The Ideology of Modernity? the Study of Nationalism Between Historical Sociology and Political History

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 11:45
Location: Hörsaal 21 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Daniele CONVERSI, University of the Basque Country, Spain

As a discipline born to tackle and make sense of the social problems brought by modernity, sociology would seem well placed to elaborate on the concept's ideological underpinnings. However, the outcomes have rarely been satisfying and most developments in this area of research have emerged from other disciplines. 

The paper defends the need to incorporate contributions from kindred social sciences in order to integrate sociology's capacity to fully grasp and comprehend the broader implications of the ideological components of modernity. Building on Charles Tilly's study of 'war and state formation' and James Scott's notion of 'high modernism', it explores the ideological kernel of the concept of modernity by associating it to the spread of nationalism as the triumphant form of political legitimacy. It does so by bringing in contributions from political history, comparative history and the history of political ideologies --besides historical sociology.

The temporal focus is on the formation of the modern nation-state articulated through the ideology of nationalism, but is also accompanied by a critical attention to the rise and fall of the ‘developmental state’ characterized by high modernism.

This is needed, I argue, to advance our understanding of the current predicament facing the sociology of modernity in a world dominated by neoliberal impulses framed by their own ideological matrix.