Synopses & Reviews
Nations and nationalism have shaped the world we know today, and yet they have consistently confounded attempts at systematic analysis. Lawrence examines the historiography of nationalism from 1850 to the present day to discover why the almost ubiquitous phenomena of nations and nationalism have proved so intangible and why so many conflicting theories are being advanced to this day.
Lawrence explores the massive changes that have taken place in the way in which nations and nationalism have been conceptualised ¿ from nations viewed as ¿natural¿ and unproblematic, to a recognition of the role played by politicians in consciously engineering national sentiment, and a view that nations (and hence nationalism) have their roots in specific cultural developments. He argues that theories and explanations of nationalism have been inextricably linked to contemporary political concerns. While historians have often claimed to write dispassionately about nationalism, they have found it hard to break free from the shackles of their own national and political backgrounds.
A concise, accessible analysis of a complex field, this book is essential reading for anyone wanting to equip themselves with a theoretical understanding of why we live in nations, and why we invest them with such significance.
PAUL LAWRENCE is Lecturer in History with the Open University. He has taught a range of courses and has published on inter-war France, nationalism and issues of crime and policing.
'This book will be of interest to those looking for an introduction to the field, and should enjoy a wide readership as an intellectual history.'
'...an engaging study.'
Andrew Thompson, University of Glamorgan, Nations and Nationalism 11 (4), 2005
Why do we live in nations, and why are we willing to die for them? Essential reading on how historians and others have tried to answer these questions from the nineteenth century to the present.
- Nationalism is a massively popular thematic course - driving issue in European history and one of the most powerful forces in the modern world.
- Highly topical issue - revival of nationalism in Eastern Europe in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and success of political right in Western Europe
- Makes very complex subject accessible - most books on the subject are very difficult.
- Certain to be essential reading - key focus on the debates and historiography
Massive changes have taken place in the way nations and nationalism are thought about. From being viewed enthusiastically by historians as a force for beneficial change before the First World War, today appeals to 'national' sentiment are viewed as far more complex and problematic.
This book looks at how historians (and others, such as sociologists and political theorists) have explained the development, and enduring importance, of national identities from c.1850 to the present day. It compares and contrasts a wide range of different theories, and will be useful for anyone wanting to equip themselves with a theoretical understanding of why we live in nations, and why we invest them with such significance.
About the Author
Paul Lawrence teaches History at the Open University. He has published on interwar France, nationalism and issues of crime and policing.
Table of Contents
- Introduction: definitions and debates
- Early theoretical debates, 1848-1914
- Interwar debates, 1918-39
- The origins of ¿classical modernism¿, 1945-69
- The rise and fall of 'Classical Modernism', 1970-2003