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Hubris and melancholy in multinational states

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The article sets out to explore the rather different roles that hubris and melancholy can play in the relations between majority and minority nationalities within multinational states. In the case of majority-type nationalities, there is a sense of being a Staatsvolk, a feeling reinforced by linguistic, cultural, geographical, and political characteristics associated with the larger nation-state. There may also be a sense of pride caught up with the larger identity between the nation-state and the empire with which it is associated. For their part, minority-type nationalities have been more prone to express their national sentiment in melancholic terms. Hence a tendency to dwell on lost battles of the past, on suppressed rebellions, on recurrent threats of assimilation and linguistic extinction. There may be elements both of hubris and of melancholy to national sentiment in multinational states, and the dialectic between the two colours their overall political development.
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Keywords: empire; hubris; melancholy; multinational states

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Political Science, University of British Columbia, Canada

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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