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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.20

Nationalism: from Fantasy to Reality


  • Dr. Aleksandar BOSKOVIC

Primary authors


Contrary to Gellner's (and many of his contemporaries) view, nationalism did not lost its hold or prominence in contemporary world. Quite on the contrary, it seems that it is gaining strength with new populist movements in Europe and other parts of the world. Both the left and the right, it seems are trying to exploit its undeniable charm. As put by Kapferer some years ago, ""How nationalist discourse develops as a humanly destructive force is an empirical matter and demands an interrogation of nationalist arguments and how they became vital in political and social dynamics giving rise to the force and shape of their violence"" (2012: xiv). The paper will explore possible reasons for this development, looking at the strength of myths on the one hand, as well as at communication technologies on the other. Nationalism influences and shapes ideology by providing important symbolic markers that allow members of the society to focus their anxieties and experience a sense of unity (Billig 1995, Eriksen 2010, Jenkins 1994). It also helps members of a society to form what is sometimes called the ‘ethnonational bond’ (Connor 1993), or ‘ethnonational mobilization’ (Iveković 2000). This ‘bond’ then serves to create a feeling of belonging to a shared community. Despite potential fallacies in the process of reaching this unity, the experience is real, and so are its consequences – and thus it is very important to comprehend the mechanisms that shape the public opinion when it comes to particular cases (Kapferer 2012: 90 ff).