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You are here Postgraduate > MSc in Comparative Social Change > Course Structure and Handbook

Nationalism and Social Change

Module Code: SOC40620 (UCD)

  • ECTS Credit : 10
  • Mandatory/ Optional : Optional
  • Module Coordinator : Prof Sinisa Malesevic and Dr Iarfhlaith Watson, School of Sociology, UCD

Module Description:

This module aims to explore the key theoretical approaches in the study of ethnicity and nationalism. The focus is on understanding the sociological foundations of the large scale historical changes that have shaped the world over the last three hundred years. The module provides a thematic survey of these long term historical developments with a spotlight on the relationships between ethnicity, nationalism and modernity. More specifically the module addresses the cultural, political, economic, and social aspects of nation formation in Europe and other continents.  The module aims to examine major research traditions in the study of ethnicity and nationalism, and to relate these approaches to other key themes in sociology.

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of the module students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the main sociological approaches in the study of ethnicity and nationalism;
  • Evaluate the role modernity has played in the formation of nations and nationalisms;
  • Appraise the general relationships between ethnicity, nationalism and society in the broader historical and geographical contexts. 

Lectures & Tutorials/ Contact hours:

  • Module Length: 11 weeks (Hilary Term)
  • Workload: Readings: 70hrs; Formative assessment (e.g. practice-based activities): 65hrs; Summative assessment (e.g. essays, journals): 65hrs. Total: 200 hours

Recommended Texts

Key Reading:

  • Anderson, B. (1991) ‘The Origins of National Consciousness’ in his Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso, pp. 37-46.
  • Anderson, B. (1991) ‘Memory and Forgetting’ in his Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso, pp. 187-206.
  • Gellner, E. (1983) ‘The Transition to an Age of Nationalism’ in his Nations and Nationalism. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 39-52.
  • Gellner, E. (1997) ‘Do Nations have Navels?’ in his Nationalism. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, pp. 90 –101.
  • Malešević, S. (2013) Is Nationalism Intrinsically Violent? Nationalism and Ethnic Politics. 19(1): 12-37.
  • Mann, M. (2005) The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ch. 1 The Argument, pp. 1-33.
  • Smith, A. (2009). ‘Basic Themes of Ethno-Symbolism’ in his Ethno-Symbolism and Nationalism: Cultural Approach. London: Routledge.
  • Smith, A. (1986) ‘Foundations of Ethnic Community’ in his The Ethnic Origins of Nations. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Yuval-Davis, N. (1996) Women and the Biological Reproduction of ‘The Nation’. Women's Studies International Forum, 19(1): 17-24.


  • End-of-semester essay of 3,000 words: 80%
  • Weekly reading summaries and active participation: 20%