Sub-state nationalism / autonomy :
: an African perspective; Can the insights of the current literature on sub-state nationalism be enhanced by adapting social movement theory to study the political frames shaping sub-state movements for political autonomy in Nigeria?

  • Ben Roberts

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Economic and Social Studies


This work was conducted with the aim of advancing our understanding of the modern and political nature of nationalism as a social phenomenon. To this end it has proposed an understanding of nationalism as contextually linked to the governmentalisation of the state. As such, it sets out to do three things: a) Explore the nature of nationalism not from the perspective of the state, but from the perspective of self-styled nationalist movements and their relationship to the state; b) To reflect on the relationship between nationalist movements and states as linked to questions of government, and; c) To offer some avenues for research into the links between nationalism, national questions – on representation, autonomy and self-determination – and ‘questions of government’. In order to achieve these ends without proposing some teleological narrative to the governmentalisation of the state this work focuses on contemporary Nigerian politics. It is by exploring a contemporary example that we can identify and highlight the multiple governmentalities influencing our political and social aspirations. These multiple governmentalities present a variety of political contexts in which national questions and nationalism arise. It is the conclusion that every ‘nationalism’ is highly contextual and linked not only to different forms and processes of governmentality, but to the inter-action and contact between different governmentalities. Government – material and idea – represents the political and legal concern over questions of life (economic, cultural, etc.), thus setting the grounds for national questions of representation, autonomy and self-determination.
Date of Award2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorHuw Lewis (Supervisor)

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