Nationalism and National Feeling: the Sociological and Social-psychological Approach

Course Description: 

The course will concentrate on the most influential sociological and social-psychological theories of nationalism, national, ethnic, supranational and transnational identity, national feeling, majority-minority relations and ethnic conflicts. After a general introduction, the lectures will deal with sociological and socio-psychological theories on different patterns of identities, with the theoretical interpretations of group relations, like assimilation, dissimilation, and, finally, with the sociology and social-psychology of attitudes, stereotyping, prejudice. Special attention will be given to the methods of empirical sociological investigation of the subject.

Learning Outcomes: 

After having completed the course students will

-        understand the basic differences between the normative and empirical approach to ethnicity and nationalism;

-         understand the most important theories on ethnicity and apply them in empirical research on ethnicity in different contexts

-        understand the process of construction of (ethnic or national) minority, national and supranational identities and analyze it by using empirical methods of text analysis (content analysis, discourse analysis)   

-        have an overview about the most frequently discussed sociological and social-psychological theories of  identity, especially of national and ethnic identity, and about the most important empirical studies on the subject

-        understand the problems of “groupness”,  and analyze the constructions of “groupness” in ethnic group conflict

-        understand the process of assimilation, ethnic retention and dissimilation, and will be able to analyze different minority group strategies in modern societies

-        have be familiar with the quantitative and qualitative methods  of empirical studies used in sociological investigation of national, minority ethnic and supranational identity


Students registered for this course are expected to attend class regularly, read the assigned readings every week and participate in class discussions. All students are expected to present at least two texts as introduction to the discussion on the given subject. The presentations should be summarized on a handout, 1-2 pages in length. The summaries should incorporate critical reactions to the readings and can also include issues that were raised in prior classes and readings. These comments are intended to help students clarify their own thinking and to raise issues that help to structure the class discussion. The handouts should be submitted by email by 10 am two days before the corresponding class.

The participants of the course will also be required to prepare a final paper or a Student Research Project (ca. 10 typewritten double spaced pages) on a subject connected to the topics discussed in the course. The literature for the final paper should be based on the common readings and on individual research.


Course evaluation


Class participation and activity: 20%

In-class presentation:                 30%

Final paper:                                50%