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