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Methodological nationalism and beyond: nation–state building, migration and the social sciences

Methodological nationalism and beyond: nation–state building, migration and the social sciences Methodological nationalism is understood as the assumption that the nation/state/society is the natural social and political form of the modern world. We distinguish three modes of methodological nationalism that have characterized mainstream social science, and then show how these have influenced research on migration. We discover parallels between nationalist thinking and the conceptualization of migration in postwar social sciences. In a historical tour d’horizon, we show that this mainstream concept has developed in close interaction with nation–state building processes in the West and the role that immigration and integration policies have played within them. The shift towards a study of ‘transnational communities’— the last phase in this process — was more a consequence of an epistemic move away from methodological nationalism than of the appearance of new objects of observation. The article concludes by recommending new concepts for analysis that, on the one hand, are not coloured by methodological nationalism and, on the other hand, go beyond the fluidism of much contemporary social theory. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Global Networks Wiley

Methodological nationalism and beyond: nation–state building, migration and the social sciences

Global Networks , Volume 2 (4) – Oct 1, 2002

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References (160)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Blackwell Publishers Ltd. & Global Networks Partnership 2002
ISSN
1470-2266
eISSN
1471-0374
DOI
10.1111/1471-0374.00043
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Methodological nationalism is understood as the assumption that the nation/state/society is the natural social and political form of the modern world. We distinguish three modes of methodological nationalism that have characterized mainstream social science, and then show how these have influenced research on migration. We discover parallels between nationalist thinking and the conceptualization of migration in postwar social sciences. In a historical tour d’horizon, we show that this mainstream concept has developed in close interaction with nation–state building processes in the West and the role that immigration and integration policies have played within them. The shift towards a study of ‘transnational communities’— the last phase in this process — was more a consequence of an epistemic move away from methodological nationalism than of the appearance of new objects of observation. The article concludes by recommending new concepts for analysis that, on the one hand, are not coloured by methodological nationalism and, on the other hand, go beyond the fluidism of much contemporary social theory.

Journal

Global NetworksWiley

Published: Oct 1, 2002

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