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National Identity

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  124 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
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Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 1st 1993 by University of Nevada Press (first published 1991)
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Oct 21, 2012 Andreea rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
This is slightly better than Imagined Communities, but still really problematic and full of historical errors. The author's main thesis is that there are two types of nationalism, a Western somehow more 'evolved' one that he calls 'civic-territorial' (led by the upper class / aristocratic elites, is successful due mostly to bureaucracy, tries to create a common political community) and a more 'barbaric' one which he calls ethnic-genealogical (which is started from smaller, demotic communities wh ...more
May 23, 2016 Eitental rated it really liked it
Shelves: nationalism
This examination of nationalism and the nation is perhaps less celebrated than similar works by Benedict Anderson, Ernest Gellner and Eric Hobsbawn, but one of my university lecturers recommended it as the best. On the one hand, I can see why: Smith’s approach is highly systematic and thorough, never sacrificing detail in the name of simplicity. However, this – combined with Smith’s dense and verbose writing style – does mean that it is not an easy read. I frequently found my attention wandering ...more
Eb Daniels
Aug 10, 2016 Eb Daniels rated it really liked it
An excellent introduction to the study of the nation and national identity. Smith illustrates an obvious bias towards the West in defining a nation, and one wishes that he had simply limited the scope of his work to the concept of the nation in the West - it would have tidied up a great deal of unhelpful asides.

Smith is also prone to generalizations and anecdotal evidence, but for a work of this scope, which is clearly intended to be an introduction, this style works very nicely. And this book
Jennifer Plummer
Oct 17, 2015 Jennifer Plummer rated it did not like it
The writing style of this author definitely did not agree with me. I'm currently taking a graduate-level course on this topic and of the eight books we're working our way through with this class, this one I liked the least. I respect the author and feel he has done much research and I know he has been praised for his work. In a conversation, or possibly one of his other books, I may be able to learn a lot from him. This book, however, was very difficult to read and as childish as this many sound ...more
Mar 02, 2016 J A rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
An important text in this area, establishing civic and ethnic nationalisms, scrutinising the pre-modern aspects of this phenomenon and engaging with why nationalism exists. Nevertheless, there are some methodological problems, particularly when Smith is not only Euro-centric in his analysis, but also relentlessly pushes European exceptionalism (that England and France were the progenitors of the nation). I would have liked to have seen more of an examination of the United States, which is covere ...more
A not-bad, and at the very least compulsively readable analysis of the phenomenon that exists rather within the shadow of Benedict Anderson and Eric Hobsbawm, which is pretty hard for any scholar in the nationalist concept to escape. Anthony Smith asks the important questions, provides some kinda fluffy, kinda anecdotal, but still provocative answers, and points the way to some further research on the difference between his "demotic" and "bureaucratic" nationalisms-- a concept that I'm not entir ...more
thank you
Sep 12, 2013 Sofia rated it really liked it
Interesting book!
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Anthony D. Smith is Professor Emeritus of Nationalism and Ethnicity at the London School of Economics, and is considered one of the founders of the interdisciplinary field of nationalism studies. His best-known contributions to the field are the distinction between 'civic' and 'ethnic' types of nations and nationalism, and the idea that all nations have dominant 'ethnic cores'. While Smith agrees ...more
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