Nationalism and Ethnosymbolism: History, Culture and Ethnicity in the Formation of Nations

Nationalism and Ethnosymbolism: History, Culture and Ethnicity in the Formation of Nations

Nationalism and Ethnosymbolism: History, Culture and Ethnicity in the Formation of Nations

Nationalism and Ethnosymbolism: History, Culture and Ethnicity in the Formation of Nations

Synopsis

Ethnosymbolism offers a distinct and innovative approach to the study of nations and nationalism. It focuses on the role of ethnic myths, historical memories, symbols and traditions in the creation and maintenance of the collective identity of modern nations. This book explores the different aspects of the ethnosymbolic approach to the study of ethnicity, nationality and nationalism. Nationalism and Ethnosymbolism first introduces the main theoretical considerations that have arisen in nationalism studies in the past two decades. It then presents a collection of case studies covering music and poetry, ethnosymbolism in antiquity, and a wide variety of nations and regions. Areas discussed include Eastern Europe and Russia, the Middle East, the Far East and India, Africa, and the Americas. Overall the book offers a defence of the methodology of ethnosymbolism and a demonstration of its explanatory power. Key Features:
• Includes contributions from some of the most eminent scholars in the field of nationalism studies including Anthony D. Smith, the doyen of ethnosymbolism
• Offers a distinctive approach to the analysis of ethnicity and nationalism in the modern world
• Ethnosymbolism is now a key element of the nationalism studies discourse
• The ethnosymbolic approach can be applied to the analysis of a variety of historical and contemporary social, cultural and political situations

Excerpt

The problems of better understanding nationality have, since the 1970s, been considerably clarified. Much of that clarification has been a result of renewed attention given to the subject, even though expressed through numerous, sharply divergent analyses, for example in the works of Walker Connor, John A. Armstrong, Ernest Gellner, Benedict Anderson, Anthony D. Smith, Pierre L. van den Berghe, John Breuilly, Eric Hobsbawm, Liah Greenfeld, Dominique Schnapper and John Hutchinson. No one during this period has done more to clarify those problems than Anthony D. Smith, first by refining, through his 'ethno-symbolic' approach, the analysis of nationality in the context of enduring ethnicity (The Ethnic Origins of Nations 1986), territorial kinship ('Nation and Ethnoscape' 1997), and long-term cultural, political and symbolic development and coalescence of collectivities (The Antiquity of Nations 2004; The Nation in History 2000); and second, by examining the presuppositions of those divergent analyses (Nationalism and Modernism 1998). To be sure, the differences among these analyses suggest that problems remain. This should come as no surprise; for as Herder (1774) observed, and scholars like Friedrich Meinecke and Hans Kohn after him, nations are protean. What are some of the reasons that justify this observation, and what are its implications for understanding better the national question?

The variability and malleability of the characteristics of any particular nation over time and from one nation to another, conveyed by Herder's observation and attested to by many of the chapters of this volume, is one reason for those problems that remain in clarifying our understanding of nationality. These problems are unavoidable, as this variability and malleability are features common to all forms of human association because of the unavoidable presence of a developing multiplicity of meanings arising out of the heterogeneous pursuits of humanity. These different meanings coalesce into a complex, are recognised, and thereby shared by a number of individuals who by doing so constitute a bounded collectivity. We refer to such a bounded complex of unevenly shared, changing and . . .

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