Originally published in 2003, this book addresses the rarely explored subject of the reciprocal relationships between nationalism, nation and state-building, and economic change. Analysis of the economic element in the building of nations and states cannot be confined to Europe, and therefore these diverse yet interlinked case-studies cover all continents. Authors come to contrasting conclusions, some regarding the economic factor as central, while others show that nation-states came into being before the constitution of a national market. The essays leave no doubt that the nation-state is an historical phenonemon and as such is liable to 'expiry' both through the process of globalisation and through the development of a 'cyber-society' which evades state control. By contrast, developments in southeastern Europe, the former USSR, and parts of Africa and the Far East show that building the nation-state has not run its course.
The authors in this collection of essays address the largely neglected but significant economic aspects of the national question in its historical context during the course of the twentieth century. There exists a large gap in our understanding of the historical relationship between the 'national question' and economic change. Above all, there is insufficient knowledge about the economic dimension of the historical experience with regard to the former multi-national states, such as the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia; and equally too little is known about the economic component of national tensions and conflicts in bilingual Belgium or Finland, or the multilingual Spain or Switzerland. At the same time as emphasis is placed on the complex relationships between the economy and society in individual European countries, questions of state, identity, language, religion and racism as instruments of economic furtherance are at the centre of the contributors' attention.