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Nationalism, War and Social Cohesion

[journal article]

Malesevic, Sinisa

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Abstract Most studies of nationalism and war focus on the direct causal relationship between the two. Whereas the naturalist theories see strong national attachments as a primary cause of war, the formativist approaches understand nationalism as an inevitable product of warfare. This paper challenges both of these leading interpretations by problematizing the nature of group solidarity in the large scale violent conflicts. The author develops an alternative argument that emphasises the centrality of two institutional processes: centrifugal ideologization and the cumulative bureaucratization of coercion. The principal argument is that war does not create nationalism neither does nationalism generate wars. Instead the development of nationalism owes much to the macro historical institutional processes that have little to do with the actual battlefields.
Classification General Sociology, Basic Research, General Concepts and History of Sociology, Sociological Theories; Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Free Keywords Nationalism; war; ideology; solidarity; violence; bureaucracy
Document language English
Publication Year 2010
Page/Pages p. 142-161
Journal Ethnic and Racial Studies, 34 (2010) 1
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)