Nationalism has reasserted itself today as the political force of our times, remaking European politics wherever one looks. Britain is no exception, and in the midst of Brexit, it has even become a vanguard of nationalism's confident return to the mainstream. Brexit, in the course of generating a historically unique standard of sociopolitical uncertainty and constitutional intrigue, tore apart the two-party compact that had defined the parameters of political contestation for much of twentieth-century Britain. This book offers a wide-ranging picture of the different theoretical accounts relevant to addressing nationalism. It briefly repudiates the increasingly common attempts to read contemporary politics through the lens of populism. The book explores the assertion of 'muscular liberalism' and civic nationalism. It examines more traditional, conservative appeals to racialised notions of blood, territory, purity and tradition as a means of reclaiming the nation. The book also examines how neoliberalism, through its recourse to discourses of meritocracy, entrepreneurial self and individual will, alongside its exaltation of a 'points-system' approach to the ills of immigration, engineers its own unique rendition of the nationalist crisis. There are a number of important themes through which the process of liberal nationalism can be documented - what Arun Kundnani captured, simply and concisely, as the entrenchment of 'values racism'. These include the 'faux-feminist' demonisation of Muslims.
attempts to give civicnationalism the
upper hand are outlined. The questions provoked by attempts to redeem civicnationalism concern the coherence and practicality of civic solidarity. Is
it possible to have a strong solidarity that does not descend either into
chaos or into ethnic cruelty? Can we say ‘we’ without
presupposing some sort of common character? Civic nationalists think we can,
and they argue for a renewal of
Valuing the nation: liberalism,
Muslims and nation-state values
A special brand of not uninviting hubris swept through political theory in
the 1990s and early 2000s. Much has already been said elsewhere about the
more general ‘end of history’ thesis and its claims about the triumph of liberal market democracies. But a less noted parallel current was a similarly
confident claim about the nature of democratic nationalism. This was the
claim regarding a historical shift towards a civicnationalism, wherein a liberal value base respectful of difference would set
that nations are ‘invented’ either by the
literary endeavours of poets or the processes of state power. Nationalism
nevertheless assumes that the ‘people’ or ‘the
nation’ is an entity with sovereign rights and a fundamental unity of
‘blood’, ‘culture’ or ‘citizenship’. We
shall now consider these elements of nationalism: sovereignty of the people;
Ethnic nationalism and Civicnationalism.
Democratisation, nationalism and security in former Yugoslavia
Paul Latawski and Martin A. Smith
citizenship; without citizenship, there can be no
democracy’. 42 The
notion of citizenship is also central to the idea of ‘civicnationalism’; in a civic national identity it is one’s
citizenship that determines national identity. Where civicnationalism
prevails, the focus is on the individual rather than any collective ethnic
In a liberal
and the Divided World: PostAgreement Northern Ireland in Comparative Perspective (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2001), p. 53.
3 Cited by J. McGarry, ‘Northern Ireland, civicnationalism and the Good
Friday Agreement’, in McGarry (ed.), Northern Ireland and the Divided
World, p. 106.
4 At the time of writing, the Assembly had just been suspended due to allegations concerning spying within the Northern Ireland Office by members of
Sinn Féin and the Provisional Irish Republican Army.
5 A. Lijphart, Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performances
The extent of ideological compromise by Sinn Féin and ‘Provisional’ republicanism
Sophie A. Whiting
nationalists in Central and Eastern Europe created, often out of the myth of the
past and the dreams of the future, an ideal fatherland.35
Civicnationalism, the basis of which is a voluntary constitutional association
of people supportive of particular political structures in recognition of ethnic
identity, is seen to be a typically western model. Ethnic nationalism, which is
distinguished by ‘its emphasis on a community of birth and native culture’, is
identified as an eastern variant.36 Civicnationalism has its roots in the democratic and secular tradition
See, for example, Charles Thomas, ‘The
Importance of Being Cornish In Cornwall’ (Institute of
Cornish Studies, 1973).
See, for an early and influential example, Hans
Kohn, The Idea of Nationalism (New York: Macmillan, 1946).
For discussion and critique of such judgements of ethnic and civic
the following chapters tend simultaneously
to combine their recognition of alterity and difference with Lentin’s politics of
interrogation, because of their constant urge to reassess insular and monocultural conceptions of Irishness. Regardless of the level of explicitness with which
they address the presence of migrant communities in Ireland, what is clear is
that these writers believe that it is no longer credible to adhere to a monolithic,
monoethnic Irish identity. In this sense, they tend to defend a more inclusive
form of ‘civicnationalism’, a notion
Bordering intimacy is a study of how borders and dominant forms of intimacy, such as family, are central to the governance of postcolonial states such as Britain. The book explores the connected history between contemporary border regimes and the policing of family with the role of borders under European and British empires. Building upon postcolonial, decolonial and black feminist theory, the investigation centres on how colonial bordering is remade in contemporary Britain through appeals to protect, sustain and make family life. Not only was family central to the making of colonial racism but claims to family continue to remake, shore up but also hide the organisation of racialised violence in liberal states. Drawing on historical investigations, the book investigates the continuity of colonial rule in numerous areas of contemporary government – family visa regimes, the policing of sham marriages, counterterror strategies, deprivation of citizenship, policing tactics, integration policy. In doing this, the book re-theorises how we think of the connection between liberal government, race, family, borders and empire. In using Britain as a case, this opens up further insights into the international/global circulations of liberal empire and its relationship to violence.