Civic Nationalisms in Global Perspective
Recent events around the globe have cast doubt on the assumption that, as a result of increasing cross-border migrations and global interdependencies, nation-states are becoming more inclusive, ethnic forms of identification more and more a thing of the past, and processes of supranational integration progressively more acceptable. Xenophobic forms of nationalism have once again been on the rise, as became strikingly visible through the results of the Brexit referendum, the election of Donald Trump, and the inclusion of the Lega Nord in the Italian government.
It is timely, therefore, to inquire how multiethnic forms of nationalism can be re-promoted and for this purpose to re-investigate the concept of civic nationalism. This book assembles case studies that analyse the historical practices of civic or quasi-civic nationalisms from around the world. By allowing for global comparisons, the collection of articles seeks to shed new light on pressing questions faced by nation-states around the world today: Are truly civic nationalisms even possible? Which strategies have multiethnic nation-states pursued in the past to foster national sentiment? How can nation-states generate social solidarity without resorting to primordialism? Can the historical example of civic or quasi-civic nation-states offer useful lessons to contemporary nation-states for successfully integrating immigrants?
Introduction: A Global Approach to Civic Nationalisms (Jasper M. Trautsch) 1. The Power and Weakness of Civic Nationalism in Switzerland, 1848-2014 (Regula Argast) 2. Squaring the South Slavic circle: Ethnicity, nationhood, and citizenship in Yugoslavia (Andrew Wachtel and Igor Štiks) 3. Civic Constitutional Nationalism in Egypt: The Egyptian Liberal Experiment Revisited, 1907-1952 (Israel Gershoni) 4. Building the Swahili Nation (Gregory H. Maddox) 5. Ethno-Nationalism Travels Incognito in Singapore (Michael Barr) 6. National Ties Entwined: Civic and Ethnic Nationalisms in New Zealand (David Pearson) 7. Unusual, often implicit, yet surprisingly effective: Civic nationalism in Brazil (Roderick J. Barman) 8. Homogenizing and demarcating America: Foundations: Civic nationalism in the United States, 1774–1861 (Jasper M. Trautsch) Conclusion (Ronald Beiner)
Given the current state of a world caught between the Scylla of globalization and the Charybdis of ethno-national chauvinism, these essays' nuanced and thoughtful reengagement with the concept of civic nationalism could not be more timely. The geographical diversity of cases studied and the inclusion of differing perspectives on the prospects for civic nationalism serve as icing on the cake. I look forward to adding this title to my own graduate-course curricula!
- Aviel Roshwald, Georgetown University