National Collective Identity: Social Constructs and International Systems
With the dissolution of Cold War tensions, as new states take shape around the world and as nationalist and ethnic conflicts come to characterize the international order, questions of national identity have become pivotal for peacekeepers, policymakers, and scholars. In National Collective Identity, Rodney Hall illustrates how centuries-old dynastic traditions have been replaced in the modern era by nationalist and ethnic identity movements.This book delineates three epochal changes in the international system: from the medieval, feudal-theocratic order to the dynastic-sovereign system in the sixteenth century, the territorial sovereign system in the seventeenth century, and finally, after the American and French Revolutions, the national sovereign system. In rich historical detail, this book reexamines a broad spectrum of international conflicts--including the Seven Years War, the Napoleonic wars, the Franco-Prussian War, the First World War, and the Cold War and its aftermath--in terms of the shifting sands of state identities through time.Arguing for the need to make a clear distinction between nation and state--one that has largely been overlooked in recent international relations studies on nationalism--Hall shows how an understanding of this dichotomy can help forecast the development of new states over time. National Collective Identity ascribes transformative power to social actors rather than viewing them as merely conditioned by the self-perpetuating logic of the state. In so doing, Hall presents a new theoretical model that accounts for human agency as an integral component of national systems.
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