In the footsteps of Karl Deutsch: On nationalism, self-determination and international relations

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Abstract

The article argues that Karl Deutsch’s work on nationalism is not only a precursor to his ‘security communities’ but that it is central to his international relations (IR). Nationalism impacts what people expect from the state and influences the state’s international behaviour. While these processes are mostly automatic and cannot be controlled, their trajectories are not fully determined. Deutsch is interested in theorising moments when automatic processes do not suffice or become harmful and intervention is needed. The article first introduces Deutsch as a theorist of nationalism, examining his contribution in the context of the field of nationalism studies and the reasons for his equivocal reception in this field. In its second part, the article makes sense of the legacy of Deutsch’s work on nationalism for contemporary IR by focusing on his use of the notion of self-determination with which Deutsch transcends the normative imperatives of the narrower concept of national self-determination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-332
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Relations
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sept 2014

Keywords

  • international relations
  • Karl Deutsch
  • nationalism
  • self-determination
  • social communication

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