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Reimagining the Nation State: The Contested Terrains of Nation Building

By: Jim Mac Laughlin

Pluto Press

Paperback | Dec 2001 | #143113 | ISBN: 0745313647
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NHBS Price: £19.99 $26/€23 approx

About this book

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.


The political geography of nation building and nationalism in the social sciences; industrial capitalism and unionism in the north east of Ireland -construction of unionist hegemony, 1890-1921; maintaining unionist hegemony in Northern Ireland, 1945-72; the politics of nation building in rural Ireland - constructing nationalist hegemony in post famine Donegal; the peripheries and cores of Irish nationalism; the politics of exclusion and the geography of closure in nation-building Ireland.

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Jim Mac Laughlin is a senior lecturer in the Department of Geography at University College, Cork.

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