By Michael Hechter

Nationalism has turn into the main usual resource of political clash and violence on this planet this present day. Scholarship has supplied scant counsel for holding the darkish facet of nationalism--its broadly publicized excesses of violence, akin to ethnic detoxing and genocide. in accordance with basic theoretical principles concerning the formation and harmony of teams, Containing Nationalism deals a groundbreaking unified clarification of the dynamics of nationalism around the large sweep of background and geography. Michael Hechter argues that the impetus for the commonest form of nationalism arises from the imposition of direct rule in culturally heterogeneous societies--stimulating nationwide id, decreasing the assets of neighborhood elites, motivating the mobilization of nationalist competition to imperative professionals, and finally heightening the call for for sovereignty. Hechter means that political associations that reintroduce oblique rule supply the leaders of recent nations the simplest on hand technique of containing nationalist violence inside their borders.


"An dependent and sweeping account of recent nationalism."--Foreign Affairs, September/October, 2000

"Containing Nationalism is a journey de strength ... an highbrow treat."--American magazine of Sociology, November 2000

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The issue is complex, since no arrangement is most efficient at all levels of organization. Consider the simplest case, where hierarchies are structured such that all groups at each level contain some uniform number of members. This number can be seen as some measure of the shallowness of the chains of control in a society. At one pole, there is a mass society having only a single level of control between the state and atomized individuals. At the other extreme, the deepest hierarchy will be one in which no group has more than a few subgroup members.

Both states and international bodies like the United Nations currently invest considerable resources to this end. The efficacy of these interventions is questionable, however. Doubtless, we would be more confident about measures to contain nationalism if the conditions responsible for its development were better appreciated. What might contain the dark side of nationalism? 1 Since doing so would set a precedent that might unravel most existing states, however, this idea is a non-starter. Short of granting selfdetermination, nationalism can be mitigated by intervening in three general processes.

Those lucky enough to belong to a nation with its own state can emigrate, if they are permitted to do so, if they qualify for citizenship in the destination state, and if they can bear the costs of moving. But, however costly, emigration is rarely an option for the members of stateless nations. Hence nationalism may be the best response to this limitation on exit. 30 Social identity is that part of the individual's self-concept emanating from membership in groups. Complex societies afford people a wealth of different social identities to choose among (Simmel [1922] 1955<2).

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