What Is a Nation?: Europe 1789-1914
Timothy Baycroft, Mark Hewitson
OUP Oxford, 2006 M06 29 - 392 pages
This volume analyses and compares different forms of nationalism across a range of European countries and regions during the long nineteenth century. It aims to put detailed studies of nationalist politics and thought, which have proliferated over the last ten years or so, into a wider European context. By means of such contextualization, together with new and systematic comparisons, What is a Nation? Europe 1789-1914 reassesses the arguments put forward in the principal works on nationalism as a whole, many of which pre-date the proliferation of case studies in the 1990s and which, as a consequence, make only inadequate reference to the national histories of European states. The study reconsiders whether the distinction between civic and ethnic identities and politics in Europe has been overstated and whether it needs to be replaced altogether by a new set of concepts or types. What is a Nation? explores the relationship between this and other typologies, relating them to complex processes of industrialization, increasing state intervention, secularization, democratization and urbanization. Debates about citizenship, political economy, liberal institutions, socialism, empire, changes in the states system, Darwinism, high and popular culture, Romanticism and Christianity all affected - and were affected by - discussion of nationhood and nationalist politics. The volume investigates the significance of such controversies and institutional changes for the history of modern nationalism, as it was defined in diverse European countries and regions during the long nineteenth century. By placing particular nineteenth-century nationalist movements and nation-building in a broader comparative context, prominent historians of particular European states give an original and authoritative reassessment, designed to appeal to students and academic readers alike, of one of the most contentious topics of the modern period.