chapter  6
28 Pages

Pro et contra

As with other perspectives on the study of nations and nationalism, ethno-symbolic approaches have won approval in some quarters, while coming in for a fair amount of criticism in others. It may therefore be useful to reconsider their common themes by addressing some of the main objections to ethno-symbolism. There are several key issues; I shall concentrate on the more theoretical criticisms. These include an overly positive image of nationalism; a tendency to conflate state and nation; overemphasis on ethnicity and failure to demarcate nation from ethnic community; a relatively static understanding of nations and nationalism; an allied emphasis on continuity and concern with national persistence; use of the problematic concept of identity; and, finally, its alleged theoretical basis in evolutionism, holism and idealism.