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Nationalism As Civil Religion And Rituals Of Belonging Before And After The Global Turn

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines certain religious dimensions of nationalism in historical perspective, giving special attention to what the author has elsewhere termed the "profane sacrality" of national identity. After considering the rationale, modalities and rituals/discourses of nationalism-as-religion, the major portion of the chapter is devoted to an analysis of the ritual sacrality of belonging in the phase of nationalism proper (between 1880 and 1945), as well as in the present age of globalisation. It argues that significant transformations have taken place, notably as regards rituals of death and unselfish suffering-transformations implying that national religiosity now finds itself positioned, uneasily, between the pompousness of state ritualism, the mundane quality of civic allegiance, the nostalgia of past glory, and the complexities and asymmetries of transnational belonging. Although World War II marks the end of the formative years of nationalism, it very nearly destroyed the idea of nationalism at the same time.

Keywords: civic allegiance; globalisation; national identity; nationalism; ritual sacrality; rituals; World War II



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