Compared with most other ideologies nationalism is theoretically thin. Indeed Freeden (1998) questions whether it is an ideology. The concepts of ‘nation’ and ‘nationality’ have not much exercised political theorists (but see Barker and Miller in Kelly, 2010). Yet if ideologies are ‘ action oriented’, nationalism has demonstrably influenced political behaviour, over the last two centuries especially. Men and women have been prepared to die for their nation, and to kill for it. Although some argue that globalization renders the nation state obsolete, nationalism continues to confound predictions of its imminent demise, retaining and even increasing its appeal in advanced industrial or post industrial countries, in former communist states and in the developing world. Within the United Kingdom national identities are complex and shifting, with potentially profound implications for the very boundaries of the state.
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