Nations, nationality, and civil society in the work of Edward Shils
in The calling of social thought
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

manchesterhive requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals - to see content that you/your institution should have access to, please log in through your library system or with your personal username and password.

If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/extracts and download selected front and end matter. 

Institutions can purchase access to individual titles; please contact for pricing options.


If you have an access token for this content, you can redeem this via the link below:

Redeem token

This chapter explores Shils’ original and highly nuanced treatment of the concepts of ‘nationality’, ‘nationalism’, and ‘civil society’. In particular, the chapter argues that Shils distinguishes between ‘nationality’ (which he seems to use as a synonym for ‘national self-consciousness’) and ‘nationalism’, which he identifies as an ideology. In this taxonomy, ‘nationality’ is a basic almost primordial force that provides the foundation for civil society and, ultimately, individual liberty. In this respect, nationality is a positive, or at the very least neutral, force. Shils portrays the ideology of nationalism, on the other hand, as highly dangerous. To put it simply, while regarding nationality as essential for civil society, Shils suggested that nationalism is in fact a danger to it. The chapter goes on to situate Shils’s theories of nations and nationalism with in the broader scholarly debate on these subjects. In the process, it examines Shils’s ideas concerning the relative antiquity of nations and the historical specifics about the origins of nationalism.

The calling of social thought

Rediscovering the work of Edward Shils


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 67 54 2
Full Text Views 9 4 0
PDF Downloads 6 2 0