Deciphering the modern Janus: societal multiplicity and nation-formation

Matin, Kamran (2019) Deciphering the modern Janus: societal multiplicity and nation-formation. Globalizations. ISSN 1474-7731

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Abstract

How to theorize the nation’s Janus-like form, its simultaneous modernity and antiquity? This paper provides an original answer to this longstanding question. It argues that nations arise from the interaction of ‘societal multiplicity’ and the expansionist tendency of historical capitalism. The emergence of capitalism super-adds a modern inflection to the inherently relational process of collective identity formation by generating modern sovereignty as an abstract form of rule. Crucially however, just like its emergence, capitalism’s expansion also refracts through societal multiplicity. Non-capitalist societies are therefore pressured into ‘nationalist’ projects of emulative self-preservation in which the nation’s political form (i.e. the sovereign state) is forged before its sociological content (i.e. primitive accumulation). Thus, the original site of this process, France, produced the modular nation-form that unlike Britain’s imperial nationhood could be globalised. The paper therefore shows that IR’s premise of multiplicity may be the key to one of social sciences’ most enduring puzzles.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Benedict Anderson; international relations; nationalism; nation; societal multiplicity; uneven and combined development
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Research Centres and Groups: Centre for Advanced International Theory
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0481 Theory. Method. Relations to other subjects
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0481 Theory. Method. Relations to other subjects > HM0487 Historical sociology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0711 Groups and organisations
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0831 Social change
J Political Science > JC Political theory. The state. Theories of the state > JC131 Modern state
J Political Science > JC Political theory. The state. Theories of the state > JC311 Nationalism. Nation state
J Political Science > JC Political theory. The state. Theories of the state > JC327 Sovereignty
J Political Science > JC Political theory. The state. Theories of the state > JC348 Forms of the state
J Political Science > JZ International relations
J Political Science > JZ International relations > JZ0024 Societies, associations, academies, institutes, etc., for the study of international relations
Depositing User: Kamran Matin
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 09:31
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 11:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/87611

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