Winning bodies and souls state building and the necessity of nationalism
Adams, Jonathan M.
Berger, Marcos (Mark T.).
Borer, Douglas A.
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This thesis argues the obvious, but still widely neglected point that for successful state building to occur in the post-Cold War era, nationalism remains a necessary but not sufficient condition for the emergence of a stable modern nation-state. Nationalism is both the key to state building and the central element in any explanation of the limitations of the modern nation-state and the system of sovereign nation-states in the early 21st century. Without a genuinely unifying nationalism and a strong sense of national identity, underpinned by the provision of goods and services, a modern nation-state is nothing but an ineffective bureaucratic edifice masquerading as a modern sovereign nation-state. Despite the post- Cold War resurgence in the theory and practice of state building (or nation building), the crucial role of nationalism receives virtually no attention. The term nationalism is used here in the deepest sense possible: it is not being used to describe a superficial agreement that 'we are all Iraqis now' or 'all Afghanis now' because 'we' elected a new government, usually under the auspices of the United Nations and ostensibly responsible for the 'national' territory within which 'we' live. The central point of this thesis is that despite its apparent obviousness, nationalism remains completely marginalized in the contemporary debate about the theory of, and the practice of state building. To put it in anthropomorphic terms, contemporary exercises in state building (or nation building) are wittingly, or unwittingly, facilitating the creation of a body (the 'state') without a soul (the 'nation').
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