The Demand for Sovereignty and the Emergence of Nationalism

Michael Hechter

in Containing Nationalism

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780199247516
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599460 | DOI:
 The Demand for Sovereignty and the Emergence of Nationalism

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The members of any nation would prefer to be sovereign rather than to be ruled by non‐nationals because this maximizes the chance that the government will provide them with an optimal mix of public goods. This general preference is affected by the net benefit of continued affiliation with the central authority. To the degree that the centre provides minority nationals with protection, and economic and social welfare, the demand for sovereignty will be attenuated. Hence, nationalist secession is most likely to occur in multinational states whose centres are subject to military and economic setbacks. However, the demand for sovereignty also depends on the nation's capacity to engage in collective action, which is affected by state institutions.

Keywords: consumption; free‐rider problem; institutional constraints; minority nations; production; public goods; self‐determination; voluntary associations

Chapter.  7115 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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