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