Skip to content
Open global navigation

Cambridge University Press

AcademicLocation selectorSearch toggleMain navigation toggle

Your Cart


You have 0 items in your cart.

Register Sign in Wishlist

Waves of War
Nationalism, State Formation, and Ethnic Exclusion in the Modern World

$34.99 (P)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics

  • Date Published: January 2013
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107673243

$34.99 (P)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Why did the nation-state emerge and proliferate across the globe? How is this process related to the wars fought in the modern era? Analyzing datasets that cover the entire world over long stretches of time, Andreas Wimmer focuses on changing configurations of power and legitimacy to answer these questions. The nationalist ideal of self-rule gradually diffused over the world and delegitimized empire after empire. Nationalists created nation-states wherever the power configuration favored them, often at the end of prolonged wars of secession. The elites of many of these new states were institutionally too weak for nation-building and favored their own ethnic communities. Ethnic rebels challenged such exclusionary power structures in violation of the principles of self-rule, and neighboring governments sometimes intervened into these struggles over the state. 'Waves of War' demonstrates why nation-state formation and ethnic politics are crucial to understand the civil and international wars of the past 200 years.

    • A new analysis of the rise and global spread of the nation-state and the associated conflicts and wars - a crucial, but often overlooked, process that shaped the modern world
    • Introduces a fresh perspective on war and conflict by highlighting the crucial role of political legitimacy
    • Based on solid quantitative evidence from new, original datasets that cover the entire world
    Read more


    • Winner of the 2013 Outstanding Book Award from the Peace, War and Social Conflict Section of the American Sociological Association
    • Received an Honourable Mention for the 2013 Barrington Moore Book Award, American Sociological Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    "For all their usefulness, quantitative studies of conflict often suffer from theoretical shallowness and historical myopia. Andreas Wimmer complements his quantitative study of global conflict with a deep theoretical understanding of nationalism and ethnicity. He then embeds it into a powerful historical account of the rise and spread of the nation-state during the past two centuries. Waves of War is a critical and timely contribution to the study of conflict that sets a new standard." - Stathis N. Kalyvas, Yale University

    "Combining the broad landscapes of comparative macro sociology (in the tradition of Stein Rokkan) with data-filled attention to the micro processes of nation formation (in the tradition of Karl Deutsch), Andreas Wimmer paints an original and compelling picture of the historical development of the nation-state and the relationship of state-building to contemporary violence." - David D. Laitin, Watkins Professor of Political Science, Stanford University

    "Andreas Wimmer’s Waves of War uses quantitative comparative-historical analysis with stunning success to address some of the biggest questions of macrosociology: the creation of large-scale ethnic communities, the birth of the nation-state, and the role of warfare in the creation of the modern political world." - James Mahoney, Northwestern University

    “Andreas Wimmer’s Waves of War: Nationalism, State Formation, and Ethnic Exclusion in the Modern World is a sweeping study of the rise of the nation-state, the incidence of ethnic exclusion, and the onset and prevalence of civil and interstate wars...highly imaginative and offers much in the way of future research agendas for scholars of conflict. It is well worth the read. “ -Erin K. Jenne, Central European University, H-Diplo

    "Beginning in the nineteenth century, cycles of violent upheaval and world war collapsed empires and dynastic kingdoms, while the nation-state spread to every corner of the globe. This ambitious book provides one of the best accounts yet of this grand transformation of the global political order, driven by the explosive appeal of nationalism and self-rule... Wimmer’s major contribution is to demonstrate how the spread of the nation-state generated violence and war. Marshaling carefully assembled quantitative evidence, Wimmer shows that the incidence of war more than doubled once nationalism gained a foothold in world politics and triggered violent struggles over borders, ethnicity, and self-determination."-G. John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107673243
    • length: 346 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • contains: 17 b/w illus. 35 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction and summary
    2. The birth of the nation
    3. The global rise of the nation-state
    4. Nation-state formation and war
    5. Ethnic politics and armed conflict
    6. Can peace be engineered?
    7. Conclusion

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • War and the Nation state
  • Author

    Andreas Wimmer, Princeton University, New Jersey
    Andreas Wimmer is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research is aimed at understanding the dynamics of nation-state formation, ethnic boundary making and political conflict from a comparative perspective. He is the author of Nationalist Exclusion and Ethnic Conflict: Shadows of Modernity (Cambridge University Press, 2002) and his articles have been published by the American Journal of Sociology, the American Sociological Review, World Politics, Sociological Theory and Ethnic and Racial Studies, among others. Professor Wimmer's work has won best article awards from the Comparative Historical, Political, Cultural and Theory sections of the American Sociological Association as well as the Thyssen Prize for Best Article in the Social Sciences.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Back to top

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.

Cancel Delete

Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.