Research topic: Nationalism and Nation-building
“Nation” is a term with several layers of meaning. Historically, the early focal point centred around social and, not least, cultural identity, and this thinking was the setting for the rise of nationalism in Europe from the late 1700s.
Nationalism is a political ideology based on the principle that nations should have a state of their own; and this ideology underlay the unification of states such as Germany and Italy, as well as a range of other nationalist and patriotic movements. The goal was the establishment of sovereign nation states.
Since the 1980s, nationalism has been on the upswing in Europe, which has found expression in the establishment of many nation states in the former communist unions of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. These events have led many to think about what nationalism really is. What is a nation? How old are the national communities and how did they come into being? How is one to define national identities? What is the relationship between nations and ethnic groups?