Nationalism: Identities, Movements, Nation-States SOCIO4103

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

The concept of the 'national' simultaneously encompasses a form of consciousness, a mode of politics and a type of state. Using a combination of historical and comparative sociology the course will examine these three interconnected aspects: national identities and how these are 'imagined' or 'invented'; nationalism and how this is mobilised to establish new or defend existing nation-states, which have since the late 19th century been the basic components of the world capitalist system. Beginning with a survey the main definitions and theories of the nation, it then draws on a synthesis of 'modernist' theories to trace the historical development of nationalism from its first emergence in Western Europe during the early bourgeois revolutions through to the universal adoption of the nation-state form during the anti-colonial revolutions after the Second World War. The course then compares national consciousness with other forms of consciousness, particularly class consciousness, and nationalism with other forms of identity-based politics, particularly those based on ethnicity and 'race'. Finally the course will address the extent to which the three aspects of the 'national' are still relevant in a supposedly globalising world through series of case studies, including Scotland and the European Union.


2 hours of lectures/seminars per week for 10 weeks.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Entry to Honours Sociology requires a grade point average of 12 (Grade C) over Sociology 2A and Sociology 2B as a first attempt.

Excluded Courses






One 4000 word essay chosen from a selection of questions.

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable


Course Aims

The course aims:

■ to introduce students to the debates over nations and nationalism;

■ to help students make a critical assessment of different theories;

■ to encourage students to take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the subject;

■ and to equip students to make their own analysis of both historical and contemporary national movements.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will have:

■ an awareness of the main theories of nationalism and capability of evaluating their varying levels of explanatory power;

■ an ability to distinguish between different types of nationalism (ethnic/civic, oppressor/oppressed, secessionist/irredentist) and between different forms taken by nations (nation-states, stateless nations, de-territorialised 'peoples'); and

■ and understanding of the connections between nation, ethnicity and 'race'.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.