Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Nationalism is one of the most difficult and contested concepts in social science. There are fundamental disagreements on its definition, origins, historical location, and normative status. This entry examines the concept of nationalism and explores these disagreements on how it should be understood. In a very general sense, nationalism implies a strong attachment to the nation as a human collective. In the social sciences, however, it tends to be defined more strictly as the belief that the nation should form the basis for political order. At one time, it was common to define it as a movement in search of its own state or to extend the reach and power of an existing state. In recent years, it has been recognized that nationalists may pursue other forms of polity, including that of their own decentralized or federal region. Attention has also extended from nationalisms seeking to change the political order ...