The Evolving Meaning of Nationhood

Nations are political entities with organized political systems that exert influence over their populations. There are different types of nations and each type of nation has a political system that defines the relationship between its government and its people. A country is a political community of individuals, grouped together based on a set of historical, cultural, language, and a shared heritage. In most cases, a nation consists of a group of people whose cultural and ethnic backgrounds are similar. A nation-state is considered as an artificial political entity, created by human beings, that exerts political power over its citizens. The concept of nation states is rooted in the concept of human rights, the rule of authority, territorial integrity and the existence of distinct identities.


Nationalism is defined as the idea of a nation existing as an abstract idea and not based on any biological reality. Nationalism can be used to refer to a set of political ideas or sentiments, such as support for a national football league, admiration for a national hero, adherence to national cultural norms or national identities, or even an attachment to one’s race or nation. Often, the idea of being a nation comes from romantic memories of colonization or immigration. However, nationalism has a much larger definition that includes fear of immigration, resistance to expansion, and the need to define one’s identity despite the existence of states or boundaries.

Defining nation-hood requires taking into account various definitions of what a nation looks like, where it exists and who identifies as a nation. Nation-ology is very much related to identity politics, with the goal of identifying one’s own identity regardless of one’s location in a global context. This article proposes a hybrid model for conceptualizing a nation as an imagined set of categories, instead of an existing biological reality, which we will label “Nation-hood”. Our proposed definition combines the traditional idea of nation-hood with an emerging understand of how nationality relates to identifying with a group one identifies with a national identity.