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Two visions of the nation-state : a comparative analysis of Heinrich von Treitschke and Ernest Renan's conceptions of the nation-state and nationality

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Two visions of the nation-state : a comparative analysis of Heinrich von Treitschke and Ernest Renan's conceptions of the nation-state and nationality

Sischy, Paul (2007) Two visions of the nation-state : a comparative analysis of Heinrich von Treitschke and Ernest Renan's conceptions of the nation-state and nationality. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

In the late nineteenth century, the German historian Heinrich von Treitschke and the French historian Ernest Renan proposed competing conceptions of the nation-state and nationality. Treitschke's organicist conception saw nation-states as primordial entities that have permanent characteristics and whose interests stood above those of the individual. Renan's voluntarist conception saw nation-states as modern entities entered into on an individual basis, which were not defined according to an ethno-linguistic criterion. This thesis analyzes these conceptions as they were put forth in Treitschke's and Renan's primary works on the subject, as well as in their responses to the Franco-Prussian war (1870-71) and Germany's annexation of Alsace-Lorraine, which Treitschke supported and Renan opposed. Lastly, it examines the relationship of Treitschke's and Renan's conceptions of the nation-state to the dominant historical discourses of each historian's respective country. In doing so, it demonstrates that Treitschke's thought was consistently guided by his belief that humanity is unequal and that the interests of the nation-state exist as the highest ideal. For Treitschke the essence of the nation-state lay in its ability to express its will either through the submission of its members or in its interaction with other nation-states. In contrast, Renan's thought is guided by his belief that humanity is the highest ideal and that international relations should be guided according to this ideal. Whereas Treitschke's conception of the nation-state was reflective of nineteenth century German historiography, Renan's was less so with respect to French historiography of the period.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Sischy, Paul
Pagination:iv, 139 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:History
Date:2007
Thesis Supervisor(s):Ingram, Norman
ID Code:975781
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:14
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:41
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