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nation-state, a territorially bounded can be fried polity—i.e., a state—that is rule in the name of a neighborhood of citizens who identify themselves together a nation. The legitimacy that a nation-state’s rule over a territory and over the population inhabiting it stems indigenous the appropriate of a core national group within the state (which may incorporate all or only some of its citizens) come self-determination. Members of the core national team see the state together belonging come them and also consider the approximate are of the state come be their homeland. Accordingly, they need that other groups, both within and also outside the state, recognize and also respect their manage over the state. Together the American sociologist Rogers Brubaker placed it in Nationalism Reframed: Nationhood and the nationwide Question in the new Europe (1996), nation-states are “states of and for particular nations.”

As a politics model, the nation-state fuses two principles: the rule of state sovereignty, an initial articulated in the peace of Westphalia (1648), which recognizes the ideal of states to govern their territories without external interference; and also the principle of national sovereignty, which establish the best of national neighborhoods to administrate themselves. National sovereignty consequently is based upon the moral-philosophical rule of famous sovereignty, according to which says belong to their peoples. The last principle means that legitimate ascendancy of a state calls for some sort of consent by the people. That need does no mean, however, that all nation-states space democratic. Indeed, plenty of authoritarian rulers have presented themselves—both to the outside world of states and also internally to the human being under their rule—as judgment in the surname of a can be fried nation.


Nation-state building

Although France after the French revolution (1787–99) is often cited as the first nation-state, part scholars think about the facility of the English commonwealth in 1649 together the earliest circumstances of nation-state creation. Because the so late 18th century the nation-state has gradually become the dominant auto of dominance over geographic territories, replacing polities that were governed through other values of legitimacy. The latter had dynastic monarchies (e.g., the Habsburg and also Ethiopian empires), theocratic claims (e.g., the Dalai Lama’s rule over Tibet and also the preeminence of the prince-bishops the Montenegro), early american empires (justified through colonizing powers as a method of spreading a “true” religious beliefs or that bringing development to “backward” peoples), and communist revolutionary federal governments that purported come act in the surname of a transnational working course (see proletariat; social class: characteristics of the principal classes).

Although part nation-states have actually been created by polity-seeking nationwide movements, rather have formed when existing polities to be nationalized—i.e., transformed into nation-states—either since theocrats or monarchs yielded authority to parliaments (as in Britain and also France) or since empires retract or damaged apart (as go the British and also French colonial empires in the mid-20th century and also the Soviet realm in east Europe beginning in the so late 1980s).

As a politics ideal, nationalism aspires to a congruence between state borders and the limits of the nationwide community, so that the national group is contained in the territory of that is state and the state contains only that nation. However, in reality, the borders of states and the limits of nations usually just partly overlap: not all inhabitants of the state belong to the main point national group (sometimes not even all citizens are component of the nation), and also some members of the country reside in various other states. The lack of congruence in between state and country has given rise to number of phenomena: battles that an episode at approximately the time the nation-state formation; citizenship power (see below Citizenship in nation-states) that embrace co-national immigrants—i.e., immigrant belonging come the exact same nation—but exclude various other immigrants; efforts by nation-states to nationalize extr territories and also populations; and state policies that manage ethnic, religious, and also national diversity within your borders.

Nation-state formation and war

The processes of nation-state development increase the likelihood that wars. Together the social researchers Andreas Wimmer and Brian Min confirmed in a 2006 research (“From realm to Nation-State: Explaining wars in the contemporary World, 1816–2001”), three types of wars are more prevalent at roughly the time of the foundation of nation-states: (1) wars of freedom aiming to finish foreign ascendancy (e.g., the Algerian battle of freedom in 1954–62 and also the Kosovo conflict in 1998–99); (2) civil wars within new nation-states developing from battles over the states’ ethno-nationalist character, sometimes resulting in secessionist initiatives by country minorities (e.g., the 1963–67 uprising of the Somalian minority in Kenya, i m sorry demanded union of their area the residence with neighbouring Somalia); and (3) interstate wars asserted by federal governments seeking to aid oppressed co-nationals in brand-new neighbouring nation-states (e.g., the Greco-Turkish war of 1921–22) and also by new nation-states seek to prolong their ascendancy to adjoining territories populated by co-nationals (e.g., the German occupation of Alsace-Lorraine throughout the Franco-German war of 1871).

Citizenship in nation-states

Nation-states strictly enforce institutionalized criteria for naturalization, well-known as citizenship regimes. Citizenship energy reflect certain understandings the who may be a legitimate member that the nation. Nation-states in i m sorry the core country is conceived as a primordial ethno-cultural neighborhood tend to adopt citizen regimes based upon a rule of jus sanguinis (“right that blood”), i beg your pardon allocates citizenship based on the individual’s necessary ties (through family decent) come the nationwide community and also the homeland. In contrast, citizenship allocation based upon a principle of jus soli (“right of the soil”) presupposes a civic-republican conception of the main point nation, according to which national membership depends on acquiring, with socialization, loyalty to state institutions and also acceptance that a common political culture.


The best of a state of and for a nation is reinforced not just through citizenship energy but also through mechanisms the foster nationwide integration and also develop and also sustain emotionally commitment to the homeland. Because that example, curricula in schools are designed come teach kids an official narrative regarding the nation’s history and legacy, the history of the state, and also the shared national culture; official national calendars define specific days as nationwide holidays, which are commemorated with main point rituals that commemoration; nationalization the physical room is promoted by specify name localities, streets, framework (e.g., roads and bridges), and also parts the nature (e.g., rivers and also mountains) after national heroes and glorious or tragic events in the history of the nation; national cumulative memory is also nurtured in memorial sites and also monuments (e.g., those commemorating collapse soldiers); the country is represented in main state icons (e.g., flags and the uniforms of security forces); and, in plenty of nation-states, the language the the core national group is made the official language that the country.

Diversity management

Despite their initiatives to foster a nationwide core, a fundamental challenge to nation-states is exactly how to manage ethnic, religious, or nationwide diversity within your borders. So-called “diversity management” has actually been accomplished by using one or more of three contending principles concerning groups that are not initially component of the core national group: assimilation, exclusion, and also accommodation. In countless cases, different policies have been used to different minority groups, hence leading to different levels of society integration and cultural assimilation or alienation.

Many polyethnic states have applied “melting pot” policies, aiming come assimilate country minorities into the hegemonic nationwide culture, which frequently represents the culture of a dominant group (typically the founding group). In contrast, exclusionary policies have targeted country or spiritual groups seen as alien come the nation and unassimilable. Historically, excessive forms of exemption have consisted of ethnic cleansing (deporting members of ethnic or spiritual minorities or forcing them come flee the country) or genocide (annihilating an ethnic or spiritual group with mass killing). Historical instances of acts of ethnic cleansing consisted of the forced resettlement of Slavs in central and eastern European countries occupied through Nazi Germany during human being War II; the expulsion of Italians and also Jews native Libya in 1970 complying with a army coup led by Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi; and the fixed killing and forced hike of Bengalis from eastern Pakistan during the Bangladesh battle of freedom in 1971. Genocides have actually been committed, because that example, by the footrest Empire against Armenians, Greeks, and also Assyrians during civilization War I; by Nazi Germany versus the Jews and also by the fascist Ustaša federal government of Croatia against the Serbs during people War II; and also by the Hutu government of Rwanda versus the Tutsi human being in 1994.

The most prevalent species of exclusion do not involve the physical expulsion the minorities but rather your social, cultural, and also political subordination to the dominant group. Minority groups are frequently excluded from main point state organizations (particularly government), endure from economic deprivation, and also are underrepresented in the nationwide media and also the public sphere. In nondemocratic countries, the exclusion of minorities might take the type of straight suppression. In so-called “ethnic democracies” (democratic countries that are overcame by core ethno-national groups), individual civil liberties are granted same to all citizens, but institutional mechanisms maintain ethno-national boundaries, exclude minorities from the symbols and power-centres the the state, and also systematically prioritize the interests of the dominant ethno-national group over the understand of minorities. In Israel, because that example, Arabs and also Palestinians constitute a big minority of citizens (about 20 percent), however Arab-Palestinian political parties have actually never been part of the government, official state symbols contain just the signs of the Jewish majority group, and the Palestinian rigid of the Jewish-Palestinian dispute is excluded native the curriculum in ~ schools, which exclusively teach the Zionist narrative.

Multiculturalism is one ideological structure that offers an different to both assimilationist and also exclusionary policies, since it aspires come embrace, fairly than to get rid of or suppress, diversity and minorities. In a couple of countries (e.g., Switzerland and also Belgium), a special form of regime referred to as consociational democracy assures all country groups cultural autonomy and an equal share of politics power, and disagreements over plans are fixed through deliberation and also consensus quite than v domination. However, the many common method in liberal autonomous nation-states taking care of ethnic or spiritual diversity is not based on consociationalism yet rather top top institutional mechanisms the make ethnicity and also religion a private matter that is protected by individual polite rights and also whose expression or practice takes location primarily within residences and small communities, if an overarching national identity and society are nurtured by state institutions and also are emphasize in the public sphere.

Challenges come nation-states

The nation-state is one of the hallmarks the the modern-day era. Due to the fact that the 1990s there has actually been a vibrant scholastic debate concerning whether in the era since then—which is regularly titled “global,” “postindustrial,” “late modern,” or “postmodern”—nation-states have actually lost several of their power and authority. Countless scholars have said that contemporary nation-states face unprecedented challenges to their volume to implement policies and also to keep social cohesion within their borders.

Most current difficulties to nation-states room not new, and some of them space as old together the nation-state itself. However, for number of decades, accelerating processes the globalization have tested nation-states’ capacity to contain, control, and harness operation of people, financial capital, and cultural materials and also to confine national politics to publicly spheres and institutions and to relationship with various other nation-states. Says in different parts that the people vary in their level of exposure to the pressures induced by globalization, and in their ability to stand up to or it is adapted to such pressures. Amongst the pressures implemented in varying degrees on every nation-states are the following.


The flow of migrant workers and refugees to nation-states in the global North and also West has tended come increase social and ideology system fragmentation and also tension, specifically in cases where the immigrants’ religious beliefs and culture are really different indigenous those that the organize society, wherein immigrants are focused in urban ethnic enclaves, and also where immigrants do not assimilate. Under together conditions, tensions between the majority and minority teams emerge and also intergroup violence becomes more prevalent. Among bulk groups, the visibility of nonassimilating minorities amplifies inner struggles end the meaning of the national cumulative identity, the nation’s core ideology, and also the definition of nationwide interests. In the beforehand 21st century these phenomena were especially evident in conflicts in between the ultranationalist right and the liberal left in Europe and the unified States.

Global capitalism and also neoliberalism

The globalization that production, consumption, and also finance in the so late 20th century and the concurrent growth of wealthy and an effective multinational enterprise has decreased the volume of says to impose nationwide protectionist policies and minimal their capacity to limit the movement of people across their borders. The an international spread the neoliberalism (an ideology and policy version advocating cost-free markets and also minimal state intervention in economic and also social affairs) and the development of international institutions that reinforce this ideology (e.g., the civilization Trade Organization and the worldwide Monetary Fund) have actually undermined the volume of nations to connect in long-term macroeconomic planning and also regulation and to preserve collectivist society welfare regimes. Farming inequality among citizens, increased financial uncertainty, and reduced welfare protection are additional vital aspects that the neoliberal rotate that have led to better political unrest.

Minorities’ an obstacle to nation-based citizenship

In part nation-states, ethnic minorities have tested the traditional model of nation-based citizenship due to the fact that they claim rights based upon principles alternate to citizenship: the is, they rely on worldwide conventions that recognize individual human being rights or the collective rights that minorities and indigenous individuals (some scholars call this phenomenon “postnational citizenship”).

National disintegration

Increasing financial inequality between regions in ~ nation-states and also the increase of identity politics due to the fact that the so late 20th century have actually increased the likelihood of national fragmentation in some countries through the advance of secessionist aspirations amongst some country groups, a phenomenon sometimes dubbed Balkanization. Proof of Balkanization have the right to be observed both in reasonably young nation-states in the postcolonial developing world and also in created Western nation-states v long heritages of republicanism (e.g., the unified Kingdom and also Spain). This kind of struggle might spill over to various other nation-states with the spread of information and also images via international media channels and also the new social media.

Cultural globalization

The complimentary flow the ideas and also information through the Internet, an especially social media, and the increasingly worldwide distribution of customer goods have actually eroded the function of nation-states as producers and disseminators of national ideas, norms, and also tastes, jointly sometimes called “national culture.” In many countries plenty of citizens are typically exposed to cultural materials that comparison with the core ideals that nationalism in that is heyday: collectivism and also sacrifice are tested by individualism, careerism, and hedonism; heroes and also iconic figures emerge not just from national history books but also from the globalized entertain industry; nation-centred comes to for national security and also other concerns now need to compete, ~ above the one hand, with transnational environmental comes to for the future the the planet and also the survival of the whole human race (see worldwide warming) and, top top the various other hand, with secessionist pressures brought about by identity politics.

Global polite society

New social movements and also nongovernmental institutions (NGOs) the highlight concerns such as the rights of native peoples, the civil liberties of sex-related (LGBTQ) decimal (see happy pride), pet rights, and environmentalism current two complementary challenges to nation-states. First, they need that politics conversations within the nation-state it is in expanded beyond the core worries of nationwide politics (i.e., nationwide security and resource distribution or the allocation of publicly goods) come include problems related come the identities and also ways the life of nonnational communities—such as preserving the cultural traditions and languages of country or racial groups and protecting the rights of sex-related minorities—as well as problems related come cosmopolitan ideals (see also cosmopolitanism)—such as widening human rights, developing new modes of participation that cut throughout traditional divisions, and also protecting the environment. Second, such movements and organizations often tend to form transnational coalitions and also to use progressed media technologies to broaden their battles to the public spheres of various other states and to the diffused virtual room in which a global civil culture has emerged. This mode of operation challenges the classic confinement the political battles to the public sphere of individual can be fried states.

Global risks

Environmental difficulties that threaten the survive of humankind, along with the international attention these difficulties have attracted, contrast with the traditional propensity of nation-states come prioritize their particularistic national interests. Transitional social activities (networks that activists indigenous different countries that space committed to act for a typical cause) and also NGOs that emphasis on worldwide issues (currently, especially an international warming) have challenged nation-states in 2 complementary ways: they question the authority of separation, personal, instance nation-states and coalitions that nation-states to make their very own policies concerning environmental problems, and, more generally, castle question national authority chin by discrediting the assumption that national interests must be the dominant principle of plan making in any given country.

Religious extremism

The modern reinvigoration of religious extremism (which some scholars believe to it is in a counterreaction come globalization) poses two species of challenges to nation-states. First, within nation-states, religious extremists threaten interfaith coexistence, and also they an obstacle the organizations that help to maintain ethnic, religious, and also gender diversity with integration, inclusion, and also power sharing. Second, together a force external to nation-states, religious extremism (e.g., the different of Islamic fundamentalism represented by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant ) looks for to change nation-states through theocracies.

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Currently, no various other supranational initiative appears to threaten the supremacy of the nation-state—not also the europe Union, i m sorry operates greatly as a strategic alliance and has not developed a collective identity that can displace the nationwide identities the member states. Accordingly, countless experts think that, in spite of notable challenges, the nation-state will certainly remain, for the foreseeable future, the major model that political-territorial organization and the locus of political power and also authority in the world.