Just how rooted is Grounded Nationalisms?

Jon E. Fox*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Grounded Nationalisms provides its readers with a clear, cogent, and comprehensive theory for understanding nationalism in its many evolving forms. Maleševič presents us with a flexible yet durable nationalism; a nationalism that can and does assume multiple forms precisely because it is grounded in its more stable organisations, ideologies, and interactions. His is a theory for the mechanics of nationalism, its machinery – the processes and practices, ideas and structures that drive nationalism and churn out nations in different bespoke forms. It is a toolkit that gives us an elastic, shape-shifting nationalism. The same forms – organisations, ideologies, and interactions – can be and are used to produce different national content. The durability of these mechanical forms gives rise to, and indeed explains, the elasticity of its nationalism's shifting empirical content. There are no new nationalisms, Maleševič pointedly reminds us, only old ones reinvented and creatively adapted to new circumstances. But: this thing we made, can it be unmade? What are the limits of nationalism's elasticity? How far can it be stretched, conceptually, structurally, ideationally, and temporally before it ceases to be something we can convincingly call ‘nationalism’? Perhaps the only weakness of Maleševič's approach is that it has no weakness – no weakness built into the model for predicting nationalism's demise, no escape hatch for jettisoning nationalism, no flaw in the system for unravelling nationalism. In developing such a compelling theory for nationalism s strength, Maleševič has inadvertently revealed his theory's weakness: Grounded Nationalisms have no exit strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-303
Number of pages6
JournalIrish Journal of Sociology
Issue number3
Early online date23 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

Structured keywords

  • SPAIS Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship


  • globalisation
  • history of nationalism
  • populism
  • Theories of nationalism


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