Kelly's Reviews > Nations and Nationalism

Nations and Nationalism by Ernest Gellner
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One of about the four major texts on the "modernist" theory of nationalism. And two of the other three guys work off of him. Writing a paper on nationalism for one of my classes- God you find out what a small, idol-worshipping world academia is right quick in this field.
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Kelly Why did nobody warn me about this stuff?? It's a conspiracy! :)

I'm doing a close read analysis of two theories of nationalism by Eric Hobsbawm and Adrian Hastings. One is a Marxist, one is a church historian- as you can imagine, they have.... slightly different viewpoints. This is one of those papers where I'm running into crazy people, but delighted that I can recognize that they're crazy because that means that I'm not. ... or so I tell myself. :)


message 2: by Kelly (last edited Nov 02, 2010 07:09PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kelly Well it's mostly the second guy yelling about how he doesn't like what the first guy wrote (he gave a whole series of lectures specifically to contradict him). I wish I could get giddy, but mostly I want to knock heads together because I think second guy agrees with first guy for at least a large minority of the time, he just believes it is VERY IMPORTANT that his words be used, not the other guy's even though THEY MEAN THE SAME THING, YOU IDIOT.

... I've been spending too much time in the heads of grumpy old men. I've been infected!


message 3: by Bibliomantic (new)

Bibliomantic Shouldn't that be "postmodern" theory of nationalism?


Kelly Gellner? I don't think so, no. He's pretty much THE modernist view guy in a lot of ways.


message 5: by Kirk (new)

Kirk Sinclair I touch upon nationalism and patriotism a little bit in Systems out of Balance.


message 6: by Bibliomantic (new)

Bibliomantic I always thought Anderson was the modernist of modernists.


message 7: by Kelly (last edited Nov 10, 2010 08:59AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kelly He's one of the four leaders (Kedouire, Hobsbawm, Anderson and Gellner- with a nod to Brueilly as well), certainly. I think it was Kedouire who provided the initial reaction that got it all started, Gellner gave the idea the conceptual framework to move forward, and then Anderson sort of put it together in a systematic way and departed from Gellner (though he does credit him as the source of some of his ideas) and happened to be the guy who got famous at a time when nationalism started to matter again.

It's hard to pick one guy as THE dude, they all sort of worked off each other, and most of them came out with stuff at the same time in the early '80s. They're all Marxists to a certain degree, which I've always found fascinating since they became so prominent in the States and the UK.

I say Gellner more than Anderson if I had to pick though just because he was at the conceptual work first.


message 8: by Bibliomantic (last edited Nov 10, 2010 10:25AM) (new)

Bibliomantic I think that Marxism gave them a system, a lens through which to view the larger isms, nationalism among them, though it handicapped them as well, and prevented them from seeing the reality of historical figures’ influence. There was another guy who anticipated the fundamental ideas of the abovementioned gang, be it Gellner or Anderson, but without, I think the same Marxist ball and chain--Hans Kohn, but I’m not sure if anyone still reads his works.


Kelly Well, I did anyway. My professor insisted that I did and I certainly see why now. What a fascinating guy! I don't know that I would call him a modernist exactly but I agree that it's hard to understand those guys if you don't understand Kohn's civic/ethnic split idea at least. Have you read any Anthony Smith? I'm really interested by his deviation from the modernists and I'd be curious what you thought about it if you have.


message 10: by Bibliomantic (new)

Bibliomantic I have a copy of his 'Nations and Nationalism in a Global Era', but I haven't gotten to it yet. Well, to be honest, I have read a section of "The Modernist Fallacy" chapter, and that inspired me to take the book home with me. I recall appreciating his jabs at the notion that nationalism is a recent phenomenon, for I too find it dubious. Our current discussion makes me want to read the whole thing from the beginning.


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