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Religious Nationalism and Adaptation in Southeast Europe

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2018

Neophytos G. Loizides*
School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, Queen's University Belfast, 21 University Square, Belfast BT7 1PA, Northern Ireland, UK. Email:


Relating nationalism to other ideologies or cultural value systems is an enigmatic scholarly activity. The enigma lies in the kaleidoscopic nature of nationalism and the ease with which it adapts to philosophically opposed ideologies. Nationalism, for instance, often assumes ties to liberalism, even though it presupposes a strong commitment to a national community that transcends individualism. It accommodates conservatism fairly well despite nationalism's modernizing mission, and it has often been paired with communism, regardless of the latter's internationalist rhetoric. Finally, nationalism and religion often go hand in hand, despite their deep philosophical incompatibilities and asymmetries. For example, nationalist ideologies often encourage violence against outgroup members even where religious doctrines strictly prohibit physical force. Inherently local, philosophically poor, and limited in scope or outreach, nationalism lacks a belief in afterlife salvation or in creative intelligence as source of meaning behind the universe. Yet it frequently dominates identity construction, overshadowing the primacy of Christianity or Islam which are universal in their message of salvation.

Copyright © 2009 Association for the Study of Nationalities 

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