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Rebecca Pates

Rebecca Pates graduated from Oxford University with First Class Honours in Philosophy and Modern Languages and from McGill University in Montreal with a PhD in Political Philosophy. Since 2001 she has been at Leipzig University’s Political Science Department. She has worked on Trafficking, Right-Wing Youth Movements and most recently on nationalisms in Germany. Her current research project is Strangers in their own Land? On the Malleability of National Narratives through Political Laboratories (funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research). Her next publication is (with Julia Leser) The Wolves are Coming Back. On the Politics of Fear in Eastern Germany (Manchester University Press)

Engines of Exclusion. A Political Ethnography of Nationalism

National Identity might mean membership to an imagined community, but this imaginary is not private, nor is it merely subjective or grounded in personal feelings. Rather, it is institutionalised through citizenship and thus constitutes the main engine of exclusion for the state. And yet, as in the case of the UK, where citizenship is British and national identity might very well be Scottish, Welsh or English, we can see that the state practices of exclusion mismatch the everyday life of the national identities. There is thus a cleavage between the state constitution of national identity through machineries of paper with its character in everyday practices. For the nation also has a life on the streets, in pubs and in party meetings. There, everyday exhortations of the nation have a number of discrete functions, namely with reference to whom is excluded from the imagined community and why. In an age of rising nationalisms, how the nation is „made“ in everyday life and why has become a focal point for understanding changing political landscapes. I shall provide an overview of the functions of references to the nation on the basis of 150 interviews we have conducted in 2018 and 2019 in four German Länder. The reseach project Strangers in their own Land? is financed by the BMBF.