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by Anthony D. Smith
In The Antiquity of Nations, Anthony Smith provides a freshinterpretation of the character of modern nations. Departing fromconventional wisdom, he argues the case for a deeper understandingof their character, based on an ethno-symbolic analysis of themyths, memories, symbols and traditions of pre-modern ethniccommunities. Building on his earlier work, the author seeks tobalance the undeniable novel components of the nation with itsancient, rooted and persistent attributes. In the first part, the author provides a sustained critique of thetheories of some of the main exponents of modernism, the currentorthodoxy in the study of nations and nationalism, tracing itsorigins to the Eurocentric and evolutionist assumptions ofclassical sociology. Part Two backs up this challenge through anexploration of key historical and sociological issues. Theseinclude the possibility of finding `nations' in antiquity, theimpact of war on ethnicity at various periods of history, thelong-term routes to nationhood and their modern consequences, thenature and functions of `golden ages, and the impact of Romanticismon nationalism. The result is a more rounded and penetratingunderstanding of one of the most complex phenomena in the modernworld.The Antiquity of Nations will be essential reading for all scholarsof nationalism and for all students taking courses on nationalismand ethnicity.
Anthony D. Smith
Polity; 1 edition (September 3, 2004)
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