Introduction. The Struggle to Define a Nation: Rethinking Religious Nationalism in the Contemporary Islamic World

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroPrefazione / postfazione / breve introduzione


‘Religious Nationalism’ looks like a Lernaean-Hydra with two heads, well separated, but working in unison. This image can be interpreted by deconstructing two fundamental notions that shaped the traditional understanding of nation and nationalism, in accordance with Western parameters. On the one hand, it is possible to reconsider this mythic association from the perspective of the principles una religio, in uno regno (one religion, in one realm) and cuius regio, eius religio (whose realm, his religion), as emerged after the Peace of Augsburg in 1555, which ended the first German religious conflict between Catholics and Protestants within the Holy Roman Empire. On the other, it transmits the idea that a nation belongs to a unique ethnos with a definite geography – an idiomatic language – while religion represents a strategic cultural repository from which to select themes and traditions that allow nationalism to ‘imagine’ the existence of an immutable nation, which in turn could acquire the profile of a ‘religion’. These two aspects did not diverge. The tendency to impose a sharp separation and distinction between them is frequently artificial, failing to understand when religious identity became ‘nationally’ salient and vice-versa. Indeed, blurring together ethnos (a group of people with a common descent) and religio (binding or linking them together again) concurs to conceptualize the ‘nation’ and the state which, in turn, coalescing and overlapping, give sense to nationalist ideals and their historical incarnation,4 forging the identity and large-scale political solidarity of a nation (natio, ‘native’) with the aim of creating, legitimizing or challenging a state. Accordingly, this broad spectrum of possible interconnections, overlapping and coalescing between these concepts, describes the trajectory of a process that constantly redefines the relationship between politics and religion within the public space, the understanding of the nation and the realm of the state.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteThe Struggle to Define a Nation: Rethinking Nationalism in the Contemporary Islamic World
Numero di pagine15
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2017


  • Islamic world
  • Middle East
  • Nationalism
  • Political Islam
  • Religion and politics


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