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2. Nationalist Movements

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In this module, we think about some of the different types of nationalist movements, focusing in particular on: (i) the common thread among all three types of political nationalism – the desire to achieve an alignment between politics and culture; (ii) unification nationalism: in which a cultural group that is spread across separate political units wants to combine to form a single nation; (iii) secessionism: in which a cultural group that forms one part of a larger political unit wants to leave that political unit to form their own separate (smaller) nation; (iv) irredentism: in which a political unit wants to restore a territory that has (in their view) been taken away from it; (v) cultural nationalism: which seeks alignment between politics and culture by pursuing cultural rather than political (territorial) change; (vi) the extent to which a cultural community might be imagined rather than real, e.g. the idea of Italianness in the mid-19th century; and (vii) two kinds of nationalism that are not about political/cultural alignment – the nationalism of wounded national pride, and the nationalism that harks back to a (real or imagined) ‘golden age’.


In this course, Professor Eric Kaufmann (Birkbeck, University of London) provides an overview of Nationalism. In the first module, we define some of the key terms – ‘the state’, ‘ethnicity’, ‘the nation’ – as well as considering the question of whether the nation is by definition a modern phenomenon. In the second module, we think about some of the different types of nationalist movements, including unificatory, secessionist and irredentist movements, as well as the various forms of cultural nationalism. In the third module, we consider the usefulness of the distinction between ‘ethnic nationalism’ and ‘civic nationalism’ (a typology described by Hans Kohn in The Idea of Nationalism, 1944), before turning in the fourth module to the interaction between nationalism and the concepts of ethnicity, culture and race. In the fifth module, we think about how readily nationalism combines with other ideologies, before moving on in the sixth module to consider the effect globalisation is having on the nation state and nationalism.


Eric Kaufmann is Professor of Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth (2010), The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America (2004), The Orange Order (2007) and Unionism and Orangeism in Northern Ireland since 1945 – with H. Patterson (2007). He is co-editor, among others, of Political Demography (2012) and Whither the Child: Causes and Consequences of Low Fertility (2012), and editor of Rethinking Ethnicity: Majority Groups and Dominant Minorities (2004). An editor of the journal Nations & Nationalism, he has written for Newsweek International, Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines, and blogs at Huffington Post. His current ESRC grant, affiliated with the think tank Demos, examines white working-class responses to diversity in the UK. He may be found on twitter at @epkaufm.

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APA style

Kaufmann, E. (2020, December 31). Nationalism - Nationalist Movements [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Kaufmann, E. "Nationalism – Nationalist Movements." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 31 Dec 2020,

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