Negotiating Nations: Exclusions, Networks, Inclusions — An Introduction


  • Dirk Hoerder


The concept of nation is usually understood to include all people within the respective boundaries, and the concept of state to treat all equally. From an analytical perspective, however, these concepts are not mutually reinforcing or even complementary, but contradictory. Political practice and power relationships exclude particular groups because of ethno-culture, religion, gender, class, or “race”. Who belongs, struggles for belonging, or is excluded is a matter of negotiation in power relationships. Non-territorial peoples, diasporic peoples, settled groups who became minorities in larger political entities, working-class men and women, and those regarded as socially inferior have gained admission to national belonging and equal rights only late, or are still struggling for inclusion. An international symposium, “Recasting European and Canadian History: National Con-sciousness, Migration, Multicultural Lives”, brought together scholars from twelve European states and two North American ones to reconsider approaches to migration and the interaction of many cultures in the European past and present. A selection of papers dealing with inclusion in and exclusion from nation-states is presented here.