State and Majority Nationalism in Plurinational States: Responding to Challenges Below
This Special Issue is the result of an ongoing academic conversation about state and majority nationalism. It began with an Economic Social and Research Council (ESRC)-funded workshop of the same title which took place at the Centre on Constitutional Change in Edinburgh in February 2019. Over 2 days, participants engaged in detailed discussions of our understanding of state and majority nationalism in theory and practice, with contributions about states around the world. At the conclusion of the workshop, we agreed on a common starting point for the papers and revisions have reflected these discussions. This Special Issue offers a selection of these contributions.
The aim of this Special Issue is to advance the academic conversation in nationalism studies and territorial politics around political dynamics in plurinational states. We adopt an exploratory approach: as we consider that the state perspective has not yet received sustained attention, we have granted authors more space and freedom to develop their contributions building on shared minimal definitions which they explore in several cases. We have been bold about case selection, offering a combination of some of the “usual suspects” in Western Europe and North America (the UK, Spain and Canada) with relevant cases in Asia (India and China). The study of this phenomenon in more diverse cases aims at contributing to the understanding and refinement of state and majority nationalism as concepts. While there are obvious and significant differences between the cases in democratic development, types of internal challenges, historical trajectories and geopolitical considerations, all are manifestations of state or majority nationalism responding to pressures from below and are worthy of further study.
Thus, this Special Issue resonates with the growing literature focused on state and majority perspectives in contexts of national pluralism and nationalist disputes We contend that state elites’ national projects, conceptions of the state and territorial strategies are critical to understanding political dynamics in these cases.