Call for Papers

The call for papers has now closed. This page is here for archival purposes only.

Many people today regard belonging to a nation as something quite natural, given, and also as an “essential” part of one’s identity. By contrast, in the academic study of the subject there is much emphasis on construction and contingency, “invention” and “imagination”. This conference aims to bridge this divide between academic and popular views by examining theoretical and empirical arguments about this relationship, from both cultural and political perspectives. The conference will analyze the relationship by considering expressions of belonging, cross-border forms of belonging and the contemporary challenges posed to belonging as the locus of the nation, by bringing together scholars from across the social sciences.

Applicants are encouraged to reflect on the many different forms that national belonging takes. Is the sense of belonging historically determined or voluntarist? Is belonging to do with identity and psychology or something that arises out sets of common practices? Is there a ‘need to belong’ or are institutional routines sufficient to maintain political associations over time?

There are three broad perspectives at the conference, reflected in the plenary sessions on each of the three days. The first concerns how belonging is expressed and constructed with regard to nations, as well as the importance of belonging in the construction of nations. Themes for papers could include:

  • How national belonging is ascribed and cultivated
  • The role of symbols and rituals in national belonging
  • The process by which individuals and groups construct their belonging to nations
  • How states use claims about national belonging to define their communities

The second has a transnational focus, examining how national belonging is expressed across borders by migrants and diaspora. Themes for papers could include:

  • The examination of forms of diaspora and kin nationalism
  • How transnational communities maintain a sense of belonging across space and time
  • How migrant and diaspora communities construct new ways of belonging

The third focuses on how belonging to the nation is being challenged by alternative non-national forms - such as supra-national and sub-national loyalties. Themes for papers could include:

  • How national belonging is responding to alternative, non-national forms of attachment
  • The role of supra-national and sub-national forces in redefining belonging
  • The relationship between national belonging and cosmopolitanism/post-nationalism
  • How possible shifts in the centrality of national belonging in the contemporary world affect the study of nationalism.

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This Call for Papers is available to download as a PDF|.


 ASEN 2014 Conference Poster - light green background, black hexagonal patterns with coloured quilts

The ASEN Seminar Series and Annual Conference are made possible through the kind support of the LSE Department of Government and the LSE Annual Fund

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