In advanced democracies all across the world, the emergence and resurgence of nationalist parties has lead to a renewed scholarly interest in the origins of nationalism in democratic politics. Andreas Wimmer has made a long and distinguished career researching these topics. Wimmer will share findings from his latest book Nation Building: Why Some Countries Come Together While Others Fall Apart (Princeton University Press, 2018).
In Nation Building, Wimmer explores the historical conditions under which nation building has succeeded and failed. Why is political integration achieved in some diverse countries, while others are destabilized by exclusionary regimes prone to separatism and ethnic war? Traversing centuries and continents, Nation Building delves into the slow-moving forces that encourage political alliances to stretch across ethnic divides and build inclusive coalitions: the early spread of civil society organizations, language assimilation, and a states’ capacity to provide public goods. Further deepening political integration, citizens of inclusive states will embrace the idea of the nation as a community of shared historical origin and future political destiny. In discussing the different ways in which national contracts between rulers and the ruled have emerged, Wimmer will offer new ways to think about the challenges, facing advanced democracies today.