It is rare that circumstances in world history are favorable to the creation of a new kind of global political entity. Nationalism and the nation-state were novelties in the nineteenth century, as E. J. Hobsbawm (1990) convincingly demonstrates, but their connection with modernity was concealed by nationalist identifications with natural ties, permanent homelands, archaic cultures, and timeless bonds of common history. A similar global movement, which I refer to here as “indigenism,” has gained momentum over the last few decades largely out of the notice of observers, pundits, and theorists of international events. This movement, it is true, is smaller in scale, more fragile, less turbulent than the nationalist upheavals of the past two centuries, but it nevertheless has the potential to influence the way states manage their affairs, and even to reconfigure the usual alignments of nationalism and state sovereignty.
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