Rethinking the Nation at the Periphery

in French Politics, Culture & Society
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Eugen Weber's Peasants into Frenchmen has had an enduring impact on historians of European nationalism. This article situates Weber's influence on the field of nationalism and focuses on regions that played a crucial role in his analysis: peripheries. Peripheries are central to historians studying the construction of the French nation and the forging of contemporary European identity. Scholars have moved beyond Weber by developing a dynamic model of the relationship between center and periphery, and they have paid close attention to the relationship between regional and national identities. While the field of nationalism has evolved substantially since Weber's time, the questions he posed over thirty years ago still lie at the center of scholarly concerns.