A-17/18 The Nation as Propertied Community – the emergence of nationalism in the US and Norway

This article engages in the debate about the origins and nature of nationalism. The argument is a modernist one, but it qualifies this narrative by focusing on landed property rights as the basis for the emergence and development of nationalism. The argument complements Ernest Gellner's theory of nationalism by suggesting that nationalism was at first a landed agrarian phenomenon which later became ideologically functional to industrial society due to its property assumptions. A historical‐sociological comparative analysis of land rights and national development in the United States and Norway between 1770 and 1884 forms the basis of the argument. The key point is that nationalism emerged as a consequence of the emergence of the more widespread individual ownership of land, which spawned the idea of national popular sovereignty. This original connection to property rights made nationalism ideologically functional for industrial society. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, vol 18 (3)

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