Nation-builders have long worked to maintain popular loyalty and legitimacy, but the combination of individuals’ heightened mobility, global technologies and regional integration has put extra pressure on neatly bordered constructions of the nation-state. The cosmopolitan challenge has thus lent a new immediacy to the tension between globalisation and the ‘modern conception’ of the sovereign state, which has been described as ‘fully, flatly, and evenly operative over each square centimetre of a legally demarcated territory’ (Anderson 1991, 19). For instance, many post-communist states have found the transnational dimensions of twenty-first-century nation-building to be qualitatively different from the relative introspection of the Cold War (Duara 2009, 36). In other cases, postcolonial states relatively late in achieving independence were quickly confronted with the impact of global trade and other flows on their fledgling nation-building strategies. Still others, like India and China, have led the way in detaching nation-building from the strict confines of the territorial state by seeking to involve their national diaspora in the country’s modernisation and development (Barabantseva & Sutherland 2011). Ironically, new conceptions of ‘post-nationalism’ and ‘post-sovereignty’ seem to echo pre-Westphalian polities, or ‘the older imagining, where states were defined by centres [and] borders were porous and indistinct’ (Anderson 1991, 19).
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