The Nation in HistoryHistoriographical Debates about Ethnicity and Nationalism
The Nation in History
Historiographical Debates about Ethnicity and Nationalism
In this thought-provoking new book, Anthony Smith analyses key debates between historians and social scientists on the role of nations and nationalism in history.

In a wide-ranging analysis of the work of historians, sociologists, political scientists and others, he argues that there are three key issues which have shaped debates in this field: first, the nature and origin of nations and nationalism; second, the antiquity or modernity of nations and nationalism; and third, the role of nations and nationalism in historical, and especially recent, social change.

Anthony Smith provides an incisive critique of the debate between modernists, perennialists and primordialists over the origins, development and contemporary significance of nations and nationalism. Drawing on a wide range of examples from antiquity and the medieval epoch, as well as the modern world, he develops a distinctive ethnosymbolic account of nations and nationalism.

This important book by one of the world's leading authorities on nationalism and ethnicity will be of particular interest to students and scholars in history, sociology and politics.

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More Info
  • October 2000
  • 126 pages
  • 141 x 216 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Paperback $28.00
  • 9780745625805
  • Open eBook $22.00
  • 9780745680507
Table of Contents

Foreword by Yosef Kaplan vii

Introduction 1

1 Voluntarism and the Organic Nation 5

Organic and Voluntarist Nationalism 6

Cultural Determination and the Political Ideal 10

Ethnic and Civic Nations 15

Cultural Primordialism 21

Conclusion 25

2 The Nation: Modern or Perennial? 27

The Modernist Orthodoxy 27

Modernist Historiography 30

The Perennialist Critique 34

Continuous Perennialism 35

Recurrent Perennialism 40

Ancient Nations? 41

Conclusion: Problems with Perennialism 50

3 Social Construction and Ethnic Genealogy 52

Invented Traditions, Imagined Communities 53

A Critique of Social Constructionism 61

An Ethnosymbolic Account of Nations and Nationalism 62

Conclusion 76

Bibliography 89

Index 101

About the Author
Anthony D. Smith is Professor of Ethnicity and Nationalism at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
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'Drawing examples from across the globe and providing succinct summaries of key ideas about nationalism developed by philosophers, sociologists and historians from Herder and Rousseau to Homi Bhaba and William McNeill, this is a stimulating and insightful essay by one of the foremost experts on nationalism studies today.' English Historical Review

"For thirty years, Anthony D. Smith has published extensively on the phenomenon of the 'nation' and has a global reputation in this field." History

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