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Nation

Abstract : Eric Hobsbawm wrote bluntly in 1990: « the last two centuries of the human history of planet Earth are incomprehensible without some understanding of the term ‘nation’ and the vocabulary derived from it ». Because a growing number of authors now refuse to confuse the history of nation and nationalism with that of a Western planetary gesture, associated with a vast movement of secularization, it is necessary to know whether, beyond a universal acceptance of 'homo nationalis', the concept of nation is shared in substance by all those who use it. A lexical heuristic first seeks to identify the time and place of the first elaboration of the concept in its modern meaning. In this sense, the prototype of the North American nation and the classical ideal-types of the “French-style” contract nation and the “German-style” cultural nation are considered at first glance. It is then necessary to free ourselves from these overly reductive categories, to approach two commonly forgotten aspects of Western Modernity: Iberian America and Middle Europe. Don't these laboratories reveal singular meanings of the concept? Finally, it is a question of measuring the degree of adequacy of a western grammar of the nation with cultural areas that have long developed political orders exotic to ours.
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Contributor : Georges Lomné <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, May 8, 2018 - 5:35:00 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, August 23, 2020 - 1:18:48 PM

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Georges Lomné. Nation. Olivier Christin. Dictionnaire des concepts nomades en sciences humaines, 2, Métailié, pp.53-66, 2016, 979-10-226-0454-3. ⟨hal-01788164⟩

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