Nationalist Exclusion and Ethnic Conflict: Shadows of Modernity

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Nationalism and the prevalence of ethnic conflict are features of contemporary politics. Many commentators have viewed such conflicts as a return to some primitive impulse. Andreas Wimmer's book argues that nationalism is in fact characteristic of the modern world, deriving from the nature of the state. He argues that the nation-state rests on membership of a particular ethnic or national group, and the exclusion of non-members, creating the potential for conflict. Containing detailed studies of Mexico, Iraq and Switzerland, this is an original contribution to a topical debate.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...engaging, well-written, and well-organized...The author illustrates his argument with excellent case studies..." American Journal of Sociology
Turning the current understanding of ethnicity and nationalism on its head, Wimmer (political and cultural change, U. of Bonn, Germany) argues that the political and economic bases of modernity itself rest on ethnic and nationalist principles. He argues that there was a shadowy side of the modernist project of the democratic nation-state, in that new forms of exclusion based on belonging to a national or ethnic group were developed. In contrast to authoritarian pre-modern empires that integrated a hierarchical, yet universal political order, principles of political participation and equality before the law were intimately connected to excluding certain peoples. Focusing on Mexico, Iraq, and Switzerland, Wimmer explores the process of exclusion and looks at the process by which the marginalized, after the growth of their own bourgeoisie, begin to assert their rights to be included in citizenship. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521812559
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/6/2002
  • Pages: 330
  • Lexile: 1530L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Andreas Wimmer is Professor of Political and Cultural Change and Director at the Center for Development Studies of the University of Bonn.

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Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. Theoretical Explorations: 1. Compromise and closure: a theory of social dynamics; 2. The making of modern communities; Part II. State Building and Ethnic Conflict: 3. Who owns the state? Ethnic conflicts after the end of empires; 4. Nationalism and ethnic mobilisation in Mexico; 5. From empire to ethnocracy. Iraq since the Ottomans; Part III. The Politics of Exclusion in Nationalised States: 6. Racism and xenophobia; 7. Nationalising multi-ethnic Switzerland.

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