Conclusion: Nation and Diversity — A False Conundrum

  • Marco Antonsich
  • Tatiana Matejskova
Part of the Global Diversities book series (GLODIV)


In this brief chapter at the end of a collection of essays which have thoroughly investigated multifarious aspects of diversity in a variety of contexts and from a plurality of disciplinary perspectives, we wish to reflect on the place of the nation. Why so? Because it seems to us that one of the most enduring obstacles to thinking of diversity as a constituent component of today’s societies is the way nations remain conceptualized in the mainstream. Nations are often perceived as mono-cultural entities, singular in their cultural essence and often in the people who compose them. According to one of its most renowned analysts, Anthony D. Smith (1991, p. 14), the nation is “a named human population sharing an historic territory, common myths and historical memories, a mass, public culture, a common economy and common legal rights and duties for all members”. The point here is not so much to contest this substantialist understanding of nationhood, as aptly pointed out by Brubaker (1994). Rather, it is to suggest that if one holds such a mono-culturalist understanding of “nation”, it is not surprising that diversity becomes a clear threat. This is apparent when it comes to current public discourses. In fact, increasing efforts to treat diversity as a new governmental paradigm continue to coexist with a general public idea that diversity, particularly when associated with international migration, past or present, is problematic or undesirable (Citrin & Sides, 2008; Simon & Sikich, 2007).


Social Cohesion International Migration National Identity Community Cohesion Public Culture 


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© Marco Antonsich and Tatiana Matejskova 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco Antonsich
  • Tatiana Matejskova

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