ISSJ - N° 192 - Dilemmas in Nation-Building

June 2008

Editorial advisers: Jerome Braun and George J. McCall

It is often considered that every State ought to be a “nation-state” in the sense that its geographical borders ought to correspond roughly to the boundaries of some ethnically, religiously, linguistically or culturally defined population. Such correspondence is not typically given prior to the state, nor is it a process that unfolds as a more or less mechanical consequence of the existence of the State. Rather, it is a self-conscious project. It is a familiar finding from comparative research that such “nation-building” does not always work and that the attempt to pursue it may have consequences up to and including genocide. In which circumstances, then, is nation-building a viable project? The papers collected in the dossier of this issue explore the connections between civic and civil society and their implications, particularly in light of contemporary processes of globalization that place traditional modes of nation-building largely out of reach.

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