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Unit information: Nations and Nationalism in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Nations and Nationalism
Unit code SOCI30082
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Fox
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

The content of the unit will focus on different scholarly perspectives on ethnicity, nationality, ethnic groups, and nations. The unit will be divided into three parts. We will begin by establishing an analytical framework for the study of ethnicity and nationalism that stresses the historic specificity and social construction of ethnic groups and nations. In the middle part of the unit, we will examine a range of ways in which ethnicity and nationality are experienced, legitimated, and reproduced in the modern world. The final part of the unit will be devoted to contemporary applications of these concepts: how ethnicity and nationalism manifest themselves in politics, culture, and everyday life. Combined, these three parts will establish different ways in which ethnicity and nationality are modern social constructs.

The unit aims to:

1. critically assess the social, political, economic, and cultural underpinnings of ethnicity and nationalism;

2. understand and appreciate ethnicity and nationalism as politically significant features of the modern era;

3. consider both the macro-structural and micro-interactional dynamics contributing to the construction and reproduction of ethnicity and nationality; and,

4. gauge the changing social significance of ethnicity and nationalism in historical perspective and in the contemporary world.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

A. demonstrate a sociologically critical appreciation of ethnicity and nationalism as specifically modern social constructs;

B. appreciate the macro- and micro-dimensions of ethnicity and nationalism as well as the interplay between them; and,

C. apply the analytical concepts used in the unit across different historical and geographical cases.

Teaching Information

1hr lecture and 2 x 1hr of seminars.

Assessment Information

1,000 word project analysis (20%)

2,500 word essay (80%)

Both assessments assess all learning outcomes listed above

Reading and References

  • Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, London: Verso, 2d. ed. rev., 1991.
  • Rogers Brubaker, Ethnicity without Groups, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004.
  • Craig Calhoun, Nationalism, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997.
  • Eric J. Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
  • Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983.
  • John Hutchinson & Anthony D. Smith, eds., Nationalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.
  • Atsuko Ichijo & Gordana Uzelac, eds., When is the Nation? Towards an Understanding of Theories of Nationalism, London: Routledge, 2005.