Dugnad Norway

Let Them Do ‘Dugnad’: The Fallacies of the Norwegian Government’s Nationalist Rhetoric During COVID-19

Thera Dal Prà Iversen

Norwegians do not usually claim to be the most patriotic of people. Though Norway is frequently listed as one of the happiest and best countries to live in the world, the Jante Law—a Scandinavian socio-cultural trait that boils down to ‘Do not think you are anyone special’—is often cited as the reason for why Norwegians are not vocal about their nationalist pride. The lack of a vocal nationalism, however, does not mean that there is a lack of cultural traditions from which a national rhetoric can draw. One of the more subdued examples of Norwegian cultural practices is the dugnad, and its importance in shaping Norwegian society cannot be overstated.

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New Perspectives on Nationalism in Spain

Carsten Jacob Humlebæk & Antonia María Ruiz Jiménez

Nations and nationalism, as organisational principles of social life, provide individuals with a sense of who they are and where they belong. While nations are not the only form of community to serve humankind in this manner, they remain privileged due to their relationship with the nation-state, the dominant form of political organisation. The Spanish nation, however, has been contested almost since its earliest existence in the beginning of the nineteenth century and the Spanish nation-state has therefore been involved in almost perpetual conflicts between various nationalisms, particularly between different versions of Spanish nationalism as well as between Spanish majority nationalism and various minority nationalisms.

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Spirit of the law

The Letter and the Spirit of Democracy

Jonathan Hearn

As I begin to write this on 19 October, Michael Gove is speaking for the government in Parliament against the Letwin Amendment, which requires that implementing legislation be passed before the Prime Minister’s ‘Brexit Deal’ is approved by Parliament.  Once again, he gives the refrain that respect for democracy requires that Parliament support a deal, because that’s what the people voted for (by 52%).  

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Dignity and the Modern Nation

Jonathan Hearn

Two things primed me to write a blog about Francis Fukuyama’s new book Identity: Contemporary Identity Politics and the Struggle for Recognition. First, last week I gave a lecture to students on our MSc in Nationalism Studies on the key theoretical ideas of Liah Greenfeld.  I was explaining to them the central role of the expansion of ‘dignity’, from a preserve of aristocratic elites, to a general property of the members of the nation.  Continue reading

Monument destruction and the second death of Yugoslavia

Taylor McConnell

Yugoslavia died in 1991. Or 1992. Or 1995, 1999, 2003, or maybe even 2018, pending the results of the name dispute between Macedonia and Greece. In Croatia, however, Yugoslavia, for all intents and purposes, may as well have never existed, or so many in power hope. The Croatian right has pushed in recent years for a narrative of false equivalence between Yugoslav “totalitarianism” under Josip Broz Tito and fascism, an experience and critical point of memory handled all too haphazardly. Continue reading

The Relevance of Nationalism Today

Jonathan Hearn

Some might argue that the wave of scholarship on nationalism stimulated by decolonisation and subsequently the collapse of the USSR has run its course. Many leading scholars of this era have departed this world—Gellner, Smith, Hobsbawm, Anderson, and Connor.  On the other hand, it is easy to point to current developments—Trump, Brexit, Windrush, Syria, North Korea, China—and argue that nationalism is implicated and still highly relevant, perhaps even resurgent.  Continue reading