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The Impact of Pan-Nationalism on Nationalism: A Reframing of Nationalism Studies, 1850-2019

Authors: Sarah Danielsson*, CUNY - Queensborough and the Graduate Center - New York, NY
Topics: Historical Geography, Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: Pan-nationalism, Nationalism, Pan-Regions
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Nationalism of the last hundred and fifty years, and especially in recent years, can best be understood and explained by grasping the impact and persistence of pan-nationalism. There is a wealth of scholarship that, taken together, point to the fact that it was the emergence of pan-nationalism in the late nineteenth century that gave rise to corresponding and counter pan-nationalisms, and that in turn infused nationalism broadly with trans-nationalism. Subsequently, large and persistent trends of nationalism in the last hundred years were then permeated with what I identify as the central components of historical pan-nationalism: nationalism that is adaptable, globalized, biologized and fluid enough to not be limited by the inherent instability of the nation-state. The emergence of pan nationalism constituted a reframing of nationalism. The phrase ‘pan-nationalism’ fell out of usage, but not its components, as much nationalism became indistinguishable from historical pan-nationalism. It was the emergence of pan-nationalism that provided the bridge between the ‘nation’ of the hypothetical nation-state, and the ‘nation’ of the globalizing world since the late nineteenth century. What made pan-nationalism so effective and able to survive and flourish in so many different contexts was the fact that it did not rely on the nation-state, geographic location, or political ideology, to thrive (that is not to say that those elements played no role at all). It immediately accommodated imperialism and incorporated seamlessly the biologized ideas of race and ethnicity. Pan-nationalism could operate in liberal contexts and illiberal contexts alike.

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