Nation-State, Postcolonial Theory, and Global Violence

in Social Analysis
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After the excesses of fascism in World War II and inter-ethnic conflicts in Africa, the Middle East, and the former Yugoslavia, it became axiomatic for postmodernist thinkers to condemn the nation and its corollary terms, ‘nationalism’ and ‘nation-state,’ as the classic evils of modern industrial society. The nation-state, its reality if not its concept, has become a kind of malignant paradox if not a sinister conundrum. It is often linked to violence and the terror of ‘ethnic cleansing.’ Nonetheless, the U.N. and the interstate system of nation-states still function as seemingly viable institutions of everyday life.1 How do we explain these seemingly paradoxical trends?

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology