Forum Lecture in Munich with Maarten Van Ginderachter (Antwerpen): Nations and nationalism from the margins. A research agenda for the future

24.06.2014 (18:00 - 20:00)

'Nations and nationalism from the margins. A research agenda for the future' - Maarten van Ginderachter

Since the enormous paradigmatic shift towards constructivism and modernism in the 1980s and 1990s, research on nations and nationalism seems to have lost its drive. Core conceptual debates seem to have been laid to rest or merely seem to mimic older polemics. It has also been claimed that there is an overabundance of case studies on the ‘imagined this’ or the ‘banal that’, many of them influenced by the linguistic turn, whose main raison d’être seems to be to repeat what is already known. Have we reached an end point of some sort?  Is the work of conceptualizing nationalism done? Are we left with the mere task of describing nationalism’s concrete manifestations?


Perhaps the question ‘Where to with nationalism research?’ is part of the problem and indicative of a research culture that thrives on ‘turns’ and repackaging. Anyhow, new breakthroughs in research are only possible when we leave, so to speak, the beaten track. In this presentation I would like to indicate a number of possibly innovative research avenues, starting from the concept of ‘nations and nationalism from the margins’. By this I mean performing research on the margins in three ways:


  1. thematically
    studying groups that are not part of national(ist) movements, have resisted national integration and/or have been neglected by scholars, in order to gauge the impact of nationalist discourses and practices
    E.g. nationhood from below
  2. methodologically
    taking cue from research fields outside of nations and nationalism research stricto sensu.
    E.g. the concept of breaches
  3. geographically
    integrating ‘marginal’ cases that are often neglected because most research focuses on the well-known larger cases.

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