Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 1996

Nations, Nationalism and National Schools from the Perspective of Anthropology and Sociology: A Comparative Approach

Main disciplines: Social Anthropology, Sociology
Lecturer: Professor Jean-Claude Galey
Institution: Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales, France
and University of Oslo, Norway
Dates: 5 - 9 August, 1996

This course will provide a comprehensive approach to the study of ideas and historical processes which preside over the shaping of the nation and assess it as an integral part of modern values. In these matters, Europeans do not speak with one voice. The course thus contrasts national variants in a comparative fashion, opposing those scholars who rely on a purely political tradition linked to the reality of the State, and the value of citizenship to those who base their understanding on a community of people territorially and culturally ordered. References to "jus loci" and to "jus sanguinis" wall be discussed in the perspective of a different perception given territorial sovereignty.

A German attitude inherited from Herder and Fichte will be related to the British perception epitomized by Burke, and both will be discussed as reactions against the ideas of the French Revolution and of its subsequent transformations. The Durkheimian school and the work of Mauss will form the basis for an attempt to reassess, in a comparative fashion, the affective dimension implied in the involved social practices coupled with national identities and citizenship. This dimension is too often silenced by materialist and abstract theories. It is a dimension which anthropology can fruitfully use to apprehend the current tensions experienced in the post-colonial and post-Soviet empires.

Lectures & Readings

PART ONE: National configurations, national perceptions

Lecture 1: Modernity and national histories

Lecture 2: Universalism and democracy

PART TWO: Society, State and Nation

Lecture 3: Territorial unity, cultural multiplicity

Lecture 4: Questionina the nature of minorities

PART THREE: National identities and egalitarian values

Lecture 5: War and/or Revolution?

Lecture 6: The nation as achievement and experience

PART FOUR: From Nation to nationalism - New Nation States for old societies: the post colonial encounter

Lecture 7: Ultimate morals and civil ethics

Lecture 8: Reliqion and politics/The reliqion of politics

PART FIVE: Sociality substituting society

Lecture 9: Rationalist and postmarxian perspectives

Lecture 10: The imagined and the imaginary in the name of ideology