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Summary: This book represents Maurice Agulhon’s attempt to track the changing meanings of “Marianne”-- a figure who came to be synonymous with France, Liberty and the Republican cause after her invention during the French Revolution. Central to the study are images of the Phrygian cap which, more than Marianne herself, represented revolutionary Republicanism. Agulhon argues that each swing towards the right led to the banning of Republican symbolism while each swing to the left quickly meant that the pendulum swung the other way. While Marianne began life as a derogatory Royalist term for Republicans, during the 1850s Marianne began to be equated with the Republic and with France. This volume is the first of two volumes. The second has yet to be translated into English. [E. Zuelow]


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Summary: Perhaps the most read book about nationalism. Anderson adheres to the modernization argument explaining the origin of nations. In other words, nations developed as a necessary component of industrial society, though neither "economic interest, Liberalism, nor Enlightenment could, or did, create in themselves the kind, or shape, or imagined community" (65). Breaking from Gellner (the Nations and Nationalism appeared in the same year (1983) as the first edition of Imagined Communities), Anderson places greater emphasis on the constructed nature of culture and on the role of print capitalism to the development of nations. On the cultural front, Anderson argues that pre-national culture was religious culture. Nations replaced this religious culture with their own uniquely constructed national cultures. Anderson places print capitalism at the very heart of his theory, claiming that it was print capitalism which allowed for the development of these new national cultures and created the specific formations which the new nations would eventually take. [E. Zuelow]


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Summary: That Marx and Engels did not take nationalism seriously is one of the most fixed of all idées fixes in our post-World War, post-Cold War, post-Balkans era. "Workers of the World, Unite!" now seems, at best, a naïvely internationalist slogan. And M & E’s seemingly solid prophecies of the imminent demise of nationalism at the hands of an increasingly alienated proletariat melted into air when the workers rallied to "their" respective flags in 1914. But what evidence—other than the stentorian passages of the Communist Manifesto, and our duo’s fulminations against nationalism as phenomenon and as political program—is there to support the notion that they failed to rigorously theorize it? "Not much," is Erica Benner’s spirited and cogently argued reply.

Benner sets herself the task of proposing "a different reading of what the two men wrote on the subject [of nationalism], and [of identifying] some neglected strands of thought that are less easy to dismiss than the views usually attributed to them" (3). To accomplish these goals, she carefully and sensitively examines Marx and Engels’s political commentaries from the revolutionary years 1848—9 and the years after 1860, with special focus on M & E’s analyses of nationalist movements in their native Germany. In Chapter 1, "Nationality in the Divided State," Benner rejects the base-superstructure model of M & E’s theories, finding instead the conceptual tools with which to mine their thought on nationality in Marx’s critique of Hegel’s political philosophy and in the materialist theory of history and the theory of political action that he formulated with Engels. Chapter 2, "Identities in Conflict," emphasizes the importance of M & E’s historicist anti-naturalism for understanding their critique of political particularisms (like nationalism). In Chapter 3, "Explaining Nationalism," Benner argues that M & E’s analyses of nationalism should be seen as part of a concrete, strategic theory of politics. Chapter 4, "Ethics and Realpolitik in the National Policy, 1847—1849," mines M & E’s early writings to outline an ethical position on nationalism that belies the received wisdom that their policies were simply power-driven. In Chapter 5, "Rescuing Internationalism," Benner turns to the results of M & E’s experience of the years between after 1848, when European colonialism and statist nationalism were on the rise. She finds that M & E, for strategic reasons, took a favorable view of some varieties of anti-colonialist nationalism and proletarian patriotism in this period. Chapter 6, "The Revenge of Nations, 1870—?" evaluates what is living and what is dead in M & E’s thought on nationalism: Benner points out the causal conditions that M & E overlooked, to the detriment of their theories’ predictive power; but she also points to the virtues of M & E’s conception of nationalism as arising from a concrete totality, and argues that we would better comprehend the nationalisms of our own day if we were to seriously theorize them in the context "of other concerns that cut across, oppose, or join forces with nationalism, infusing it with a specific programmatic content" (222). [Tom Donahue]


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Summary: The impetus for this compilation of essays by prominent political philosophers and political theorists was a puzzling fact: nationalism has (until very recently) received only intermittent and glancing attention from political philosophy. As Bernard Yack puts it, "there are no great theoretical texts outlining and defending nationalism. No Marx, no Mill, no Machiavelli. Only minor texts by first rate thinkers, like Fichte, or major texts by second rate thinkers, like Mazzini" (2). This lacuna, as Ronald Beiner acknowledges, is partly attributable to the discipline’s allegiance to a core of central texts; but it may also be due to the ability of particularistic ideologies to shuffle off the generalizing coils of Theory. Whatever the explanation, Beiner & Co. are determined to rectify the situation by raising—and attempting to answer—normative and empirical questions about nationalism.

The fifteen pieces in this volume (not counting Beiner’s introductory overview) cover a remarkably diverse range of topics—too diverse to be enumerated here. Beiner’s division of the essays into five categories may prove useful in this respect. The first category concerns issues of national self-determination, with particular reference to the disputed character of the right to "break" multinational or multiethnic states. The second category covers the question of nationalism and the nature of its ties to modernity; what, several of the essays ask, normative claims follow from the way in which we characterize these ties? The possibility of "liberal nationalism" is the concern of the third category; leaving aside the vexed question of whether such a position can be sustained in practice, can it even be conceptually coherent? The fourth category centers on the famous distinction between "civic" and "ethnic" nationalisms, whether this distinction can be sustained, and if so, what normative status civic nationalism should hold. The last category, as Beiner admits, is marked out by the fact that the essayists only engage with it tangentially: it concerns the existential question, to wit: should anyone be a nationalist in the first place, and if so, why? [Tom Donahue]


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Summary: The present essay first seeks to put some widely held conventional assumptions on the nature of borders to the test of empirical reality. Underlining the dynamic character of boundaries, the author subsequently seeks to assess the role of ethnicity in the spatial development of modern states; nation-building and national-cultural differentiation in the extra-European context are given particular attention. The tendencies hereby brought to light will be related to the postulate of self-determination.. A discussion of both the major theoretical and practical aspects of national self-determination completes the study. [E.W. Borntraeger]


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Summary: This book provides an overview of Irish history from the initial English colonization during the late middle ages right up to the twentieth century. It is distinguished from other textbook overviews by its focus on "nationalism." An introductory chapter provides a brief discussion of theories of nationalism, however the remainder of the text largely assumes that readers enjoy a common understanding of what nationalism is, even as the author has not really established his position. Given the fierce debate surrounding the question: "When is the nation?", this is a dubious approach. Those with little background in Irish History (most undergraduates, for example) may find the book frustrating because the narrative does not consistently follow a clear chronological path, still it remains one of the better Irish history surveys. [E. Zuelow]


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Summary: Nationalism is a collection of papers from the British Sociological Association conference, Worlds of the Future. The central themes of the conference were ethnicity and nationalism in the contemporary world. Older discourses on national sovereignty and statehood are evaluated in terms of their validity within a world increasingly defined by transnational integration and global economic competition. The chapters are divided equally between those concerned with theoretical perspectives on nationalism and others concerned with the analysis of specific cases. [K. Brehony]


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Summary: In this book, John Breuilly attempts to provide a general framework for the study of nationalism by arguing that nationalism is primarily a form of politics. In order to provide his general framework of nationalism, Breuilly argues that one must first create a typology of nationalisms and then investigate each type. Thus, after he outlines his framework, he spends much of the remainder of his book investigating the typology he has devised through a series of case studies. Breuilly defines nationalism as a term "used to refer to political movements seeking or exercising state power and justifying such actions with nationalist arguments. A nationalist argument is a political doctrine built upon three basic assertions: (a) There exists a nation with an explicit and peculiar character. (b) The interests and values of this nation take priority over all other interests and values. (c) The nation must be as independent as possible. This usually requires at least the attainment of political sovereignty" (3). Breuilly identifies six classes of nationalism which provide the backbone of his subsequent case studies. Specifically, there are "separation," "reform," and "unification" varieties which differ when found in either "non-nation states" or "nation states" (12). [E. Zuelow]


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Summary: Although there is a large literature about (Catholic) nationalism in Northern Ireland, comparatively little has been written about Ulster Unionists. Steve Bruce is one of the few who has turned his attention toward understanding the largest ethnic group in Ulster. The Edge of Union provides a disturbing look at the Northern Irish conflict. Based largely on interviews conducted by the author between 1991 and 1993, Bruce attempts to assess loyalist thinking about the Unionist position and to offer a corrective to previous scholarly treatment of the conflict. Bruce complains that earlier scholars, like many Irish nationalists, have underestimated the depth of unionist feeling and, either because of a latent political agenda or a desire to avoid "shocking" readers, ultimately fail to explain the situation. Bruce argues that the conflict must be understood in ethnic terms and through a realization of the power of expressive action. The importance of religion as a core component of Ulster protestant identity must not be ignored. [E. Zuelow]


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Summary: Written by a sports journalist this book nevertheless is good reading for those interested in studying the link between nationalism and football. Written in journalistic prose this book attempts to write a popular history of Barcelona FC. Better known as Barça to the converted, the club has become the focal point of Catalan national identity with its Cathedral like stadium Nou Camp providing the sole arena for expression of Catalanism during the Francoist era. Burns explores how the political elites of both Catalonia’s Left and Right would often utilise game day as a means of placing old rivalries behind them in order to forge contacts that would eventually lead to the people’s support for the autonomy statutes. For those interested in football culture as a peripheral response to globalisation of cultural identity, Burns throws up the conundrum of how the supporters of Barça still view the club as the passion and pride of Catalan nationalism even though eight of their players are Dutch. In a sense the club has taken on a symbolic identity of its own that has transcended its pro-Catalan/anti-Spanish roots to become a symbol of regional resistance to the very globalisation that ensures its position as not just a power house of world football but also a successful global company. [Pero Ercegovac]