chapter  1
Pages 29

Since the early 1980s the resurgence of scholarly interest in the figure of the nation has been characterized by a sustained critical interrogation of it. It is now generally accepted by scholars in the field that, contrary to its self-image, the nation is not a primordial category, fixed and unchanging. Rather it is the product of a specific historical moment, born as the European world slowly emerged into modernity, from the cradle of what Eric Hobsbawm calls ‘the dual revolution’ at the end of the eighteenth century, one which transformed the political contours of Europe, the other which transformed its economic field of production, each of them trailing in its wake the great social upheavals that lay the basis for the kind of world which we still inhabit.1