Citizenship, Nationality and Ethnicity: Reconciling Competing Identities

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Wiley, Jan 31, 1997 - Social Science - 280 pages
Most interpretations of ethnicity concentrate either on particular societies or on specific dimensions of 'world society'. This work takes quite a different approach, arguing that variations within and across societies are vital for understanding contemporary dilemmas of ethnicity. The author aims to develop a new analysis of the relation between the nation on the one hand, and ethnicity and citizenship on the other.


Oommen conceives of the nation as a product of a fusion of territory and language. He demonstrates that neither religion nor race determines national identities. As territory is seminal for a nation to emerge and exist, the dissociation between people and their 'homeland' makes them an ethnie. Citizenship is conceptualized both as a status to which nationals and ethnies ought to be entitled and a set of obligations, a role they are expected to play.


Analyses of three historical episodes - colonialism and European expansion, Communist internationalism and the nation-state and its project of cultural unity - are examined to provide the empirical content of the argument.


This book will be essential reading for second-year undergraduates and above in the areas of sociology, anthropology and cultural studies.

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About the author (1997)

T. K. Oommen is a Professor at the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, and former President of the International Sociological Association.

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