International Relations

Nationalism and Conflict: How do Variations of Nationalism affect Variations in Domestic and International Conflict?



This paper advances a novel theoretical framework for explaining the emergence of international and domestic conflicts. I argue that nationalism plays a major role in the rise of these conflicts. Yet, nationalism is not monolithic. I distinguish among five types of nationalism (liberal; stateless; consolidating; irredentist; populist). The variations in the type of nationalism explain variations in peace and conflict. The explanation of the variations of types of nationalism, in turn, is based on the combined effect of variations in state capacity and also national congruence (the congruence between national identities and state borders). Thus, national congruence and high capacity produce liberal nationalism and a peaceful state. In contrast, national incongruence and low capacity lead to stateless nationalism and thus to civil wars in failed states. High capacity and national incongruence produce irredentist-revisionist nationalism, leading to war-prone inter-state conflicts. High capacity and declining congruence generate nationalist-populism and societal polarization.


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