Is Nationalism Inherently Violent?: Nation-States and Wars in the Balkans
This paper analyses the complex and contradictory relationships between nationalism and war. The author challenges the approaches that see nationalism as being inherently linked with violence and demonstrates that nationalist ideology by itself is rarely a main cause of war. The paper aims to show that the relationship between warfare and nationalism cannot be properly captured by the dominant naturalist and formativist perspectives. Instead the case is made that the emphasis should be given to the long term historical processes which make the link between war and nationalism possible: the cumulative bureaucratisation of coercion and the centrifugal ideologisation. Using the example of wars fought in the Balkans over the last two centuries the author argues that periods of protracted peace matter much more for the growth, expansion and popular reception of nationalism than the times of war. Rather than being a cause or consequence of war nationalist values and practices often entail the presence of long term peace.