Ernest Gellner, The Rights of Nations: Nations and Nationalism (Oxford: Blackwell 1983) - &c.

‘Nationalist invents nations where they do not exist’ (Thought and Change, 1964, Chap. 7, p.18; quoted in Anthony D. Smith, ‘Social and Religious Origins of Nations’, in Clarke & Jones, op. cit., p.26; also in David Archer, ‘The Ethical Status of Nationality’, in Desmond M. Clarke & Charles Jones, eds., The Rights of Nations: Nations and Nationalism in a Changing World, Cork UP 1999, p.162.)

Nations and Nationalism (1983)

See also Ernest Gellner, ‘The Mightier Pen: The Double Standards of Inside-Out Colonialism’, in Times Literary Supplement, 19 Feb. 1993, pp.3-4 - In “Classroom / Postcolonial Fiction”, infra.

‘But nationalism is not the awakening of an old, latent, dormant force, though that is how it does indeed present itself. It is in reality the consequence of a new model of social organisation, based on deeply internalised education-dependent high cultures, each protected by its own state.’ (p.48; quoted in Desmond M. Clarke & Charles Jones, eds., The Rights of Nations: Nations and Nationalism in a Changing World, Cork UP 1999, Introduction, p.7.)

‘Nationalism is a theory of political legitimacy, [9] which requires that ethnic boundaries should not cut across political ones, and, in particular, that ethnic boundaries with a given state [...] should not separate the power-holders from the rest.’ (Ibid., p.1; Clarke & Jones, op. cit., pp.9-10.)

‘It is nationalism which engenders nations and not the other way around.’ (Ibid., p.55.)

‘National ideology suffers from pervasive false consciousness. Its myths invert reality: it claims to defend folk culture while in fact it is forging a high culture; it claims to protect an old folk society while in fact helping to build up an anonymous mass society [...] It preaches and defends cultural diversity, when in fact it imposes homogeneity both inside and, to a lesser extent, between political units.’ (Ibid., 124-25.)

[All the foregoing quoted in Desmond M. Clarke & Charles Jones, eds., The Rights of Nations: Nations and Nationalism in a Changing World, Cork UP 1999, Introduction, p.7-10.]

‘We cannot read ... into the revolutionary “nation” anything like the latter nationalist programme of establishing nation-states for bodies defined in terms of the criteria so hotly debated by the nineteenth-century theorists, such as ethnicity, common language, religion, territory and common historical memories. (Nations and Nationalism, p.20; quoted in Marjorie Howes, Yeats’s Nations: Gender, Class, and Irishness, Cambridge UP 1996, p.7.)

‘[The modern nation-state] is above all the protector not of a faith, but of a culture and a maintainer of the inescapably homogeneous and standardising educational system, which alone can turn out the kind of personnel capable of switching from one jiob to another within a growing economy and a mobile society, and indeed of performing jobs which involve manipulating meanings and people rather than things. For most of these men, however, [92] the limits of their culture are the limits, not perhaps of the world, but of their own employability and hence dignity.’ (Nations and Nationalism, p.110; quoted in Yael Tamir, ’The Age of Atonement’, in Clarke & Jones, op. cit., pp.90-91.)

‘[The economy] needs both the new type of central culture and the central state; the culture needs the state; and the state probably needs the homogeneous cultural branding of its flock, in a situation in whic it cannot rely on largely eroded sub-groups either to police its citizens, or to inspire them with that minimum of moral zeal and social identification without which social life becomes very difficult.' (Idem.; Tamir, pp.91-92.)

‘[T]he essence of nationalism is [a] political principle, whch holds that the political and national unit should be congruent.’ (Nations and Nationalism, Oxford: Blackwell 1983, p.1.)

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Encounters with Nationalism (Oxford: Blackwell 1994)
[Preface:] ‘Agrarian society indeed largely a stable system of ascribed statuses: but culture, with its richly differentiated and almost endless nuances […] to underwrite, render visible and reinforce those statuses’ but that this does not create wide-ranging bonds and does not underwrite political boundaries. By comparison, modern man makes his own position no by a single contract but by a multiplicity of minor contracts … in order to negotiate and articulate these contracts, he must speak in the same idiom as his numerous partners. A large, anonymous and mobile mass of individuals, negotiating countless contracts with each other, is obliged to share a culture. They must learn to follow the same rules in articulating their terms … a shared, standardising culture indicates the eligibility and ability of participants to take part in this open [vii] market of negotiable, specific statuses, to be effective members of the same collectivity. So a shared (.i.e., one whose members have been trained by an educational system to formulate and understand context-free messages in a shared idiom) high culture becomes enormously important. It is no longer the privilege of a limited clerical or legal stratum; instead it is a precondition of any social participation at all, of moral citizenship.

  It is this new importance of a shared culture which makes men into nationalists: the congruence between their own culture and that of the political, economic and educational bureaucracies which surround them, becomes the most important single fact of their lives. […] their first political concern must be that they are members of a political unit which identifies with their idiom, ensures it perpetuation, employment, defence. That is what nationalism is.

  Yet nationalism is not the only character on the ideological scene. Men are or are not nationalists, but they also have their attitudes to religion, to traditional institutions, to the imperative of economic development, to the issues of the availability of universal truth or, on the contrary, the validity of relative local truths. Positions adopted on these issues can be combined with nationalism, or be in conflict with it, in a wide variety of ways. They have their elective affinities and repugnancies, but there is more than one pattern of alignment. (pp.vii-viii.)

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