Why do nations matter? The search for belonging and security in an uncertain world

Michael Skey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the reasons why national forms of identification and organization (might) matter in the contemporary era. In contrast to the majority of macro-sociological work dealing with this topic, I develop an analytical framework that draws together recent research on everyday nationalism with micro-sociological and psychological studies pointing to the importance of routine practices, institutional arrangements and symbolic systems in contributing to a relatively settled sense of identity, place and community. The second part of the paper focuses on the hierarchies of belonging that operate within a given national setting. Of particular interest is the largely taken-for-granted status of the ethnic majority and the degree to which it underpins claims to belonging and entitlement that are used to secure key allocative and authoritative resources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-98
Number of pages18
JournalThe British Journal of Sociology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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