“Race” and Nationalism. Towards the “Racialization” of a Nation

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Popular understandings of nationalism confine it to xenophobia which affects nationalism’s relation to the “race”. Meanwhile, the acceptance of a broader understanding of nationalism facilitates a deeper analysis of the race–nationalism relations. A wider anthropological perspective enables the interpre­tation of the phenomenon of nation’s “racialization” – a specific type of esentialization which refers to nature and/or culture. Perceiving a nation in biological terms – often in the form of kinship bonds – ex­ists in both the nationalist rhetoric and the scientific discourses of the primordialistic (for instance, so­cio-biological) field of study. References to (the metaphoric) common ancestry constitute an important component of ethno-nationalisms. However, the contrasting of the “racist” nationalism and “open” so­cial nationalism seems inappropriate. A blind reliance on Hans Kohn’s dichotomy causes an oversight of the cases in which western nationalism ties with cultural racism.

Keywords: race, nationalism, racialization, nation, racism, ethnicity, Pierre van den Berghe, Hans Kohn

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