Nation, Nationalism, and Other Intervening Concepts: The Tensions, Contentions in Their Meanings

Abiodun Adeniyi, Salisu Suleiman


Analyses of nation and nationalism, which are figuratively about “‘belonging’, “‘bordering’, and ‘commitment’” (Brennan, 1995:128), have come in various ways. While some scholars evaluate it from 1980 upwards (Zuelow, 2006), others concentrate on ideas around it across time (Smith, 1994; Brubaker, 1996; Özkirimlii, 2000). Many others try to group theories of nationalism into typologies, for easier understanding (Smith, 1994; Greenfeld, 1995; Hechter, 2000). There are also various theories on its manner of emergence (Anderson, 1983; Handler, 1988; Gellner, 1983; Hroch, 1996; Renan, 1996). While a grouping of the arguments can be elusive, relationships between the individual and the collective to the state are in the centre of most analyses. Issues are also around ways of considering the relation between the self and the nation. This paper discusses nation and nationalism from the multiple perspectives, and other intervening and related concepts, in the bid to expand the scope of understanding, and concludes that the shades of conceptualisations are still bound to continue.

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