Embodied Nationalism: Nations, States, Emotions

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While theoretical talk of globalization and cosmopolitanism was a significant feature of the late 20th century, the beginnings of this century have and continue to be dominated by a resurgence in nationalism and nationalist discourse. This has taken a multitude of forms, and is evident in both popular and political registers. This resurgence has been mirrored in academic work, from across the social sciences, including political sociology (e.g. Bonikowski, 2016; Malešević, 2019), and the emergent political sociology of emotions (Berezin, 2002; Scheff, 2000; Holmes, 2004; Demertzis, 2013; Heaney & Flam, 2013). Here, a new generation of scholars have reopened the question, going beyond the once-dominant top down ‘nationalism as ideology’ approaches to consider more bottom-up perspectives that characterize nationalism as a form of practice (Brubaker, 2004), combining both cognitive and affective orientations to the social world, and involving a more tacit and everyday forms of acculturation and reproduction (Fox & Miller-Idriss, 2008). In this paper I wish to address the endurance and tenacity of nationalism through the development of a concept of ‘embodied nationalism’. This perspective, which draws on previous work (Heaney, 2013), aims to combine key positions on embodiment (a literature that is somewhat silent on the notion of nations), and the sociology of emotions, whilst also accounting for the key role of the (emotional) state in the attempt to (de)legitimize specific versions of nationness within the polity. The case of Ireland will be used to illuminate key points
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted - 2019
Event14th European Sociological Association Conference 2019 - Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 20 Aug 201923 Aug 2019


Conference14th European Sociological Association Conference 2019
Abbreviated titleESA 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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