcommonersmovements leadchavism.In bothcases, workersand poor peopleare usedas the basis fora bourgeois policy.” (Aguirre, 2013)

Key questions

¿Is the Venezuelan oil-based economy a key factor of empowerment of Venezuelan nationalism? ¿Could the class-based political project transcend to a national project in other Latino-American states with more developed and globalized economies, as Brasil, Mexico or Chile?

Sources & Further Reading


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