BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

Modern formation, ethnic reformation: the social sources of the American nation

Kaufmann, Eric P. (2002) Modern formation, ethnic reformation: the social sources of the American nation. Geopolitics 7 (2), pp. 99-120. ISSN 1465-0045.


Download (135kB) | Preview
Official URL:


The question, 'When is the nation?', ranks second in importance only to the related query, 'Why is the nation?' in the contemporary social science and humanities literature on nationalism. This issue is confronted by this essay, which considers Anthony Smith's important perennialist-modernist dichotomy through the lens of the American experience. Along the way, it will address the related but independent question of whether nations are 'top-down' artefacts constructed by the modern state, or 'bottom-up' social formations generated by ethnic groups within civil society. The importance of this theoretical question lies not merely with the antiquarian interest in how our world system of nations emerged, but with the more pressing question of why it is persistently re-created, and, for idealists, how it may be superseded.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a preprint of an article whose final form has been published in Geopolitics © 2002 copyright Taylor & Francis. This article was written while the author was based at the University of Southampton.
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): nationalism, America, United States, wasp ethnicity, theory Of nationalism, colonial American history, loyalism, Brittanic nationalism
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Politics
Depositing User: Sandra Plummer
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2007
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:33

Archive Staff Only (login required)

Edit/View Item Edit/View Item