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Containing Nationalism$
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Michael Hechter

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199247516

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019924751X.001.0001

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Indirect Rule and the Absence of Nationalism

Indirect Rule and the Absence of Nationalism

(p.35) Chapter 3 Indirect Rule and the Absence of Nationalism
Containing Nationalism

Michael Hechter (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Nationalism is principally a modern phenomenon because, for the great bulk of human history, there was no disjuncture between the boundaries of the nation and those of the governance unit. Owing to high communication costs, most premodern states were compelled to rely on indirect rule to govern spatially distant territories. Over time, this kind of rule led to an outcome in which culturally distinct territories were governed by traditional authorities. Since, over time, these local authorities usually came to share the same culture as that of their subjects, cultural differences did not tend to be a basis of political conflict.

Keywords:   communications costs, cultural assimilation, cultural difference, federalism, indirect rule, modernity of nationalism, state formation, traditional authority

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