The descent of nations: social evolutionary theory, modernism and ethno‐symbolism

Journal article


Kerr, William 2019. The descent of nations: social evolutionary theory, modernism and ethno‐symbolism. Nations and Nationalism. 25 (1), pp. 104-123. https://doi.org/10.1111/nana.12426
AuthorsKerr, William
Abstract

This article explores the use of a revised conception of social evolutionary theory towards an understanding of nationalism. First, I review the debate between ethno‐symbolism and modernism, through the lens of the Warwick Debate between Gellner and Smith, arguing that both are partly right. Secondly, I outline what the revised conception of social evolution is looking first at its traditional conception before outlining a Darwinian view of social evolutionary theory. Finally, I examine how Darwinian social evolutionary theory can help fruitfully bring the ethno‐symbolic and modernist perspectives together. This is done by a sustained engagement primarily with the theories of Anthony Smith and Ernest Gellner pointing to how Darwinian social evolutionary theory can provide a link between the two theories that makes them mutually supportive rather than opposed.

KeywordsPolitical Science and International Relations; Geography, Planning and Development; Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
Year2019
JournalNations and Nationalism
Journal citation25 (1), pp. 104-123
PublisherWiley
ISSN1469-8129
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/nana.12426
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/625369
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/termsAndConditions#vor
hdl:10545/625369
Publication dates30 Jan 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited10 Nov 2020, 11:39
Accepted05 Mar 2018
ContributorsUniversity of Edinburgh
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