Monthly Publications Update

David Prior's picture

Eicher, John.  Exiled Among Nations: German and Mennonite Mythologies in a Transnational Age.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020.

(The Americas - Latin America, Paraguay, Canada, Europe, Germany, Russia - Ethno-religious nationalism - Comparative nationalism - Comparative History - Qualitative History.) 

How do groups of people fashion shared identities in the modern world? Following two communities of German-speaking Mennonites, one composed of voluntary migrants and the other of refugees, across four continents between 1870 and 1945, this transnational study explores how religious migrants engaged with the phenomenon of nationalism. John P. R. Eicher demonstrates how migrant groups harnessed the global spread of nationalism to secure practical objectives and create local mythologies. In doing so, he also reveals how governments and aid organizations used diasporic groups for their own purposes - and portraying such nomads as enemies or heroes in national and religious mythologies. By underscoring the importance of local and religious counter-stories that run in parallel to nationalist narratives, Exiled Among Nations helps us understand acts of resistance, flight, and diaspora in the modern world.


Kurzwelly, Jonatan, and Luis Escobedo (eds.).  Migrants, Thinkers, Storytellers: Negotiating Meaning and Making Life in Bloemfontein, South Africa.  Cape Town: HSRC Press, 2021.

(Global, Transnational, Comparative - Africa, South Africa, Free State, Bloemfontein, Southern Africa - Social Categorisation - Racial Categories, Migration, Privileged Migration, Relative Privilege, Social Identification - Narrative Life Story Research - Storytelling, Immigrant Autobiography, Trajectory Approach, Ethnography, Interviews.) 

Migrants, Thinkers, Storytellers develops an argument about how individual migrants, coming from four continents and diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, are in many ways affected by a violent categorisation that is often nihilistic, insistently racial, and continuously significant in the organisation of South African society. The book also examines how relative privilege and storytelling function as instruments for migrants to negotiate meanings and shape their lives. It employs narrative life story research as its guiding methodology and applies various disciplinary analytical perspectives, with an overall focus on social categorisation and its consequences. The featured stories stress how unsettled, mutable, and in flux social categories and identities are – just as a messy pencil sketch challenges clear definitions.


Goode, J. Paul.  Patriotic Legitimation and Everyday Patriotism in Russia’s Constitutional Reform.  Russian Politics 6:1 (2021): 112-129.

(Russia and the former Soviet Union - Russia, former Soviet Union - Banal Nationalism - Everyday Nationalism - interpretive analysis.) 

Russia’s 2020 Constitutional reform was notable not just for the substantial institutional changes introduced, but also for the almost complete lack of public discussion of those changes in elite debates or the public campaign for the nationwide vote. Instead, proposals to write social and patriotic issues into the Constitution absorbed the lion’s share of coverage. These issues were not superfluous, but rather reveal the dynamics of patriotic legitimation and the role of everyday patriotism in Russian politics today. Among Russia’s elite, patriotic legitimation regulates competition, determines the boundaries of acceptable public politics, and provides access to regime patronage. For the public, the avoidance of politics and the appropriation of Russians’ everyday patriotism facilitated the mobilization of an apolitical electorate in the nationwide vote. While the reform may have strengthened the institutional basis of Putin’s rule, it potentially limits the regime’s adaptability and could affect its long-term survivability.


Goode, J. Paul.  Becoming banal: incentivizing and monopolizing the nation in post-Soviet Russia.  Ethnic and Racial Studies 44:4 (2021): 679-697.

(Russia and the former Soviet Union - Russia, former Soviet Union - Banal Nationalism - everyday nationalism, democracy and nationalism - focus groups - interviews.) 

While new regimes often seek legitimation by forging banal ties between state and nation (or “banalization”), there have been few attempts to explain how nationalism becomes banal, to account for variations in the process across different types of regimes, or to establish clear criteria for identifying successes or failures in banalization. This article presents an original theoretical framework for understanding banalization as a social and political process involving attempts to either incentivize or monopolize national expression, depending on the type of political regime. Drawing on interviews and focus groups conducted during 2014–2016, a case study of post-Soviet Russia fleshes out the process and outcomes of banalization across different kinds of regimes from the 1990s to the present. It further suggests the value of examining banalization as a regime process in accounting for the ways that the successes or failures of banalization influence their successors’ pursuit of legitimation.


Goode, J. Paul.  Artificial intelligence and the future of nationalism.  Nations and Nationalism 27:2 (2021): 363-376.

(Global, Transnational, Comparative - transnational, comparative - Technology and nationalism - economic nationalism, nationalism theory.) 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is spreading through all walks of life, promising social and economic disruptions that prompt comparisons with the Industrial Revolution. While there is growing interest in AI ethics and its implications for humanity, there has been surprisingly little consideration of its implications for national identities and nationalism. This paper argues that the transformation of citizens into population data is driving changes to state sovereignty and that the simultaneous competition between (and within) states and global corporations on a structural level and expansion of algorithmic population management on a quotidian level may crystallize in ways that are likely to produce nationalist responses. It concludes by proposing a number of causal mechanisms and hypotheses regarding the emergence and spread of “AI nationalism.” Scholars in nationalism studies can benefit substantially from embracing the study and applications of AI, though they ignore its development and spread at their peril.