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Nationalism, Ethnicity and the State

Nationalism, Ethnicity and the State
Making and Breaking Nations

November 2012 | 320 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

This exciting new textbook is the first to offer students a truly comprehensive AND engaging account of the vibrant topic of Nationalism.

Packed with a series of rich, illustrative examples, this book examines this powerful and remarkable political force by exploring:

  • Definitions of Nationalism, including normative and descriptive approaches
  • The manifestation of Nationalism through language
  • The relationship between Religion and Nationalism
  • Discussions on the political uses of History as a social construct
  • The social roots of ideologies and the significance of class and gender
  • Different kinds of nationalist movements, ranging from dominant majorities to peripheral minorities
  • Explanations of nationalist mobilization, taking into account historical, socio-economic and sociological approaches
  • State responses to Nationalism
  • Territorial and non-territorial devolutions of power and the relationship between Nationalism and Federalism

Nationalism, Ethnicity and the State is an insightful read for both undergraduate and graduate students of politics and international relations.

The Study of Nationalism

Matters of Definition

Matters of Evaluation

Matters of Analysis


Nationalism, Race and Gender

Race and Nation

Gender and Nation


Nationalism and Language

Language and Its Nature

Language and Politics

Language and Nation


Nationalism and Religion

Religion and Its Nature

Religion and Politics

Religion and Nation


Nationalism and History

The Writing of History

Nationalist History

History and the Nation


Nationalism and Public Culture

Material Culture and the Nation

The Arts and the Nation

Sport and the Nation


Nationalism and Social Structure

Class and Nation

Socioeconomic Change and Nationalism

Region and Nation


Types of Nationalist Mobilization

Common Features

Intergrationist Nationalism

Colonial Nationalism

Separatist Nationalsm


Explaining Nationalism

The Birth of Nationalism

The Growth of Natioalsm

The Victory of Nationalism


Nationalism and State Structure

Suppressing Minorities

Incorporating Minorities


Nation and State in Perspective

Reassembling the Argument

Speculating About the Future



With this volume, John Coakley truly establishes himself as a leading authority in the field of nationalism studies. The book presents one of the first comprehensive overviews of this burgeoning discipline. The text is richly embroidered with examples from all parts of the world which bring the connections between concepts to life
Eric Kauffmann
University of London

Students of Irish politics have long benefited from John Coakley's erudition. Now students of nationalism and ethnicity can avail of his meticulous scholarship. Coakley has that rare gift: the ability to relay difficult subjects clearly without sacrificing nuance. This book will undoubtedly become the standard bearer in the field
Dr Mary-Alice Connolly Clancy
University of Exeter

This is a remarkably serious and multifaceted synthesis of the literature on nationalism from a comparative historical perspective.
Michael Hechter
Arizona State University

Coakley provides a wide-ranging and knowledgeable account of the elements which go into the making of national identity. Coakley offers a penetrating analysis of what enables or prevents nationalism moving from programmes to political organisations to popular movements to state power and finally the use of that power for nationalist projects.
John Breuilly
London School of Economics

A new kind of perspective has been developed by the author while looking at nationalism in terms of haves and have-nots: politically dominant groups that control the state and counter-groups that wish to reshape the state according to their vision. This book is worth reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as researchers who are beginning the enterprise of understanding the discourse on nationalism.

M. D. Irfan, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
Political Studies Review

Very clear, precise and up-to-point definitions that cover almost every issue related to nationalism and ethnicity. Not exactly theory-based, but a great source for practical sides of these topics.

Dr Hakan Ongur
Department of Political Science, TOBB University of Economic & Tech
March 28, 2014

I would recommend this book for undergraduate and postgraduate courses on nationalism. It provides an excellent synthesis of the literature including some very useful illustrations, tables and diagrams.

Dr Robin Mann
School of Social Sciences, Bangor University
May 8, 2013

A great book concerning the wide field of nationalism which stands in one row with authors like Gellner and Anderson. Thanks for the great service!

Mr Wolfgang Gruber
Department of Development Studies, University of Vienna
March 19, 2013

This is a richly presented book for students and researchers interested in understanding the discourse of nationalism and the elements that influence it. .. Dr Sam Erevbenagie Usadolo

Dr Sam Usadolo
Department of Communication, University of Fort Hare
March 15, 2013

This book is structured nicely and goes beyond merely outlining the many 'schools' of nationalist ideology.

Dr Oliver Harrison
School of Social Sciences, Nottingham Trent University
March 14, 2013

I found this an accessible, articulate and contemporary account of theories and instances of nationalism. An ideal introduction into this topic for undergraduate level politics students.

Mr Daniel Mcavoy
School of International Development, University of East Anglia
February 8, 2013

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

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