Cultural Nationalism

Book chapter


Woods, E. 2016. Cultural Nationalism. in: Inglis, David and Almila, Anna-Mari (ed.) The SAGE Handbook of Cultural Sociology SAGE. pp. 429-441
AuthorsWoods, E.
EditorsInglis, David and Almila, Anna-Mari
Abstract

Nationalism may involve the combination of culture and politics, but for many of its most prominent students, the former is subordinate to the latter. In this view, nationalist appeals to culture are a means to a political end; that is, the achievement of statehood. Hence, for Ernest Gellner (2006 [1983]: 124), culture is but an epiphenomenon, a ‘false-consciousness … hardly worth analyzing …’. For their part, Eric Hobsbawm and Terrence Ranger (1983) suggest that national traditions are ‘invented’ by elites concerned with the legitimization of state power. Similarly, John Breuilly (2006 [1982]: 11) defines national movements as ‘political movements … which seek to gain or exercise state power and justify their objectives in terms of nationalist doctrine’. A broadly similar characterization of nationalism can be found in the writings of many other esteemed scholars (Giddens, 1985; Laitin, 2007; Mann, 1995; Tilly, 1975).
The privileging of politics over culture remains the dominant approach to understanding nationalism, but it is not without criticism. There is now a vast and rapidly growing body of literature insisting that the role of culture should be made more prominent. In opposition to the argument that nationalist appeals to culture are but an exercise in legitimation, this body of literature suggests that they can be ends unto themselves. This latter phenomenon, generally referred to as cultural nationalism, is the subject of this chapter. The chapter proceeds as follows. I begin with the definition and history of cultural nationalism before discussing several key themes in its study. To conclude, I briefly outline several lines of research that I believe hold particular potential for developing the field. In the light of the huge array of literature on cultural nationalism, the review is focused on seminal contributions.

Book titleThe SAGE Handbook of Cultural Sociology
Page range429-441
Year2016
PublisherSAGE
Publication dates
Print01 May 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited24 Oct 2016
ISBN9781446271971
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.4135/9781473957886.n31
Accepted author manuscript
Permalink -

https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/85112

  • 7
    total views
  • 38
    total downloads
  • 1
    views this month
  • 9
    downloads this month

Related outputs

The Anatomy of Memory Politics: A Formalist Analysis of Tate Britain’s ‘Artist and Empire’ and the Struggle over Britain’s Imperial Past
Woods, E.T. 2019. The Anatomy of Memory Politics: A Formalist Analysis of Tate Britain’s ‘Artist and Empire’ and the Struggle over Britain’s Imperial Past. American Journal of Cultural Sociology.
Cultural trauma: Ron Eyerman and the founding of a new research paradigm
Woods, E. 2019. Cultural trauma: Ron Eyerman and the founding of a new research paradigm. American Journal of Cultural Sociology. 7 (2), p. 260–274.
On the Making of a National Tragedy: The Transformation of the Meaning of the Indian Residential Schools
Woods, E. 2017. On the Making of a National Tragedy: The Transformation of the Meaning of the Indian Residential Schools. in: Capitaine, B. and Vanthuyne, K. (ed.) Power through Testimony: Reframing Residential Schools in the Age of Reconciliation University of British Columbia Press.
A Cultural Approach to a Canadian Tragedy: The Indian Residential Schools as a Sacred Enterprise
Woods, E. 2013. A Cultural Approach to a Canadian Tragedy: The Indian Residential Schools as a Sacred Enterprise. International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society. 26 (2), pp. 173-187.
A Cultural Sociology of Anglican Mission and the Indian Residential Schools in Canada: The Long Road to Apology
Eric Taylor Woods 2016. A Cultural Sociology of Anglican Mission and the Indian Residential Schools in Canada: The Long Road to Apology. New York, NY Palgrave Macmillan.
Cultural nationalism: a review and annotated bibliography
Woods, E. 2014. Cultural nationalism: a review and annotated bibliography. Studies on National Movements. 2, pp. 1-26.
What the Olympics didn’t say about Britain’s place in the world
Woods, E. 2012. What the Olympics didn’t say about Britain’s place in the world. British Politics and Policy at LSE [blog].
Book Review: The Sacred in the Modern World: A Cultural Sociological Approach by Gordon Lynch
Woods, E. 2012. Book Review: The Sacred in the Modern World: A Cultural Sociological Approach by Gordon Lynch. LSE Review of Books [blog].
Ritual and Performance in the Study of Nations and Nationalism
Eric Taylor Woods and Tsang, R. 2013. Ritual and Performance in the Study of Nations and Nationalism. in: Tsang, R. and Eric Taylor Woods (ed.) The Cultural Politics of Nationalism and Nation-building: Ritual and Performance in the Forging of Nations Routledge. pp. 1-19