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date: 28 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The nation-state is widely considered one of the most important influences on contentious collective action. This chapter examines how large-scale structural change in the character of the nation-state has affected contentious politics. In particular, it focusses on three dimensions of such change: the growth and complexity of state institutions; the state’s thorough entanglement with issues of identity and mass culture; and the effects of globalization on states. The chapter raises a series of issues that merit greater attention than they currently receive: the effects of global formal institutional convergence, pervasive informal relationships, and global trends toward state contraction on contentious politics; the critical importance of symbolic politics in underpinning and fending off challenges to states; and the ways in which the growth and rapidity of cross-border movement of capital, information, and people has injected greater volatility into the political sphere, challenging the capacities of states to structure collective action.

Keywords: Nation-state, contentious politics, institutional growth, informality, nationalism, symbolic politics, globalization

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