1st Edition

Cultural Nationhood and Political Statehood The Birth of Self-Determination

By André Liebich Copyright 2023
    120 Pages
    by Routledge

    120 Pages
    by Routledge

    Cultural Nationhood and Political Statehood explores the development of the idea that every nation – most commonly understood as a linguistic community – is entitled to its own state.

    Following several contemporary studies of nationalism, this book provides a critical examination of the peculiarly modern concurrence of cultural nations and political states as it developed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The author argues that this is one of the most fateful coincidences of modernity: so firmly engraved in today's consciousness that most scholars and policymakers assume the correlation of cultural nationhood and political statehood to be intellectually unproblematic, yet the consequences have been overwhelming. The conflation of cultural nation and political state has imposed an isomorphism of language, culture, and politics upon the world. It has pre-determined democratic practice by enforcing the doctrine that the will of the people can only be the will of a people. It has led to the assumption that every nation may become a state. The book’s originality lies in tracing the genesis and the elaboration over time of this curious contemporary assumption.

    This thought-provoking book offers an unconventional perspective on the development of nationalism and world history. It will be relevant for upper-level students, scholars, and researchers of European history, nationalism, and self-determination.

    1. Must Nations Become States?

    2. Nationalism and the French Revolution

    3. Ideological Currents 1815–1830

    4. Czartoryski and the Case for Polish Statehood

    5. Mazzini and the Italian Road to Universal Nationhood

    6. The Principle of Nationality

    7. Germany

    8. The Principle of Nationality, Again

    9. From the Principle of Nationality to Self-Determination

    10. Czechoslovakia

    11. Nations and States since 1945

    12. Conclusion: An Issue Unresolved


    André Liebich is Honorary Professor of International History and Politics at the Graduate Institute, Geneva, Switzerland, where he was Professor of International History and Politics from 1989 to 2013. He was also Visiting Professor at the Global Studies Institute at the Université de Genève, Switzerland. He was previously Professor of Political Science at the Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada, and has held many visiting fellowships. He has written widely on political theory, European history, minorities, citizenship, and nationalism, with particular reference to Eastern Europe.

    "This splendid book demonstrates that the insistence on each nation having its own state came much later than classical theories of nationalism realize. The range of cases and command of the historical record is deeply impressive, and the discussions of Czartoryski and Mazzini superb—and the book is a joy to read, really clever, occasionally quirky, at times amusing but always thoughtful."

    John A. Hall, Emeritus James McGill Professor of Sociology at McGill University, Canada