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Relocating nationalism: on the geographies of reproducing nations

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The paper examines the distinction that has been made in studies of nationalism between national elites and the ordinary members of nations. While the distinction is useful as a way of beginning to conceptualise the mechanisms through which nations and nationalisms are reproduced, it can also reify a boundary between national elites and the mass membership of the nation that is, in actual fact, blurred and unstable in character. Through case studies of nationalist campaigns relating to education and linguistic rights in the town of Aberystwyth in West Wales, the paper argues that a focus on the places in which national ideologies are produced, circulated and consumed can enable us to question the distinction that is made between the national elites and ordinary members of the nation. As well as illustrating the poly-vocal production of Welsh nationalism, the empirical research also suggests the need to re-examine the social and spatial contexts within which nationalism is reproduced.

Keywords: Aberystwyth; Wales; national elite; nationalism; place; qualitative research

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Ceredigion SY23 3DB, Email:

Publication date: July 1, 2008


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