Chapter

Indirect Rule and the Absence of Nationalism

Michael Hechter

in Containing Nationalism

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780199247516
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599460 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019924751X.003.0003
 Indirect Rule and the Absence of Nationalism

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Nationalism is principally a modern phenomenon because, for the great bulk of human history, there was no disjuncture between the boundaries of the nation and those of the governance unit. Owing to high communication costs, most premodern states were compelled to rely on indirect rule to govern spatially distant territories. Over time, this kind of rule led to an outcome in which culturally distinct territories were governed by traditional authorities. Since, over time, these local authorities usually came to share the same culture as that of their subjects, cultural differences did not tend to be a basis of political conflict.

Keywords: communications costs; cultural assimilation; cultural difference; federalism; indirect rule; modernity of nationalism; state formation; traditional authority

Chapter.  6952 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Political Theory

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