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Nations and Nationalism, 2nd Edition




Nations and Nationalism, 2nd Edition

Ernest Gellner

ISBN: 978-1-405-13442-2 May 2006 Wiley-Blackwell 208 Pages


This updated edition of Ernest Gellner’s classic exploration of the roots of nationalism includes an extended introduction from John Breuilly, tracing the way the field has changed over the past two decades.
  • As pertinent today as it was when it was first published in 1983.
  • Argues that nationalism is a product of industrialization.
  • The new edition includes references to important work on nationalism published since 1983.

Second Edition not available in the USA.

Series Editor’s Preface.

Introduction by John Breuilly.


1. Definitions.

State and nation.

The nation.

2. Culture in Agrarian Society.

Power and culture in the agro-literature society.

The varieties of agrarian rulers.

3. Industrial Society.

The society of perpetual growth.

Social genetics.

The age of universal high culture.

4. The Transition to an Age of Nationalism.

A note on the weakness of nationalism.

Wild and garden culture.

5. What is a Nation.

The course of true nationalism never did run smooth.

6. Social Entropy and Equality in Industrial Society.

Obstacles to entropy.

Fissures and barriers.

A diversity of focus.

7. A Typology of Nationalisms.

The varieties of nationalist experience.

Diaspora nationalism.

8. The Future of Nationalism.

Industrial culture – one or many?.

9. Nationalism and Ideology.

Who is for Nuremberg?.

One nation, one state.

10. Conclusion.

What is not being said.


Select bibliography.

Bilbliography of Ernest Gellner’s writing: Ian Jarvie.


"Over ten years after his death, Gellner's impact remains unparalleled. We are captivated by the explanatory power of Gellner's crystalline prose enriched by flowing sequences of causations. The reader is typically enchanted by Gellner's logical rigour as if mesmerised by the contemplation of an art masterpiece. We should wonder whether we are dealing with a scholar or with a poet. The answer is probably both." Nations and Nationalism <!--end-->

"Breuilly’s new introduction provides an excellent critical overview of Gellner’s writings on nationalism, judiciously evaluating his ideas while also providing insights into their place and continuing significance within the wider historiography of nationalism studies." Paul Lawrence, The Open University

"Nations and Nationalism has become such an intrinsic part of the standard literature that it is regularly cited by both those who share its views and those who distinguish their approach from Gellner’s."
Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions

"The second edition of this canonical text comes with a compelling Introduction by John Breuilly which revisits Gellner's theory in the light of contemporary debates on nationalism.” Umut Özkýrýmlý, Istanbul Bilgi University

reviews of the first edition:

"Brilliant, provocative ... a great book." New Statesman

"An important book ... a new starting line from which all subsequent discussions of nationalism will have to begin." New Society

"A better explanation than anyone has yet offered of why nationalism is such a prominent principle of political legitimacy today ... a terse and forceful work ... the product of great intellectual energy and an impressive range of knowledge." Times Literary Supplement

"Gellner's short book is an incisive, penetrating and persuasive discussion of how the nation-states of the modern industrial world differ from earlier states ... Gellner uses this analysis to explain the force of nationalism in the modern world." International Security

"Gellner's range is wide, covering the ideas of some modern thinkers from Marx, Malinowski and Carr to heideggar, Hroch, Havel and Said." Race and Class

  • New edition of Ernest Gellner’s classic text on nationalism.

  • As pertinent today as it was when it was first published in 1983.

  • Argues that nationalism is an integral feature of modernity, especially of industrialism.

  • The new edition includes a substantial introduction by John Breuilly, Professor of Nationalism and Ethnicity at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

  • This new introduction traces and evaluates the ways in which the field has changed over the past two decades.

  • The new edition includes references to important work on nationalism published since 1983.