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Nationalism studies


Nationalism studies is an interdisciplinary academic field devoted to the study of nationalism and related issues. While nationalism has been the subject of scholarly discussion since at least the late eighteenth century, it is only since the early 1990s that it has received enough attention for a distinct field to emerge.

Authors such as Carlton J. H. Hayes, Hans Kohn, Elie Kedourie, John Hutchinson, Ernest Gellner, Karl Deutsch, Walker Connor, Anthony D. Smith, and Benedict Anderson laid the foundation for nationalism studies in the post-war period. In the early 1990s their ideas were enthusiastically taken up by academics, journalists, and others looking to understand and explain the apparent resurgence of nationalism marked by events such as the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Rwanda genocide, and the Yugoslav Wars.

The development of the field can be divided into four stages: (I) the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when nationalism first emerged, and most interest in it was philosophical; (II) the period from the First World War until the end of the Second, when nationalism became a subject of formal academic inquiry; (III) the post-war period from 1945 to the late 1980s, when several sociologists and political scientists developed general theories of nationalism in the context of worldwide decolonisation and the 'ethnic revival' in the West; and (IV) the period following the fall of communism in 1989, which led to a surge of interest in nationalism and the crystallisation of nationalism studies as a field.



  • Özkirimli, Umut (2000). Theories of Nationalism: A Critical Introduction. New York: St. Martin's Press. 
  • Smith, Anthony D. (1998). Nationalism and Modernism: A critical survey of recent theories of nations and nationalism. London: Routledge. 
  • Özkirimli, Umut (2000). Theories of Nationalism: A Critical Introduction. New York: St. Martin's Press. 
  • Smith, Anthony D. (1998). Nationalism and Modernism: A critical survey of recent theories of nations and nationalism. London: Routledge. 
  • Spencer, Philip; Howard Wollman (2002). Nationalism: A Critical Introduction. London: Sage Publications. 
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