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Anthony D. Smith revisited in light of the relational turn

Frödin, Olle (2003)
Sociology
Abstract
The divide between the two major paradigms within the scientific study of nationalism, modernism and ethnosymbolism, has increased recently. A significant theoretical shift in the study of nationalism, the relational turn, has undermined the analytical treatment of nations as substantial entities and postmodernist scholars drawing from the modernist paradigm and the relational approach have rejected the ethnosymbolist school of thought and particularly its leading proponent, Anthony D. Smith. The purpose of this study was therefore to demonstrate the compatibility of ethnosymbolism and the relational approach, and to criticise the current postmodernist understanding of Smith's ethnosymbolist theory. In this essay I have argued that the... (More)
The divide between the two major paradigms within the scientific study of nationalism, modernism and ethnosymbolism, has increased recently. A significant theoretical shift in the study of nationalism, the relational turn, has undermined the analytical treatment of nations as substantial entities and postmodernist scholars drawing from the modernist paradigm and the relational approach have rejected the ethnosymbolist school of thought and particularly its leading proponent, Anthony D. Smith. The purpose of this study was therefore to demonstrate the compatibility of ethnosymbolism and the relational approach, and to criticise the current postmodernist understanding of Smith's ethnosymbolist theory. In this essay I have argued that the postmodernists considered leave out several crucial aspects of the various historical trajectories and expressions of nationalist, ethnic or religious upsurge. I also wanted to show how it is possible to avoid further misinterpretations of ethnosymbolism. I presented the major features of Anthony D. Smith's theory of ethnicity and nationalism through his own work, and some of the major postmodernist criticism of Smith. The postmodernist critics claim that Smith's theorisation is founded on essentialist assumptions and that it is contradictory to the relational approach. I have argued that this criticism is based on a number of misinterpretations of Smith's theory. I then suggested that Smith's conception of the nation could be seen as a habitus, embedded in a matrix of narratives and discourses. As a way to avoid further misunderstandings of ethnosymbolism, I have proposed a marked distinction between ethnic or national habituses and nationalist discourses. This implies that a pre-existing ethnic habitus can be exploited by a nationalist discourse. I have finally argued that Smith's ethnosymbolist approach continues to be valid and highly relevant, as it mindful of a wide range of historical trajectories of nationalism. Key words: Ethnicity, Nationalism, Habitus, Discourse, Narrative, Ethnosymbolism, Anthony D. Smith (Less)
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author
Frödin, Olle
supervisor
organization
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
Sociology, Sociologi
language
English
id
1355386
date added to LUP
2004-11-08 00:00:00
date last changed
2011-05-12 15:48:37
@misc{1355386,
  abstract     = {The divide between the two major paradigms within the scientific study of nationalism, modernism and ethnosymbolism, has increased recently. A significant theoretical shift in the study of nationalism, the relational turn, has undermined the analytical treatment of nations as substantial entities and postmodernist scholars drawing from the modernist paradigm and the relational approach have rejected the ethnosymbolist school of thought and particularly its leading proponent, Anthony D. Smith. The purpose of this study was therefore to demonstrate the compatibility of ethnosymbolism and the relational approach, and to criticise the current postmodernist understanding of Smith's ethnosymbolist theory. In this essay I have argued that the postmodernists considered leave out several crucial aspects of the various historical trajectories and expressions of nationalist, ethnic or religious upsurge. I also wanted to show how it is possible to avoid further misinterpretations of ethnosymbolism. I presented the major features of Anthony D. Smith's theory of ethnicity and nationalism through his own work, and some of the major postmodernist criticism of Smith. The postmodernist critics claim that Smith's theorisation is founded on essentialist assumptions and that it is contradictory to the relational approach. I have argued that this criticism is based on a number of misinterpretations of Smith's theory. I then suggested that Smith's conception of the nation could be seen as a habitus, embedded in a matrix of narratives and discourses. As a way to avoid further misunderstandings of ethnosymbolism, I have proposed a marked distinction between ethnic or national habituses and nationalist discourses. This implies that a pre-existing ethnic habitus can be exploited by a nationalist discourse. I have finally argued that Smith's ethnosymbolist approach continues to be valid and highly relevant, as it mindful of a wide range of historical trajectories of nationalism. Key words: Ethnicity, Nationalism, Habitus, Discourse, Narrative, Ethnosymbolism, Anthony D. Smith},
  author       = {Frödin, Olle},
  keyword      = {Sociology,Sociologi},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Anthony D. Smith revisited in light of the relational turn},
  year         = {2003},
}