Like any other human community, one of the fundamental roles nations play is to embed individuals in a particular point in time and space. In other words, nations and nationalism, an organisational principle of social life, work to provide individuals with a sense of who they are and where they belong. While nations are not the only form of community to serve human kind in this manner, they are the most privileged due to their intricate relationship with the nation-state, the dominant form of political organisation.
The ways in which nations and nationalism give shape to and maintain awareness and consciousness of time to members of nations and the importance of interpretation of the past in maintaining nations have been widely examined in the study of nations and nationalism under various headings including the use and abuse of history, the distinction between official and ‘ethno-‘ history, nations without history and so on. Building on these works, the special issue aims to examine the specificity of genealogy as way of comprehending time in the formation and maintenance of nations and in articulating nationalism. In other words, what does genealogy bring to nations and nationalism that history, chronology, myths or legends do not?
The term genealogy immediately suggests ancestry, which in turn suggests some form of blood relationship. In the study of nations and nationalism, the reference to blood relationship is linked to the understanding of ethnic nationhood, which is often seen as problematic in the liberal democratic normative framework. But is this the only contribution genealogy makes to the study of nations and nationalism? The special issue invites contributions to investigate the relationship between nations and time focusing on the characteristics of genealogy as a way of making sense of time and the past.
There are a number of questions to be addressed including:
- What does genealogy provide in the formation and maintenance of nations that history and other forms of narrating time and the past do not?
- Is the significance of genealogy limited to the formation and maintenance of ethnic nations? How would genealogy work in a civic nation?
- Does the significance of genealogy vary across time? Is its significance eroded with modernisation/democratisation/secularisation?
- What are the factors that privilege genealogy in narrating the nation’s life? Would genealogy in describing the nation be more important in societies which are heavily influenced by Confucianism, for example? Would the rise of a middle class with interest in family history strengthen the position of genealogy as a main way of understanding the nation’s past?
- When does genealogy, or family history, of a nation become a history which is shared publicly? Examining genealogies (i.e. critical junctures) of national identity or national political community.
- How do different paradigms of national community (primordialist, liberal-democratuc, etc.) mobilize the idea of the nation-as-genealogy or family history?
Dr. Atsuko Ichijo
- dealing with the past
- ethnic vs civic nationhood
- time consciousness
NOTE TO CONTRIBUTORS
For the instruction for the authors, please visit the journal website: http://www.mdpi.com/journal/genealogy/instructions
When your paper is ready, please submit it to the editorial office's online system via the following link (but you need to register on the
MDPI website (http://www.mdpi.com/) first and then use the link):