Globalization and Nationalist Subjectivities

  • Siniša MaleševićEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in International Relations book series (PSIR)


One of the key themes of contemporary sociology is individualization. Over the last two decades variety of social theorists, including Ulrich Beck, Anthony Giddens, and Zygmunt Bauman, have emphasized that the present-day world is unique in its pronounced focus on the reflexive self-actualization and self-definition of modern individuals. These scholars argue that late modernity is characterized by the gradual weakening of collective identities, be they class, nation, or religion, and ever-increasing focus on fashioning one’s own life according to one’s individual choices, that is to say the formation of modern subjectivities. In the words of Beck and Beck-Gernsheim (2002, 2) instead of the traditional “social norms and regulations” “individuals must, in part, supply […] [these norms and regulations] for themselves, import them into their biographies through their own actions.” This shift toward individualization and modern subjectivities is understood as being directly caused by globalization, a phenomenon seen as historically unique in its scope and impact. For these authors, globalization melts traditional social identities and fosters dynamic forms of subjectivity where collective identity markers such as class and nationhood lose their significance. More specifically this view is premised on the idea that globalization, individualization, and nationalism are mutually exclusive processes. While nationalism is associated with the preservation of state sovereignty, globalization and individualization are understood to stand for subjectively articulated worldwide integration. Whereas globalization and individualization involve open borders and interchange of trade, knowledge, products, ideas, and people, nationalist ideologies advocate the safeguarding of economic and political autonomy and protection of cultural authenticity.


Modern Subjectivity Nationalist Ideology Reflexive Self-actualization Pronounced Focus Nationalist Themes 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University College DublinDublinIreland

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