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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Working Papers in Nationalism Studies

From 2011 we have showcased the very best of our students' dissertation work in our series of Working Papers in Nationalism Studies. Each working paper is an unedited version of a dissertation submitted by one of our students as part of their normal degree programme and which we believe deserves a wider audience.

For further information on the series please contact the Working Papers editor, Dr Michael Rosie at

Please click on the working paper title to download the file in pdf format.

WPINS_1 Daniel Brember, Zionism and the end of Exile

ISBN: 1 900522 78 0
Daniel Brember graduated from the programme in June 2010.

This dissertation examines the relationship between Zionism and Exile, specifically in the thought, work, and policy of the movement’s most prominent minds in the pre-state period. The persistent dominance of the Zionist master narrative obscures the complexities to the Yishuv’s ethno-nationalist discourse and the purpose here has been to challenge the validity of this narrative. By examining the relationship in the non-national (18th and early 19th Centuries), the early-national (fin de siecle) and the nation-building period (pre-1948), this dissertation has exposed the extent to which these leading and influential Zionist thinkers were influenced by and in turn expressed the dominant theories of nationalism at the turn of the century, including, bioligization, orientalism, and eugenics, with profound effect on the identity of the Yishuv.

WPINS_2  Julia Santiago Stockler, The Invention of Samba and National Identity in Brazil

ISBN: 1 900522 83 7
Julia Santiago Stockler graduated from the programme in December 2008.

This dissertation, after acknowledging the dearth of works on nationalisms in Latin America and, particularly, the scarcity of publications on national identity in Brazil, investigates the processes through which samba (Brazil’s prime national symbol) was invented as a national tradition during the first half of the twentieth century and the aspects of Brazil’s national identity which can be discerned through samba lyrics. With regards to the first it is argued, following the works of Edensor and Hobsbawm, that samba was invented and constructed at a time when Brazilians were struggling to define themselves nationally and in which new discourses on race facilitated the rise of samba (a mulatto art form) into the national cultural arena. With regards to the latter, it is proposed that once established as a national tradition, samba came to function as a tool of national cohesion whilst representing a particular Brazilian identity: namely that of Brazil as a racial democracy and of Brazilians as an artful, cunning people living between the worlds of liberalism and clientelism. Finally, it is suggested that although banal, samba, as a paramount national symbol, is invaluable to the sustenance of a Brazilian nation given the several regionalisms which  plague the country.

WPINS_3  Erin E. Hughes, Nation Rebuilding in Rwanda and South Africa: An Assessment of Identity Formation, Governance, and Economic Growth

ISBN:   1 900522 88 8 

Erin E. Hughes graduated from the programme in November 2007.

Rwanda and South Africa suffered extraordinary efforts to cleanse their societies on the basis of ethnicity; Rwanda through a horrifically efficient genocide and South Africa through the protracted exclusion and oppression of apartheid.  The regimes perpetuating such malignant ethnic nationalism both collapsed in 1994 against opposition movements representing the ethnicities they hoped to expel.  The new governments have constructed instead a non-ethnic, state-centred national identity around which to unite their divided populations; they have strived for political systems able to withstand, if not preclude, any remaining extremism in the polity; and they have embraced the pursuit of economic growth.  This paper assesses the confluence of these undertakings as they transition each society to an inclusive nation: Rwanda to an ethnically-void civic nation, South Africa to a multi-ethnic, multilingual civil nation.  I find the ability of the state to perpetuate economic growth, provided growth extends to individuals of all ethnicities, is most able to support this process.  By restructuring society, it facilitates cross-ethnic interaction while constraining illiberalism.  Growth is thus imperative to the stabilization of social relations, the substantiation of the new government, and the sustainability of the new, multi-ethnic, nation. 


WPINS_4  Christian Wicke, Catching God’s Coattail: Comparing Bismarck’s and Kohl’s Profile in Nationalism

ISBN: 1 900522 93 4

Christian Wicke graduated from the programme in November 2007.

It has been assumed that the first German unification was driven from above, whereas the second unification was driven from below and that Bismarck played a greater role in the respective process than Kohl. This comparative study rethinks the interaction between nationalisms from ‘above’ and ‘below’ and shows that contextualising individuals can be a fruitful method to overcome mistaken theoretical assumptions. Considering nationalism from below before the unifications, in combination with an analysis of the actions, socialisations, political philosophies and nationalist ideas of Bismarck and Kohl, leads to the conclusion that both unification processes were too dialectical to accept the above mentioned dichotomy. A national movement had existed in Germany for decades, while Bismarck continued to believe in his duty to protect the Prussian state. Yet, he eventually realised for pragmatic reasons that a ‘golden bridge’ between nationalism and Prussian expansionism in form of kleindeutsch policies was the only way to ensure the persistence of Prussia as a great power. While unification had been almost taboo since the FRG’s entry in NATO, Kohl maintained his vision of German unity. He promoted his belief in the interdependency of liberty and unity and when the democratic movement in the GDR set in motion a peaceful revolution, Kohl immediately realised the opportunity to become the decisive actor for reunification.

WPINS_5  Elisabeth Hope Murray, Under Attack: Genocidal Ideology and the Homeland at War 

ISBN: 1 900522 98 5
Elisabeth Hope Murray graduated from the programme in January 2005.

This dissertation assesses the relationship between genocide, nationalism and war.  It will be found that the instability caused by war allows for nationalist movements to evolve into malevolent regimes which implement genocidal ideology.  Opening with a literature review, the first chapter identifies these major themes and establishes the framework for the rest of the analysis by defining genocide, nationalism and ideology.  Once these definitions are set forth, the relationship between the three is further identified in Chapter Two by differentiating between the nation and the anti – nation as well as evaluating the relationship each group has with the homeland.  Through research conducted regarding Rwandan, Cambodian, German and Turkish genocides, Chapter Three provides support for the theory that war creates instability which encourages genocidal policy; these policies are particularly influential because of the importance of the ideological belief in the sanctity of the homeland.  

WPINS_6  Nino KemoklidzeNationalism and War: Georgia in the 1990s

ISBN: 1 900522 21 7
Nino Kemoklidze graduated from the programme in November 2006.

The causes and effects of nationalism in the violent conflicts within the former Soviet space have long been a topic of hot debate among scholars of social sciences. In ethnically heterogeneous places like the Balkans and the Caucasus, many tend to blame the outbreak of military confrontations on the intrinsic cultural differences between the different ethnic groups. In this dissertation, however, I argue against this notion and try to demonstrate that labelling these conflicts as ‘ethnic’ is mistaken altogether. The question of why inter- and intra-ethnic conflicts turned violent in Georgia in early 1990s is intrinsically linked to how ethnicity has been constructed, institutionalised, and politicised during Soviet rule. Based on observation of these events and on interviews conducted with the political and military elite of Georgia, as well as close examination of the available documentary material and other sources in Georgian, Russian, and English languages, I further outline three major factors that have played a decisive role in linking nationalism and war in the case of Georgia: institutions, elites, and the Russia factor. 

WPINS_7  Marie-Evel HamelStory of a Conflict: The Impact of the Education System on Post-Conflict Ethnic Identities in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Rwanda

ISBN: 1 900522 36 5
Marie-Eve Hamel graduated from the programme in November 2012.

This study explores how education is used as a nation-building tool in two post-ethnic cleansing states: Bosnia-Herzegovina and Rwanda. Specifically, this study contrasts how ethnicity is accommodated in the school system to foster social cohesion and how the teaching of the recent episodes of ethnic violence impacts the individual experience of ethnicity. It draws primarily upon secondary literature and on official government reports, complemented by informal interviews, to develop its arguments. A literature review on the role of education as a tool for nation-building is provided, before analysing the way ethnicity is accommodated in the school system and the way that national history is discussed in schools. The study argues that the design of ethnic accommodation implemented at the state level is reproduced in the education system, leading to a system of mono-ethnic schools in BiH and of integrated schools in Rwanda. It also demonstrates that a mono-national focus in history teaching in BiH politicizes ethnic identities at the individual level, while in Rwanda individual experiences of ethnicity are inconsistent with the state’s attempts to transcend ethnicity through a moratorium on history teaching and an official narrative that focuses on pre-colonial unity.

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