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Nationalism and Politics: The Political Behavior of Nation States

Martha L. Cottam and Richard W. Cottam
Nationalism and Politics: The Political Behavior of Nation States
ISBN: 978-1-55587-919-8
ISBN: 978-1-62637-006-7
2000/305 pages/LC: 00-032858

"Theoretically rigorous and cogently argued book.... should be read by all students in the field."—Nader Entessar, Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism

"This is an important book for students of nationalism.... deserves to be read and debated."—Choice

"Anyone seeking to understand the limits to globalization might turn first to this important volume.... The Cottams have produced a provocative, richly detailed, and profoundly humane study."—Lars Schoultz

"A powerful theoretical approach and fascinating case studies make this book a must read for all those interested in the dynamics and patterns of nationalist conflict."—Thomas Preston

"Sophisticated but remarkably accessible.... An important bridge between the study of identity politics and the study of world politics."—Rick Herrman


As nationalism increasingly captures our attention through its impact on intercommunal violence and even the stability of states, this fresh look at the phenomenon plumbs an important aspect of its power: how nationalism affects the domestic and foreign-policy behavior of states.

Systematically examining a range of states and societies, the Cottams draw on case studies from Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. Their sophisticated discussion of nationalism and the patterns of political behavior it gives rise to is a critical bridge between the study of identity politics and theories of international relations.


Martha Cottam is professor of political science at Washington State University. She is author of The Changing Agenda: World Politics Since 1945 and Images and Intervention: U.S. Policies in Latin America. The late Richard W. Cottam was professor of political science emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh. His numerous publications focused on international relations and the Middle East.


  • Introduction.
  • Nation States.
  • Compound-Identity Nation States: Egypt, the United States, and China.
  • The Political Psychology of Identities and Nationalistic Behavior.
  • Nationalistic Values and the Capability Base of Nation States.
  • Nation States and Foreign Policy: A Case Study.
  • Non-Nation States: Core Community, Multinational, and Multiethnic States.
  • Nationalism and Conflict in the Post-Cold War Era.