‘In our modern age, nationalism is not resurgent; it never died’, quipped Isaiah Berlin in an interview he gave back in 1991, at the height of ethnic and nationalist clashes triggered by the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet bloc (Gardels 1991). Curiously enough, this was also the time when several commentators had been predicting an imminent demise of both the nation-state and nationalism under conditions of increasing globalization, in fact ‘the end of history’ as such, ‘the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government’ (Fukuyama 1989: 4). Hegelian in spirit and reminiscent of the modernization theories of the 1950s and 1960s which portrayed the West as the model that the ‘rest’ would emulate, this talk of the end of history was no more than empty rhetoric for those caught up in the maelstrom of ethnic and nationalist violence in much of the world, including the so-called civilized, liberal democratic West – not to mention the less visible yet equally powerful forms of everyday nationalism which have continued to structure the way we make sense of social and political reality.
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