“It’s Like an Instant Bond”: Emotional Experiences of Nation, Primordial Ties and the Challenges of/for Diversity

By Nichola Wood.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Modern constructionist theories of nation and nationalism have, in many ways, attempted to diffuse what are perceived as the dangerous, emotional, primordial elements of these concepts by demonstrating their relatively modern and socially constructed nature. In detaching notions of nationalism from ideas of essentialism, ‘naturalness’ and perenniality, modern constructionists have, implicitly, attempted to withdraw some of the grounds on which people – often through violent means - claim a right to nationhood and the need to protect their national identity. However, as Walker Connor and Craig Calhoun suggest, such 'rational', modernist theories do not account for how nations and nationalism are perceived and emotionally experienced in everyday life. Drawing on research conducted at two national-scale ‘Scottish’ music festivals, I demonstrate the ways in which the language of primordialism is used to explain emotional experiences of ‘Scottishness’. In light of my research findings I
question the extent to which 'civic' nations can accommodate cultural and ethnic diversity and argue that in order to gain a greater understanding of how nations 'work'
we need to develop theories that move beyond the 'traditional' divisions between modern constructionist and primordialist approaches and 'civic' and 'ethnic' nationalism.

Keywords: Nation, National Identity, Emotion, Diversity, Inclusivity/Exclusivity

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.203-210. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 530.041KB).

Dr. Nichola Wood

Lecturer in Critical Human Geography, School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK

Nichola Wood is a lecturer in critical human geography at the University of Leeds. Her research explores the role and significance of emotions in the formation and lived experience of cultural and political identities. Her work also critically engages with the ways in which the dynamic and constantly emerging 'doings' of social life are studied and (re)presented in academic research.


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