Bringing the Nation Back In

Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, and the Struggle to Define a New Politics

Edited by Mark Luccarelli, Rosario Forlenza, and Steven Colatrella

Subjects: Political Science, Sociology, Cultural Studies, History, Anthropology
Series: SUNY series, James N. Rosenau series in Global Politics
Paperback : 9781438477725, 196 pages, January 2021
Hardcover : 9781438477732, 196 pages, March 2020

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents


1. On the Persistence and Difficulties of Political Community: Existential Roots and Pragmatic Outcomes of National Awareness
Mark Luccarelli
Part I. Reassertions of the National

2. Solidarity or Human Rights? National Sovereignty and Citizenship in the Twenty-First Century
Steven Colatrella

3. The Political Landscape and the Nation-State: Arendtian Commons and the American Revolution
Ole Sneltvedt

4. The Nation in the Universal Language of Eco-globalism
Werner Bigell
Part II: Contextualizing the National: Constraints and Possibilities

5. Belonging: Population Genetics, National Imaginaries, and the Making of European Genes
Venla Oikkonen

6. National Time, Literary Form, and Exclusion: The United States in the 1920s
Bruce Barnhart

7. Taking the Boundaries with You: Italy and the National in the Work of Luigi Di Ruscio, an Italian Migrant Writer in Norway
Sergio Sabbatini

8. Monuments Carved in Film: Developing Civic Awareness through the Memory of Fallen Anti-Mafia Activists
Stefano Adamo
Conclusion: Reframing the National?

9. Nation as Home: Anthropological Foundations and Human Needs
Rosario Forlenza


Argues that concern with the nation and national community will be a key factor in redefining twenty-first-century politics.


Bringing the Nation Back In takes as its starting point a series of developments that shaped politics in the United States and Europe over the past thirty years: the end of the Cold War, the rise of financial and economic globalization, the creation of the European Union, and the development of the postnational. This book contends we are now witnessing a break with the post-1945 world order and with modern politics. Two competing ideas have arisen—global cosmopolitanism and populist nationalism. Contributors argue this polarization of social ethos between cosmopolitanism and nationalism is a sign of a deeper political crisis, which they explore from different perspectives. Rather than taking sides, the aim is to diagnose the origins of the current impasse and to "bring the nation back in" by expanding what we mean by "nation" and national identity and by respecting the localizing processes that have led to national traditions and struggles.

Mark Luccarelli is Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Oslo, Norway. His books include The Eclipse of Urbanism and the Greening of Public Space: Image Making and the Search for a Commons in the United States, 1682–1865. Rosario Forlenza is Fellow at the Remarque Institute at New York University. He is the author of On the Edge of Democracy: Italy, 1943–1948. Steven Colatrella is Adjunct Professor of International Political Theory at the University of Padua, Italy, and Adjunct Professor of Government and Sociology at the University of Maryland University College. He is the author of Workers of the World: African and Asian Migrants in Italy in the 1990s.


"This is an innovative and refreshingly idiosyncratic volume that applies a range of bottom-up analyses to the problem of the nation, nationalism, and the nation-state. Framed by very readable and highly informative introductory and concluding chapters, the reader is introduced to the variety of approaches to nationalism, not only regarding methodological approaches and theoretical trends but also regionally specific meanings of the nation." — Harald Wydra, author of Politics and the Sacred