Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home  > Tamils - A Trans State NationNations & Nationalism  > The Strength of an Idea Self Determination >  Fourth World - Nations without States  - Stateless Nations > Nations without a State in the Global Age


The Department of Politics, Queen Mary, University of London
& the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism

Nations without a State in the Global Age

Conference at Queen Mary, University of London
28 - 29 June 2007

Nations without States - where there is a strong sense of national identity, in spite of having their territories included within the boundaries of one or more states with which by and large they do not identify with - are common.

They have a new importance today, when established nation-states are changing their nature in response to globalisation processes. This conference explores Western substate nationalism by drawing on a wide range of case studies which include Catalonia, Scotland, the Basque Country, Northern Ireland and Quebec, among others.

Drawing on a comparative framework, the conference combines both theoretical and empirical approaches. In so doing, it examines nationalist movements in nations without states, various alternative political frameworks to accomodate national diversity within multinational states, national identity and cosmopolitanism, the role of the media in the construction of the nation as well as the significance of culture and history.


'The Peace Processes in the Basque Country and Northern Ireland: a Comparative Approach' - Dr Gorka Espiau, Political Advisor to the Secretary General of the Basque Presidency, Senior Associate of the Centre for International Conflict Resolution at Columbia University


The Irish peace process has influenced enormously Basque politics in the last decade. Academics, political leaders and the media have tried to learn about the key elements that have contributed to an ongoing success story. This presentation will enumerate the obvious differences but also the amazing similarities between the two conflicts. Among them, the influence of the new geo-strategic context within the European Union, the negotiations involving armed groups, political parties and governments and the evolution of two different traditions fighting for self-determination. Basques were looking for inspiration, not always in a balanced way, while political leaders in Northern Ireland were more interested in attracting the attention of the. United States. This paper aimed to explain the logic for such a different approach. Looking at the future, lessons need to be learnt. Implementing shared sovereignty is probably the most useful tool for conflict transformation all over the world. This is the path marked by the Good Friday Agreement, and it is probably the only alternative to the violent conflict in the Basque area.

The Peace Process in the Basque Country and Northern Ireland: a Comparative Approach - Eoin O'Broin, Director of European Affairs, Sinn Fein


Eoin O'Broin examined the factors which underlie the Irish peace process and which have contributed to the substantial degree of success during the past decade. He   explored the question whether similar factors exist in the Basque Country and why the faltering peace process there is in such trouble.

`Beyond Statism and Culturalism: A Pluralistic Conception of Political Community as an Alternative to Liberal Nationalism' - Professor Rainer Baubock, Department of Political and Social Sciences, European University Institute (Florence)


Since the early 1990s several prominent political theorists have worked out normative theories of liberal nationalism. They defend the ideas that national identities are important for individual liberty or well-being, that these identities should be protected and promoted by political institutions and public policies, and that such recognition must be granted universally to all groups that qualify as national communities. As pointed out by Chaim Gans, liberal nationalists disagree on whether promoting a national culture is a means to achieve the ultimate goals of democracy and social justice within a liberal state, or whether, the other way round, a liberal state is the means to support a national culture that is in turn a basic condition for individual autonomy and well-being. I argue, on the one hand, that statist as well as culturalist versions of nationalism rely on sociologically implausible accounts of national community or run into difficulties when attempting to reconcile nationalism and liberalism. On the other hand, mainstream versions of liberalism and civic republicanism have a strong statist and majoritarian bias and cannot explain why and how liberal democracies should accommodate stateless nations and national minorities. I sketch an alternative approach that starts from a universal and equal right of individuals to be recognized as members of self-governing political communities and asks then how the boundaries of such communities ought to be arranged so that potentially rival claims to territory and membership can be reconciled with each other. I conclude with applying these ideas to territorial autonomy for national minorities and transnational citizenship for migrant groups.

'National Identity versus Cosmopolitan Identity' - Professor Montserrat Guibernau, Department of Politics, Queen Mary, University of London.


The Stoics initially formulated cosmopolitanism. In their view, the emphasis placed on boundaries contributed to shifting the focus away from the human condition shared by all persons by stressing differences rather than commonality among them The Stoics sought to replace the central role of the polis in ancient political thought with that of the cosmos in which humankind might live together in harmony. During the Enlightenment, the cosmopolitan idea was given a new impetus by Immanuel Kant.

Various forms of cosmopolitan identity, restricted to a selected elite, have existed since ancient times. In its modem form, cosmopolitan identity is intrinsically bound up with the intensification and expansion of globalization processes allowing us, for the first time in history, to have a reasonably accurate idea of the composition, numbers and features of humanity.

The aim of this paper is to explore the meaning of both cosmopolitan and national identity in the global age. In so doing, I examine the relevance of the psychological, cultural, historical, territorial and political dimensions I attribute to national identity (The Identity of Nations, Polity, 2007) when applied to cosmopolitan identity. The paper concludes by assessing whether national and cosmopolitan identity are able to co-exist and investigates the specific conditions that would render this possible.

'The Nation and its Resources: from Culture to Destiny' - Professor Anthony D Smith, Emeritus Professor in Ethnicity and Nationalism, London School of Economics and Political Science


To grasp the continuing appeal of nationalism, we need to furnish a cultural history of the nation. This is especially relevant for nations without states. This means in the first place that we must treat the nation as a real, willed, felt and imagined community in its own right, independently of both the state and of modern nationalism, which it may well antedate. A cultural history of the nation starts by outlining the main social and symbolic processes in the formation of ethnic communities and nations. It then explores the fundamental cultural resources of election, homeland, ethno-history and sacrifice that help to ensure their persistence. Finally, it considers how the politics of decline often stimulates alternative visions of national destiny and competing projects of national renewal. Only at this point, in the achievement of rival projects and visions, can the state, as an engine of modernisation, become relevant to a nation which has its own cultural history.

'The Media and the Perception of  Nation. The Catalan case.' - Dr Monica Terribas, University of Barcelona and TV3 Broadcaster.

'Minority Nations and the Global Order: Normative and Comparative Perspectives' - Professor Ferran Requejo, Department of Political Science, Pompeu Fabra University.


In this paper, I deal with the case of plurinational federal democracies, developing the suggestion established in previous works of three theoretical criteria for the political accommodation of these democracies. I analyse the case of Catalonia after the recent reform of its Constitutional Law (2006). I  mention some difficulties to establish clear formulas in these democracies in order to encourage a "federalism of trust" based on the participation and protection of national minorities in the shared government of plurinational federations/regional states. I  present theoretical and empirical evidence to support this statement. Finally, this paper advocates the need for a greater normative and institutional refinement in plurinational federal democracies. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to introduce a deeper form of "ethical" pluralism - which displays normative agonistic trends, as well as a more "confederal/asymmetrical" perspective, congruent with the national pluralism of these kind of polities.

'What Does Independence Really Mean? The Case of Scotland' -  Professor Michael Keating, European Institute (Florence).

'Bi-Nationalism and Conflict Regulation in Northern Ireland: Ten Years after the Good Friday Agreement' - Dr Brendan O'Duffy, Department of Politics, Queen Mary, University of London.


The paper examines the bi-national (British-Irish) ethos that underpins the Good Friday Agreement and the wider peace process in Northern Ireland. After considering the historical and contemporary politics of conflict regulation in Northern Ireland, the paper compares the merits of the bi-national approach with the 'civic integrationist' and 'social transformation' approaches advocated by Donald Horowitz and Rupert Taylor, respectively. The paper argues that conflict regulation has succeeded in Northern Ireland because the principle of bi-nationalism has been integrated vertically into the societal, governmental and state levels of authority. The bi-national ethos itself has been pluralised into acceptance of non-nationalist and non-unionist discourses and affiliations, creating long-term potential for the voluntary transcendence of British unionism and Irish nationalism as primary allegiances

'Understated Nations: Anomalies or Solutions in the Modern World?' - Professor David McCrone, The School of Social and Political Studies, University of Edinburgh.


The conventional wisdom has been to treat territories within states which considerable themselves to be nations as anomalies in the modern world, the results of inadequate incorporation into state structures in the 19111 and 20th centuries. Far from being anomalous, 'understated' nations, i.e. those nations with substantial powers of self-government without being fully 'independent', reflect what Benedict Anderson referred to as the 'crisis of the hyphen' for the so-called nation-state under pressure from political, economic and cultural changes in the 21st century.

'Quebec's Drive towards Autonomy and Recognition: the State of Affairs in 2007' - Professor Guy Laforest, Laval University, Quebec.

Gorka Espiau Idoiaga currently serves as political advisor to the Secretary General of the Basque Presidency. Espiau is also a Senior Associate of the Centre for International Conflict Resolution at Columbia University. In 2005 and 2006, Gorka Espiau was a Senior Fellow of the United States Institute of Peace in Washington DC. Previously he was director and spokesperson for Elkarri, the movement for dialogue in the Basque area, where he served on the Executive Board since 1996. Espiau also served as a logistics operator for nongovernmental organizations in Croatia and Bosnia, where he also worked on assistance programs for Bosnian refugees. He holds a graduate degree in information sciences and journalism from the University of the Basque Country. He is the author of the "The Basque Conflict: new ideas and prospects for peace", (SR 161) USIP April 2006, the Basque Country chapter in Searching for Peace in Europe and Eurasia, edited by the European Centre for Conflict Prevention, and is co-author of the book The Role of the Media in the Basque

Eoin O'Broin has worked full time for Sinn Fein for eleven years. From 1997 to 1999 he was the National Organiser for Ogra Shinn Fein. From 2001 to 2004 he represented the Old Park electoral district on Belfast City Council. Since 2004 Eoin has held the position of Director of European Affairs co-ordinating Sinn Fein's team in the European Parliament, the party's political relationships with parties across Europe and co-ordinating Sinn Fein' s lobby operation in Britain. Eoin has travelled extensively in the Basque Country since 1997 working with a wide range of political, social and cultural organisations. Eoin is a member of the party's Ard Comhairle (national executive).  Eoin is also a published author. His first book, Matxinada Basque Nationalism and Radical Basque Youth Movements was published in English in 2004 and in Spanish in 2005. His second book, is  Sinn Fein & the Politics of Left Republicanism (Irish Left Republicanism)Eoin O'Broin holds a degree in Cultural Studies from East London University, an MA in Irish Politics from Queens University and is currently completing a second MA in International Relations in Dublin City University. Eoin lived and worked in Belfast from 1995 to 2004 when he returned to live in his native Dublin.

Rainer Baub�ck holds the chair in social and political theory at the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the European University Institute. He is on leave from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute for European Integration Research where he is also vice-chair of the Academy's Commission for Migration and Integration Research. His research interests are in normative political theory and comparative research on democratic citizenship, European integration, migration, nationalism and minority rights.

From 1986 to 1999 Rainer Baub�ck was assistant professor at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna. He has taught regularly at the Universities of Vienna and Innsbruck and is a recurrent visiting professor at Central European University Budapest. He has also been a visiting academic at the Bellagio Rockefeller Foundation (June-July 2006), at Yale University (Jan-May 2005), the University Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona (2003), the University of Bristol (April-June 2002), University of Malmo (September 2000-February 2001); the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton and Princeton University (September 1998-June 1999); and the University of Warwick (1990-91). In 2003-2005, Rainer Baub�ck was president of the Austrian Association of Political Science. In November 2006, Rainer Baub�ck was awarded the Latsis Prize of the European Science Foundation for his work on immigration and social cohesion in modern societies.

His book publications in English include Transnational Citizenship: Membership and Rights in International Migration Citizenship Policies in the New Europe (Amsterdam University Press, 2007, co-editor), Acquisition and Loss of Nationality, Volume 1: Comparative Analyses: Policies and Trends in 15 European Countries (Amsterdam University Press - IMISCOE Research) Acquisition and Loss of Nationality, Volume 2: Policies and Trends in 15 European Countries: Country Analyses (Amsterdam University Press - IMISCOE Research) Blurred Boundaries: Migration, Ethnicity, Citizenship The Challenge of Diversity: Integration & Pluralism in Societies of Immigration (Avebury, Aldershot, 1996, co-editor); From Aliens to Citizens. Redefining the Legal Status of Immigrants in Europe (Avebury. Aldershot, 1994, editor). He is also the author of several books in German.

Montserrat Guibernau, Degree in Philosophy (Licenciatura) University of Barcelona MPhil. PhD University of Cambridge, Her recent publications include: Nations Without States: Political Communities in a Global Age Nationalisms: The Nation-State and Nationalism in the Twentieth Century (Polity Press, 1996), History and National Destiny: Ethnosymbolism and Its Critics The Conditions of Diversity in Multinational Democracies Understanding Nationalism The Ethnicity Reader: Nationalism, Multiculturalism and Migration Understanding Nationalism (Polity Press, 2001)She is a co-editor of the journal Nations and Nationalism (Blackwell) and member of the advisory council of the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN).
She holds Visiting Professorships/Fellowships at the University of Edinburgh, the University of Tampere (Finland), the Pompeu Fabra University and the Autonoma University (Barcelona), the UQAM (Montreal), Austrian Academy of Science (Vienna) and the European Institute of the London School of Economics.

Guibernau is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Canadian Research Chair in Quebec and Canadian Studies at UQAM. At present, she is a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Global Governance, London School of Economics, UK. She has taught at the universities of Barcelona, Warwick, the Open University and Cambridge.

Anthony D Smith, is Emeritus Professor of Nationalism and Ethnicity at the London School of Economics, President of the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism, and Chief Editor of Nations and Nationalism. His publications include: The Ethnic Revival (Themes in the Social Sciences) Theories of Nationalism The Ethnic Origins of Nations  (1986). National Identity (1991), Nations and Nationalism in a Global Era (1995), Nationalism and Modernism : A Critical Survey of Recent Theories of Nations and Nationalism (1998), Myths and Memories of the Nation (1999), Nationalism : Critical Concepts in Political Science (2001), Chosen Peoples: Sacred Sources of National Identity (2003) and The Cultural Foundations of Nations (2008, forthcoming)

Ferran Requejo is Professor of Political Science at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, where he leads the Research Group on Political Theory and he has been in charge of the PhD-programme on Political and Social Sciences. His main fields of research are theories of democracy, federalism, multinational democracies, political theory and political liberalism after World War H. In 1997 he was awarded the Rudolf Wildenmann Prize (ECPR), in 2002 he received the Ramon Trias Fargas Prize, and in 2006 the Spanish Political Science Association Prize to the best book published in 2005. He has been furthermore member of the Executive Committee of the European Consortium for Political Research (1997-2003). He is currently a member of the Spanish Electoral Board (Junta Electoral Central) and regular contributor to the newspaper "La Vanguardia" (Barcelona ) .

Among his recent works Multinational Federalism and Value Pluralism (Routledge 2005) Democracy, Nationalism and Multiculturalism (Routledge 2005, edit with R. Maiz); Pluralisme i autogovern al mon. Per unes democracies de qualitat (Eumo. 2005); Federalisme Plurinacional i Estat de les Autonomies (Proa, 2003); Democracy and National Pluralism (ed) (Routledge, 2001; Spanish version, Ariel 2002).

Recent articles and book chapters include: "Federalism and the Quality of Democracy in Plurinational Contexts: Present Shortcomings and Possible Improvements", in U. Amoretti-N. Bermeo (eds), Federalism. Unitarianism and Territorial Cleavages, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004; "Federalism and National Groups", International Social Sciences Journal, 2001: "Political liberalism in multinational states: the legitimacy of plural and asymmetrical federalism" in A Gagnon-J.Tully (eds) Multinational Democracies, Cambridge University Press, 2001; "National Pluralism and Federalism. Four Political Scenarios for Spanish Plurinational Democracy", Perspectives on European Politics and Society, 2001; "Cultural Pluralism, Nationalism, and Federalism. A Revision of Democratic Citizenship in Plurinational States", European Journal for Political Research, 1999.

Other works include: European Citizenship, Multiculturalism and the State (Nomos,1998; edited with U. Preuss): Asimetria Federal y Estado Plurinacional. El debate de la diversidad en Canada, Belgica y Espana (Trotta, 1999; edited with E. Fossas); Zoom Politic: democracia, federalisme i nacionalisme des d'una Catalunya europea (Proa,1998); Federalisme, per a que?, (Tres i Quatre,1998)

Brendan O'Duffy holds a PhD from the London School of Economics. He teaches courses of nations, states and nationalism; case studies in ethnic conflict; and democracy in plural societies. His main areas of research include; national and ethnic conflict regulation with particular reference to Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka and Cyprus; Political Violence/Terrorism; and Electoral Systems. His publications include:

`The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE): Majoritarianism, Self-Determination and Military-to-Political Transitions in Sri Lanka' in M. Heiburg, B. O'Leary and J. Turman (eds) Terror, Insurgency and States, Philadelphia, PA: Univ. of Pennsylvania, 2006.

Self Determination and Conflict Regulation in Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka and Beyond, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo, 2003.

`Exchange theory and conflict regulation: Cyprus through the British-Irish (Northern Irish) Prism', Hellenic Studies, vol. 11, no. 4 2003 pp. 137-72.

(with Jonathan Githens-Mazer) 'Status and Statehood: Exchange theory and British-Irish Relations, 1921-41' Commonwealth and Comparative Politics vol. 40, no. 2 July 2002: 120-45.
'British and Irish conflict regulation from Sunningdale to Belfast, Part II: Playing for a Draw 1985-1998'. Nations and Nationalism, vol. 6, no. 3, Sept.. 2000.

'British and Irish conflict regulation from Sunningdale to Belfast, Part I: tracing the status of contesting sovereigns, 1968-1974'. Nations and Nationalism, vol. 5, no. 4, Nov. 1999.

(co-author with Helen Margetts, Patrick Dunleavy and Stuart Weir) Making Votes Count: How Britain would have voted under alternative electoral systems, Joseph Rowntree and Democratic Audit, 1997.

'Violence in Northern Ireland 1969 to 1994: Sectarian or Ethno-National?' in Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 18, no.4 1995:740-72.

David McCrone, is Professor of Sociology, and co-director of the University of Edinburgh's Institute of Governance. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and a Fellow of the British Academy. He co-ordinated the research programme funded by The Leverhulme Trust on Constitutional Change and National Identity (1999-2004), and on. National Identity, Citizenship and Social Inclusion (2006-2010). He was co-director of the ESRC-funded Scottish Election Study 1997, a principal investigator in the Scottish Parliamentary Election Study 1999, and has held a number of research grants over the years from ESRC, Leverhulme, Rowntree, and Nuffield. He has written extensively on the sociology and politics of Scotland, and the comparative study of nationalism. He was a member of the Expert Panel which devised procedures and standing orders for the Scottish Parliament, and was advisor to its Procedures Committee which reviewed the parliament's founding principles. His recent books include:

Has Devolution Delivered? (2006) � with C. Bromley, J. Curtice and A. Park;

Living in Scotland: social and economic change since 1980 (2004) � with L. Paterson and F. Bechhofer;

Understanding Scotland: the sociology of a nation (2001):

New Scotland, New Society? (2001) � with J. Curtice, A. Park and L. Paterson; New Scotland: New Politics? (2000) � with L. Paterson et a15; he Sociology of Nationalism: tomorrow's ancestors (1998)



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