Containing Nationalism

Paperback | October 1, 2001

byMichael Hechter

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Nationalism has become the most prevalent source of political conflict and violence in the world. Scholarship has provided scant guidance about the prospects of containing the dark side of nationalism-its widely publicized excesses of violence, such as ethnic cleansing and genocide.Departing from the usual practice of considering only a few examples of nationalism drawn from a limited geographical and historical canvas, this book is based on fundamental theoretical ideas about the formation and solidarity of groups. Containing Nationalism offers a unified explanation of the dynamics of nationalism across the broad sweep of time and space. Among other things, it explains why nationalism is largely confined to modern history, why it is supported by specific forms of inequality between cultural groups, and why itis inclusive at sometimes and exclusive at others.Nationalism is the attempt of culturally-distinct peoples to attain political self-determination. Self-determination was generally afforded by traditional states, which employed a form of governance based on indirect rule. After the late 18th century, the rise of the modern state led to a new formof governance characterized by direct rule. Containing Nationalism argues that the impetus for the most common type of nationalism arises from the imposition of direct rule in culturally heterogeneous societies. Direct rule stimulates national identity by making cultural distinctions more salientfor individuals' life chances. At the same time it reduces the resources of local elites, giving them a motive to mobilize nationalist opposition to central authorities. All told, these effects heighten the demand for sovereignty. The book suggests that political institutions that reintroduceindirect rule offer the leaders of modern countries the best available means of containing nationalist violence within their borders.

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Nationalism has become the most prevalent source of political conflict and violence in the world. Scholarship has provided scant guidance about the prospects of containing the dark side of nationalism-its widely publicized excesses of violence, such as ethnic cleansing and genocide.Departing from the usual practice of considering only...

Michael Hechter is in the Department of Sociology, University of Washington, Seattle.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.59 inPublished:October 1, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019924751X

ISBN - 13:9780199247516

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Table of Contents

Nationalist PuzzelsCauses of NationalismIndirect Rule and the Absence of nationalismState-Building NationalismOther Types of NationalismThe Demand for Sovereignty and the Emergence of NationalismContaining Nationalism

Editorial Reviews

'...offers important and much food for futher thought... This is a highly ambitious but rewarding attempt to theorize a phenomenon that too often remains the preserve of historical research.'