This book assesses competing modes of nation-building and nationalism through a critical reappraisal of the works of key theorists such as Benedict Anderson and Eric Hobsbawm. Exploring the processes of nation building from a variety of ethnic and social class contexts, it focuses on the contested terrains within which nationalist ideologies are often rooted. Mac Laughlin offers a theoretical and empirical analysis of nation building, taking as a case study the historical connections between Ireland and Great Britain in the clash between 'big nation' historic British nationalism on the one hand, and minority Irish nationalism on the other. Locating the origins of the historic nation in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Mac Laughlin emphasises the difficulties, and specifities, of minority nationalisms in the nineteenth century. In so doing he calls for a place-centred approach which recognises the symbolic and socio-economic significance of territory to the different scales of nation-building. Exploring the evolution of Irish Nationalism, Reimaging the Nation State also shows how minority nations can challenge the hegemony of dominant states and threaten the territorial integrity of historic nations.
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