International Relations

Reflections on the Enduring Relevance of Religion and Nationalism in the Survival of Modern Nation-States

Michael Magcamit
This paper reflects on the enduring relevance of religion and nationalism in the survival of modern nation-states. I develop a framework that puts these nonrational, nonmaterial cultural sources at the center of the analysis to explain why and how they are relevant to the continued persistence of modern nation-states. The three-track framework introduced here generates conceptual apparatuses that help us understand the processes and dynamics involved, namely: ethnoreligious nationalism, securitized minorities, and sacralized security superstructures. Applying the framework to Southeast Asia, I demonstrate why ethnicized religion and nationalism remain vital to the imagination of contemporary nation-states; and how they are crucial to the construction of structural institutions designed to preserve the conceptual cohesion and material integrity of these units. I conclude that the continuity of modern nation-states has been underwritten by the cultivation of ethnoreligious nationalism, securitization of the ‘threat’ of othered minorities, and sacralization of security superstructures.
Supplementary weblinks
The Divine Tragedy of Securing the Sacred: Religion, Security and Nationalism in Southeast Asia
H2020-EU.1.3.2. - Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility MSCA-IF-2017 - Individual Fellowships MSCA-IF-EF-ST - Standard EF