One state-one nation: the naturalisation of nation–state congruency in IR theory

  • Moran M Mandelbaum
Article

Abstract

This paper suggests that the notion of nation–state congruency has become a ‘leitmotif’ in International Relations (IR) theory, especially since the end of the Cold War. Congruent states are often constructed as the precursor of liberal democracy, peace, and modernity, while security in particular is discursively intertwined with nation–state congruency. This paper asks: how has this congruency discourse become so embedded in IR theory and, consequently, what can we learn about the nexus between IR and the states/international system? These questions are of a ‘how-possible’ and critical nature that engage with the power dynamics and thus the effects that emerge from this ‘congruency bias’. To answer these, I deploy the ‘discursive practices approach’ and show the various practices/strategies through which congruency is constituted and established, naturalised and legitimated. Finally, I conclude by proposing to inquire genealogically into the conditions of emergence of nation–state congruency in IR and modernity.

Keywords

discursive practices approach genealogy IR theory nation–state nationalism 

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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Moran M Mandelbaum
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies (SPAIS), University of BristolUK

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