Containing Nationalism by Michael Hechter

By Michael Hechter

Nationalism has turn into the main wide-spread resource of political clash and violence on the earth this day. Scholarship has supplied scant assistance for holding the darkish aspect of nationalism--its extensively publicized excesses of violence, comparable to ethnic detoxing and genocide. in response to primary theoretical rules concerning the formation and unity of teams, Containing Nationalism deals a groundbreaking unified rationalization of the dynamics of nationalism around the large sweep of background and geography. Michael Hechter argues that the impetus for the most typical form of nationalism arises from the imposition of direct rule in culturally heterogeneous societies--stimulating nationwide id, lowering the assets of neighborhood elites, motivating the mobilization of nationalist competition to valuable experts, and eventually heightening the call for for sovereignty. Hechter means that political associations that reintroduce oblique rule supply the leaders of contemporary nations the easiest on hand technique of containing nationalist violence inside of their borders.


"An dependent and sweeping account of contemporary nationalism."--Foreign Affairs, September/October, 2000

"Containing Nationalism is a travel de strength ... an highbrow treat."--American magazine of Sociology, November 2000

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7 Social order is a collective good that is notoriously vulnerable to free riding. To forestall intergroup violence, the groups must remain internally solidary and at the same time establish an institution that binds them together externally. In Chapter 2,1 explained how individuals could form insurance groups to provide themselves with desired goods like protection. The present situation is in many respects analogous. But there is one significant difference. Whereas the previous problem concerned individual collective action, this one concerns collective action among groups.

The second part of the chapter discusses why indirect rule inhibits nationalism. The Rise of Indirect Rule: A Theory of Primary State Formation If nationalism cannot arise without the state, then how does the state emerge? 2 In contrast, secondary states arise when already-extant state forms are introduced into a given territory from without, usually as a result of conquest. The analysis of group formation in the previous chapter holds an important clue for the development of primary states. 3 Although they will tend to routinely interact with neighbouring groups for the purpose of marriage and exchange, there is no reason to expect that these groups will always coexist peacefully (Gamble 1986: 41-7).

It is not so much that life in a society dominated by one's conationals is invariably happy. Just the opposite. People dislike receiving poor treatment merely on account of a trait they are powerless to alter. This motivation is so strong that it helps explain the extremely high rates of social homogeneity that are typical of voluntary associations (Blau 1977). Since the state is not a voluntary association, however, unhappy citizens cannot easily leave it in the face of discrimination, whether overt or subtle.

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