Introduction

in Social Analysis

The advent of the postcolonial era was heralded by the emergence of new nation states from the territories of the colonial powers. These new states inherited a model of nationhood that emerged in Europe in the seventeenth century, in which the nation is presented as a symbolic community creating powerful allegiances to a cultural ideal. For the culturally diverse nations that emerged with the end of colonialism, this ideal of identification between the political nation state and a ‘national culture’ has always been problematic. Increasingly, the same is true in the metropoles themselves, as the postcolonial breaking down of barriers leads them to become ever more multicultural.

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