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Palgrave Macmillan

The Nation Form in the Global Age

Ethnographic Perspectives

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  • Open Access
  • © 2022

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  • Goes beyond Europe to focus on nationalism in non-Western regions
  • Focuses on atheism and secularism in countries that present their identities in religious terms
  • Based on ethnographic data comprising extensive fieldwork
  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access

Part of the book series: Global Diversities (GLODIV)

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About this book

This open access book argues that contrary to dominant approaches that view nationalism as unaffected by globalization or globalization undermining the nation-state, the contemporary world is actually marked by globalization of the nation form. Based on fieldwork in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East and drawing, among others, on Peter van der Veer’s comparative work on religion and nation, it discuss practices of nationalism vis-a-vis migration, rituals of sacrifice and prayer, music, media, e-commerce, Islamophobia, bare life, secularism, literature and atheism. The volume offers new understandings of nationalism in a broader perspective.

The text will appeal to students and researchers interested in nationalism outside of the West, especially those working in anthropology, sociology and history.

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Table of contents (14 chapters)

  1. Introduction

  2. India

  3. Asia in/and Europe


These incisive essays provide a sorely needed “vaccination against nationalism” in its increasingly virulent religious and secular forms.  Building on the contributions of Peter van der Veer to the historical and comparative anthropology of the imperial encounter, this volume explores nationalist violence and ethno-religious purification in Europe, South Africa, the Middle East, India, and China. Readers will encounter the extreme precarity of Islamic minorities and migrants, as well as inspiring explorations of alternative imaginaries beyond the nation form.

Kenneth Dean, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore.

This excellent edited volume is a tribute to a major anthropologist of our times that combines approaches based on comparison with an analytic attention to circulation, thus showing us that the nation-form dominates our world because of its viral capacity to find hosts in highly variable cultural, religious and political contexts, which it then pushes in the direction of xenophobia, exclusion and populism.

Arjun Appadurai, Max Weber Global Professor, Bard Graduate Center, New York

This collection of global ethnographies in honor of Peter van der Veer makes evident that the global expansion of the nation is as intrinsic to processes of globalization as the global expansion of capitalist markets. It also shows that in our global age religion and its binary secular remain inextricably intertwined with both dynamics of globalization.

José Casanova, Emeritus Professor, Georgetown University


Editors and Affiliations

  • Department of Sociology, Ibn Haldun University, Istanbul, Turkey

    Irfan Ahmad

  • Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, Germany

    Jie Kang

About the editors

Irfan Ahmad is currently Professor of Anthropology at the department of Sociology at Ibn Haldun University, Istanbul, Turkey. Prior to this new appointment, Ahmad worked as Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, Germany. A political anthropologist, he has taught and done research works at University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University in the Netherlands and Monash University (Melbourne) and Australian Catholic University (Melbourne) in Australia. He is the author, most recently, of Religion As Critique: Islamic Critical Thinking from Mecca to the Marketplace (2017) and editor of Anthropology and Ethnography are Not Equivalent: Reorienting Anthropology for the Future (2021).


Jie Kang is  Research Fellow and Project Coordinator for ‘Cultural diversity in South-West China and South-East Asia' and 'Temples, rituals and the transformation of transnational network’ at MPI’s Department of Religious Diversity. She is the author of House Church Christianity in China: From Rural Preachers to City Pastors (2016).  


Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: The Nation Form in the Global Age

  • Book Subtitle: Ethnographic Perspectives

  • Editors: Irfan Ahmad, Jie Kang

  • Series Title: Global Diversities

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2022

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-85579-6Published: 30 January 2022

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-85582-6Published: 30 January 2022

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-85580-2Published: 29 January 2022

  • Series ISSN: 2662-2580

  • Series E-ISSN: 2662-2599

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XIX, 386

  • Number of Illustrations: 8 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Ethnography, Political Sociology, Sociology of Religion

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