Anthony D. Smith

Anthony D. Smith was a world-renowned British historical sociologist and a leading authority on nationalism. He was for many years Professor of Nationalism and Ethnicity at the LSE. A student of the famous philosopher and anthropologist Ernest Gellner, Smith went on to develop his own distinctive theory of nationalism that was critical in some ways of Gellner’s work on nationalism. Smith argued that while nationalism is a partially modern phenomenon, individual nations have premodern origins based around an ethnic core. His work, often referred to as ‘ethno-symbolism’, sought to show how modern forms of nationalism drew on this ‘pre-history’ to construct a sense of common identity and shared history, albeit one that has often proved distorting or mythologizing. He published many important books with Polity, including The Antiquity of Nations, Nations and Nationalism in a Global Era and Nationalism: Theory, Ideology, History.