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Methodological Nationalism


Rössel, J (2012). Methodological Nationalism. In: Anheier, Helmut; Juergensmeyer, Mark; Faessel, Victor. Encyclopedia of Global Studies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1152-1155.

Abstract

Methodological nationalism is a term that has emerged in the academic study of globalization and transnationalization. It refers, often critically, to the equation between society and nation-state. However, there are several different aspects to the term, which should be differentiated. First is the idea that social change is caused mainly by endogenous conditions that are internal to the respective nation-state/society. This aspect emerged in the debate about methodological nationalism in the 1970s when external causes of social change were contrasted to endogenous conditions. Second is the proposition that political and territorial boundaries put limits on other societal institutions, so that there is a spatial convergence between national territory and the extension of society. This corresponds to Ulrich Beck's famous notion of the “container model” of society, according to which state-constructed and state-controlled borders demarcate the extent of societal relations. The discussion about this aspect of methodological nationalism goes back to the 1950s, when Wolfram Eberhard criticized Talcott Parsons's concept of society as a social system with reference to Chinese society in the medieval period. A third aspect refers to the fact that macro-sociological and especially comparative research has often taken the nationstate or the country as a kind of natural unit of research. Finally, Beck and Natan Sznaider include a fourth aspect of methodological nationalism, alleging that it includes a focus on states and government in social scientific research.

Abstract

Methodological nationalism is a term that has emerged in the academic study of globalization and transnationalization. It refers, often critically, to the equation between society and nation-state. However, there are several different aspects to the term, which should be differentiated. First is the idea that social change is caused mainly by endogenous conditions that are internal to the respective nation-state/society. This aspect emerged in the debate about methodological nationalism in the 1970s when external causes of social change were contrasted to endogenous conditions. Second is the proposition that political and territorial boundaries put limits on other societal institutions, so that there is a spatial convergence between national territory and the extension of society. This corresponds to Ulrich Beck's famous notion of the “container model” of society, according to which state-constructed and state-controlled borders demarcate the extent of societal relations. The discussion about this aspect of methodological nationalism goes back to the 1950s, when Wolfram Eberhard criticized Talcott Parsons's concept of society as a social system with reference to Chinese society in the medieval period. A third aspect refers to the fact that macro-sociological and especially comparative research has often taken the nationstate or the country as a kind of natural unit of research. Finally, Beck and Natan Sznaider include a fourth aspect of methodological nationalism, alleging that it includes a focus on states and government in social scientific research.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Sociology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Language:English
Date:March 2012
Deposited On:16 Apr 2012 10:40
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:45
Publisher:Sage
ISBN:978-1-4129-6429-6
Related URLs:http://opac.nebis.ch/F/?local_base=NEBIS&CON_LNG=GER&func=find-b&find_code=SYS&request=006784811
http://www.sagepub.com/books/Book230735

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