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In other words whereas the early scholarship was largely unsystematic and often lacking conceptual rigour Smith, Gellner and Anderson produced series of books that provided the sociological foundations for the theoretical and comparative study of the rise and transformation of nations and nationalisms. Among these three giants of nationalism studies Smith was distinct in a sense that his entire lifework was devoted almost solely to the study of nationhood.

Hence while for Gellner and Anderson nationalism was only a segment of their broader theories of modernity for Smith ethnicity and nationhood were the cornerstones of most historical processes. Furthermore unlike Anderson and Gellner who focused mostly on developing their own theoretical frameworks Smith also built the organisational foundations of this research field.

He has done more than anybody else in making the interdisciplinary field of nationalism studies a viable and highly vibrant endeavour. In addition to being the driving force behind these activities Smith has also contributed substantially towards shaping this research field with his influential typologies, taxonomies and critical commentaries on the leading theories and theorists. Anthony Smith was born on 23 September in London.

He grew up in the lower middle class Jewish family. His father, a Londoner of humble background and no formal education, became relatively successful businessman.

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His mother was originally from the middle class German Jewish family of Wiesbaden. Nevertheless both of his parents had strong family roots in Poland and as Smith later found out more than 80 members of his wider family died in the Holocaust. Smith often emphasised the importance of this family history in his decision to study nationalism. Moreover the personal encounters with anti-Semitism in the primary and secondary education of the post-WWII England made Smith very sensitive to issues of cultural and religious difference. This early experience influenced him for the rest of his life.

I remember well when on one occasion we were discussing the concept of English gentleman and I remarked that to me he was the quintessential English gentleman and he replied that he is only British and could never identify as English! As a diligent student Smith won scholarship to study Classics at Oxford.


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In this first phase of his academic development Smith, just like Gellner, was a staunch modernist focused on demonstrating that nations are not ancient but were the contingent product of modern social conditions. In a similar vein to Gellner Smith also emphasised that nationalism as an ideology of political legitimacy appears quite late in human history, developing mostly as a secular replacement for the religious authority of premodern world. Where early Smith differed from Gellner is in his downplaying of economic factors in the origin and reproduction of nationhood while underlining the role of modern Weberian state and the new intellectual strata in forging a sense of nationhood.

Instead of political variables, modernity and organisational discontinuity Smith articulates a new theory of nations and nationalism that centres on culture, tradition and historical continuity. This theory was later dubbed ethno-symbolism. Hence unlike Gellner, Anderson and other modernists who insist that nationhood could not exist in the pre-modern world — as there were no structural conditions nor instrumental reason for individuals to identify in such terms — Smith argues that nations have strong and deep cultural roots.

Although he remains in agreement with the modernists that nationalism only makes sense under modern conditions he is also adamant that many nations have developed out of shared cultural traditions often shaped around commemorations of the common myths and memories. Hence he distinguishes between ethnies pre-modern cultural forms and nations modern articulations of cultural belonging and attempts to show how the myths of shared common descent help sustain ethnies and nations as communities of destiny.

Smith argued that although not all modern nations have discernible cultural roots ethnies many in fact do and that finding has profound sociological implications. The argument draws on a wide range of examples from historic landscapes in Ireland, Switzerland, and Egypt, myths of Arthurian Britain, Holy Russia, and Byzantium, through memories of a 'Golden Age', to the modern commemoration of the 'Glorious Dead', and of victims of war. Nationalism in the twentieth century by Anthony D Smith Book 29 editions published between and in 3 languages and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide Why has nationalism become one of the most powerful and widespread political forces of our century?

And why has the national ideal triumphed over its rivals?

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In this book, Dr. Anthony Smith explores its fundamental and enduring appeal in the modern world, by systematically comparing nationalism with other ideologies like millennialism, fascism, racism and communism. Nationalism, he argues, flourishes today because of the pressures and effects of modern conditions on ancient ethnic ties and sentiments. Far from dissipating these mass sentiments, as one might have expected, modern bureaucracy, science and internationalism have only inflamed them, causing many to protest against their impersonal rationalism. At the same time, nationalism is revealed as an infinitely flexible and adaptable political movement.

Unlike communism, racism or fascism, it is not tied to specific dogmas, classes, periods or countries.

The Cultural Foundations of Nations

Nationalism can accommodate itself to the most diverse social backgrounds and contrasting environments, and appear as their natural outgrowth. Everywhere its propagators among the intelligentsia have used it to secure the often passionate, but always enduring, support of different classes among their compatriots. So varied in its forms, so easy to identify with the tasks of modernisation, and so indispensable as an instrument for mobilising all kinds of people, nationalism can frequently absorb rival movements like communism or racism, without losing its basic vision or profoundly practical momentum.

Hence it is unlikely to wither away. Even in the heavily industrialised states of the West with their well-educated citizenry, ethnic nationalism has recently experienced a resurgence. Having overcome the challenges of communism and fascism in our century to a very considerable extent, nationalism today is built into the fabric of the international order. Both in the West and in the developing countries, the national ideal is likely to command men's loyalties for the foreseeable future. Theories of nationalism by Anthony D Smith Book 28 editions published between and in English and Undetermined and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide.

The ethnic origins of nations by Anthony D Smith Book 52 editions published between and in English and Japanese and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide "How and when did nations emerge? Are they purely modern phenomena? This wide-ranging book examines their social and historical roots and the main features of contemporary national identity.

Rejecting older views which saw nations as immemorial and recent theories which regard them as products of modern capitalism and industrialism, Anthony D. Smith presents an original interpretation that traces their genealogy to premodern ethnic foundations. In the first part of the book the author offers an extensive investigation of different types of ethnic communities, myths and resistance movements. He shows how important inter-state warfare and organized religion have been for maintaining durable ethnic communities, drawing on many examples from the ancient world and medieval Europe.

In the second part of the book, Dr Smith examines the formation and features of modern nations, and shows how they have been reconstructed by intelligentsias from older ethnic ties and sentiments. The Ethnic Origins of Nations is analytical, informative and broadly comparative.


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The author argues that modern nations--a fusion of premodern ethnic identities and modern 'civic' elements--require the symbols, myths and memories of ethnic cores if they are to generate a sense of solidarity and purpose in a secular era; and that the intense conflicts created by contemporary ethnic nationalisms will continue unabated until there is greater appreciation of the inner 'antiquity' of many modern nations. The nation in history : historiographical debates about ethnicity and nationalism by Anthony D Smith Book 19 editions published between and in English and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide "In this new book, Anthony Smith analyses key debates between historians and social scientists on the role of nations and nationalism in history.

Drawing on a wide range of examples from antiquity and the medieval epoch, as well as the modern world, he develops a distinctive ethnosymbolic account of nations and nationalism. Nations and nationalism in a global era by Anthony D Smith Book 22 editions published between and in English and Italian and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide This book provides an original approach to the study of nationalism of relevance to the current debates concerning the nation state and its anticipated demise and to the debates concerning panEuropeanism.

Social change : social theory and historical processes by Anthony D Smith Book 11 editions published between and in English and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide.

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Ethno-symbolism and nationalism : a cultural approach by Anthony D Smith Book 16 editions published between and in English and Korean and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide This text provides a concise explanation of an ethno-symbolic approach to the study of nations and nationalism and simultaneously embodies a general statement of Anthony D. Smith's contribution to this approach and its application to the central issues of nations and nationalism. The nation made real : art and national identity in Western Europe, by Anthony D Smith Book 11 editions published in in English and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide What role did visual artists play in the emergence and spread of nationalism and a sense of national identity?

Focusing on late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century Britain and France, this original study in the historical sociology of nations and nationalism analyses the contributions of artists in these and other West European countries to the creation of memorable images of the abstract concept of the nation. By employing different modes of depiction for conveying moral lessons, evoking the atmosphere of the homeland, and commemorating the fallen in battle, David, Ingres, Turner, Constable, and Friedrich, as well as a host of lesser artists, were able to make the national idea appear palpable and accessible, and the abstract concept of the nation seem 'authentic' and 'real'.

After a brief description of the main themes of the visual record of Dutch nation-building in the seventeenth century, Anthony D. Smith presents an original comparative analysis of the rise of 'national art' in eighteenth-century Britain and France. Nationalist movements by A.

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D Smith Book 10 editions published between and in English and Undetermined and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide. Audience Level. Related Identities.