Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 2001

Rethinking Nation-State Identities in Europe

Lecturer: Dr. Yasemin Soysal,
University of Essex, UK
Dates: 6. - 10. August 2001

Course description
This seminar explores the historical origins and contemporary constructions of nation-state identities in Europe. We will focus on the interplay between the formation of collective identities and the nation-state. Particular attention will be given to the postwar changes in the organization of the European state system and the emerging forms of citizenship and collective identities (e.g., ethno-national, regional, European). The seminar aims to introduce students to the key concepts of the debate on identities in Europe. Thus, rather than providing a comprehensive survey of the literature, we will focus on recent conceptualizations, and theoretical and research issues in the field.

Basic readings

Outline of lectures

Lecture 1: Unsettling the Nation and Identity: Conceptual Clarification

Lecture 2: From "Ethnies" to the Nation?

Lecture 3: Collective Nation

Lecture 4: Defining the Boundaries of the Nation: Citizenship

Lecture 5: Citizenship and Difference

Lecture 6: Nationalisms and Boundaries Reinvented

Lecture 7: Ethno/Regionalisms

Lecture 8: Immigration and Postnational Forms of Citizenship

Lecture 9: Imagining Europe: 'Europeanness' as Identity

Lecture 10: Transnationalization of Identities: Universalisms vs Particularisms

Recommended www-site: One Europe or Several? Programme, ESRC website.

The lecturer
Yasemin Soysal is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Sociology, University of Essex. She has a PhD from Stanford University. She has previously taught at Harvard University, has been German Marshall Fund Research Fellow, National Academy of Education Spencer Fellow, Social Science Research Council Fellow, National Endowment of Humanities Research Fellow, Jean Monnet Fellow, and a visiting scholar at Max Planck Institute, Berlin. Much of her research and writing have related to the historical development and contemporary reconfigurations of the nation-state and citizenship in Europe; cultural and political implications of international migratory movements; and international discourses and regimes of human rights.

She has articles in such journals as American Sociological Review, Theory and Society, Sociology of Education, and Ethnic and Racial Studies. Her book, Limits of Citizenship: Migrants and Postnational Membership in Europe, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 1994. Currently, she is working on two related projects (funded for three years by the Economic and Social Research Council, Britain): the changing basis and forms of collective identity and claims-making in Europe, and postwar reconfigurations of nation-state identities as projected in secondary school history and civics textbooks.

Soysal is the vice president (for research networks) of the European Sociology Association and board member of the Research Committee on Migration, International Sociological Association. She is also the member of the editorial board of Ethnic and Racial Studies, and the member of the international advisory board of Ethnicities.