International Relations

International Relations

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

Michael Magcamit Author ORCID home | opens in new tab Queen Mary University of London


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.

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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


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