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Sail On, O Ship of State: the destiny of the nation state

Johanna Möhring and Gwythian Prins (eds)
Notting Hill Editions (14 March 2013)

Since 1945, there has been an ascendant narrative in international affairs, which blamed the nation-states of Europe for the double catastrophes of the First and Second World Wars and has invested hope in a new post-nation-state world order which arose from those ashes. But we are plainly in the midst of a crisis for that narrative. For a decade at least, all the main multilateral institutions have been waning. The UN has faded steadily as it proved incapable in crisis after crisis. NATO’s irrelevance has been cruelly brought to light in the wars in Afghanistan. The EU project of ever-closer union is fracturing under the strains of a systemic economic and financial crisis. Economic globalization, with all its benefits, stands revealed as less of a panacea than the cosmopolitan globalisation narrative credited. Furthermore, the affection and loyalty that citizens feel for their national identities has not waned. Rather, it has waxed as global troubles have loomed.

The nation-state has refused to shuffle off the stage of history. Why? With what implications? This collection of essays is a first attempt to restore it to its rightful place: at the heart of the people, centre-stage in politics.

  • Johanna Möhring is visiting fellow at LSE
  • Professor Gwythian Prins is LSE research professor and director of the LSE Mackinder Programme for the Study of Long-Wave Events.

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Sail On, O Ship of State