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Siniša Malešević: Living in a Nation-Centric World
22. April 12:00 - 14:00
Nationalism is often perceived to be a political anomaly that periodically interrupts normal social life. For many commentators nationalism is no more than a ‘19th century relic’ that unexpectedly ‘rises it’s ugly head’. In the early 1990s most analysts were puzzled by ‘the sudden rise of nationalism’ in Eastern Europe just as they have recently been astonished by ‘the resurgence of populism and new nationalism’ in the USA, UK, India, Brazil and China. In these accounts nationalism is perceived to be an unusual phenomenon, a form of social pathology that requires instant healing or surgical removal from the body politic.
In this presentation I challenge such views and argue that nationalism is not a temporary aberration but is in fact a historical norm. I explore how and why nationalism gradually became the dominant operative ideology of modernity and why we still live in a nation-centric world. The paper zooms in on the three historical processes that have made nationalism the hegemonic worldview that it is today: the cumulative bureaucratisation of coercion, society-wide ideological penetration, and the envelopment of micro-solidarity.