The aim of the module is offer an understanding of nationalism as a political phenomenon, approached from different perspectives and appreciated in its manifestations across time and space. The module first introduces and discusses the concepts of nations and nationalism and their distinctions from related concepts such as state, ethnic group, region etc. It then charts the emergence of nationalism, its success in becoming the dominant principle of political organisation, and its diffusion around the world. Subsequently, it engages with the main theories seeking to account for this process, discussing their respective strengths and weaknesses. It then explores the tensions between state and regional nationalism and some of the theories put forward to explain the latter. In a further step, it discusses some of the key aspects of nationalism, such as nation-building, national identity, nationalism and state structures, nationalism and secession, and the challenge of supra-national integration. It concludes by discussing some of the key normative questions raised by nationalism and assessing the likely trajectory of nationalism in the foreseeable future. By so doing, the module offers an analysis of the past, present, and future of nationalism and its significance in contemporary politics.
Total contact hours: 22
Total private study hours: 128
Total module study hours: 150
All BA programmes in Politics and IR
Method of assessment
Weekly quizzes – 50%
Examination (2 hrs) – 50%
Reassessment methods: 100% coursework
Reading list (Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually)
Anderson, Benedict. 1991. Imagined Communities – Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism. 2nd ed. London: Verso
Coakley, John. 2012. Nationalism, Ethnicity, and the State – Making and Breaking Nations. London: Sage
Greenfeld, Liah. 1992. Nationalism – Five Roads to Modernity. Cambridge, Ma, USA: Harvard University Press
Smith, Anthony. 2010. Nationalism. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Polity
Wimmer, Andreas. 2018. Nation Building – Why Some Countries Come Together While Others Fall Apart. Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press
See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)
The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Understand the nature of nationalism as a political phenomenon
8.2 Understand how nationalism has been studied in comparative politics, international relations, and political thought
8.3 Assess the competing theories that seek to account for the emergence and endurance of nationalism
8.4 Understand the process of emergence and diffusion of the nation-state
8.5 Understand the interaction between state and regional nationalism
8.6 Identify some of the main consequences of nationalism for politics
8.7 Appreciate some of the normative questions raised by nationalism
The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
9.1 Gather, organize and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of secondary and some primary sources
9.2 Identify, investigate, analyse, formulate and advocate solutions to problems
9.3 Develop reasoned arguments, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement
9.4 Reflect on, and manage, their own learning and seek to make use of constructive feedback from peers and staff to enhance their performance and personal skills
9.5 The ability to communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing (including, where appropriate, the use of IT); organise information clearly and coherently; use communication and information technology for the retrieval and presentation of information, including, where appropriate, statistical or numerical information
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Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
- ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
- The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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