The Politics of National Identity
Full course description
The concept of national identity is both a characteristic and a contested element of modern (including contemporary) political culture. Expectations at the end of the twentieth century that processes of globalisation would soon end the political relevance of national identities turned out to be short-sighted. Indeed, the last twenty years have witnessed a strong rise in political discourse on national identity, especially by right wing politicians but also by left leaning politicians, and by mainstream and populist parties alike. The course has two main foci, one empirical, the other political-philosophical. First, it discusses the way national identities are constructed and kept alive through political discourse and the cultivation of instances, images and narratives of collective memory (and is thus a component of modern political culture). Secondly, it will address the political philosophy of national identity and make students reflect on recent contributions on the presumed uses and dangers of cultivating national identities for liberal democracies.
This course aims to enable students to
1. critically evaluate the conceptions of national identity used in academia and politics
2. distinguish and discuss several ways in which national identities are constructed
3. critically evaluate the liberal nationalist argumentation in favour of national identities
Malešević, S. (2006). Identity as Ideology. Understanding Ethnicity and Nationalism. Houndsmill: Palgrave Macmillan.
Özkırımlı, U. (2005). Contemporary debates on nationalism. A critical engagement. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.
Skey, M. & Antonsich, M. (Eds.) (2017) Everyday Nationhood. Theorising Culture, Identity and Belonging after Banal Nationalism. London: Palgrave Macmillan.