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Nationalism, development and integration: the political economy of Ernest Gellner

  • Ugo Pagano

In this paper, we show how in Gellner we can find a stimulating analysis of the institutional equilibria that characterise agrarian and industrial society and the conditions that make possible institutional change from one equilibrium to another. This allows a convincing account of the reasons why some countries industrialised before others and why nationalism had such an uneven impact on the development of market economies. We consider the relation between Gellner's analysis and other theories of organisation and point out how Gellner can help to solve some paradoxes that arise in these theories. We also argue that joining Gellner's contribution to the analysis of the positional nature of status and power reinforces his conclusion about the necessary stagnation of agrarian societies and the necessary (over)accumulation of different forms of capitalism. We conclude by examining the implications of his analysis for the process of globalisation and its challenge to national states. Copyright 2003, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Cambridge Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 27 (2003)
Issue (Month): 5 (September)
Pages: 623-646

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Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:27:y:2003:i:5:p:623-646
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