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