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Last modified: 28 Jun 2018 10:27

Course Overview

Nationalism is one of the most powerful forces in modern politics but one of the most difficult to understand. The course addresses theories of nationalism, including primordial and modernist approaches and more recent syntheses. It addresses normative questions about the relationship of nationalism to democracy, social solidarity and conflict. These theoretical perspectives are complemented by a study of cases of nationalism across Europe.  There is a strong emphasis on combining theory with cases and on the historical context of nationalism. Students are encouraged to explore cases, and there is a strong focus on in-class discussion.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Professor Michael Keating

Qualification Prerequisites


What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • One of International Relations (IR) (Studied) or Politics (PI) (Studied) or MA European Studies (Studied)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Nationalism is one of the most powerful forces in modern politics. Its death has been pronounced many times but it always seems to return, in the United Kingdom, across Europe and in the world at large. Theories of nationalism range from the primordialists, who see it as a product of deep forces in the human psyche and history, to modernists who insist that it is the fruit of modernization and subject to construction and change. Evaluations range from the condemnation of those who see in it nothing but manipulation and aggression to those who argue for it as an essential underpinning to the liberal democratic polity and social solidarity. We will explore these issues in a comparative perspective, considering the principal theories and examining instances of nationalism in practice.

Further Information & Notes

Available only to students in Politics OR International Relations degrees.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st attempt: 3 hour examination (60%); in-course assessment (40%).

Formative Assessment


Written feedback will be provided for continuous assessment work. This will normally be provided within three weeks of the submission date. Oral feedback on class presentations will also be provided where appropriate.

Course Learning Outcomes


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