The Persistence of Nationalism: From Imagined Communities to Urban Encounters

1st Edition

Angharad Closs Stephens

Routledge
Published April 27, 2015
Reference - 176 Pages - 5 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781138854895 - CAT# Y177156
Series: Interventions

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Summary

This is a book about the difficulties of thinking and acting politically in ways that refuse the politics of nationalism. The book offers a detailed study of how contemporary attempts by theorists of cosmopolitanism, citizenship, globalism and multiculturalism to go beyond nationalism often reproduce key aspects of a nationalist imaginary. It argues that the challenge of resisting nationalism will require more than a shift in the scale of politics – from the national up to the global or down to the local, and more than a shift in the count of politics – to an emphasis on diversity and multiculturalism. In order to avoid the grip of ‘nationalist thinking’, we need to re-open the question of what it means to imagine community.

Set against the backdrop of the imaginative geographies of the War in Terror and the new beginning promised by the Presidency of Barack Obama, the book shows how critical interventions often work in collaboration with nationalist politics, even when the aim is to resist nationalism. It claims that a nationalist imaginary includes powerful understandings of freedom, subjectivity, sovereignty and political space/time which must also be placed under question if we want to avoid reproducing ideas about ‘us’ and ‘them’. Drawing on insights from feminist, cultural and postcolonial studies as well as critical approaches to International Relations and Geography, this book presents a unique and refreshing approach to the politics of nationalism.

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