Everyday Nationalism: Constructivism for the Masses

James Paul Goode, David R. Stroup

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Objective: We argue that the "everyday nationalism" approach is both useful and necessary for improving existing constructivist approaches in the comparative study of nationalism and ethnic politics. Methods: A meta-analysis of existing studies reveals pervasive conceptual and methodological problems of contemporary constructivist approaches. We consider the implications of replacing individuals or groups with ethnic or nationalist practices as units of analysis. Results: Everyday nationalism promises to address the gap between constructivist theory and the methodological individualism of existing studies. This approach proceeds from ethnographic observation and utilizes methods reliant on observing societal interaction or relational meaning making for verification. We illustrate such a research strategy using examples of nationalist legitimation in authoritarian regimes and the ethnicization of economic development. Conclusion: The everyday nationalism approach promises to overcome the shortcomings in much contemporary constructivist work. The potential for developing qualitative data sets of nationalist or ethnic practices further promises to complement constructivist insights.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-739
Number of pages23
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Issue number3
Early online date19 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015


  • Nationalism
  • Identity
  • constructivism
  • Methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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