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Modernism and nationalism

Conversi, Daniele (2012) Modernism and nationalism. Journal of Political Ideologies, 17 (1). pp. 13-34. ISSN 1356-9317

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Identification Number: 10.1080/13569317.2012.644982


Various scholars have addressed nationalism as a distinctive political ideology. The majority of them recognize it as a product of modernity and as inseparable from it. This article begins by accepting this view, identifying the spread of nationalism as part of a broader process of Westernization. However, the all-encompassing ideological dimension and common thread hovering above nationalism is identified here as modernism—that is, the sum of ideological discourses, artistic expressions and political practices gravitating around the ‘need to be modern’. Modernist notions like ‘progress’, ‘growth’, ‘advancement’ and ‘development’ have been largely conceived within national frameworks and applied within a world of ‘nation-states’. Moreover, given the selective ways in which ruling elites used the vocabulary of modernity, the very ‘perlocutionary’ effect of labelling opponents as ‘anti-modern’ often became a sufficient condition for their exclusion. The article discusses whether modernism can be identified as an ideology on its own and whether its triumph was indissociable from nationalism. It concludes that nationalism belonged to a broader modernist discourse that thoroughly accompanied the expansion of modernity.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 Taylor and Francis
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > European Institute
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2013 13:49
Last Modified: 20 May 2020 02:37

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