Postmodernity and the decline of the nation-state : a British case-study
This thesis is a critical examination of the fundamental transformations that late capitalist societies have undergone in the last few decades and their impact on the modern institution of the nation-state. With the subsumption of industrial capitalism by a digital and informational capitalism; with the advent of global computerised network systems, software packages, satellite telecommunications, the internet, the website, and the simultaneous decline of national industries, 'national' societies have visibly changed in the last few decades. Their borders are more salient; their 'national' governments are less in charge of the dynamics of their 'national' economies; their sovereignties are threatened by 'the euro' and 'the global'; their cultures are exposed to the uninterrupted bombardment of adverts, images, signs and suggestive strategies of multinational companies for a higher level of disposable consumption; their distinctive 'national' commonalties are confronted by the media-led hyperreal culture of global consumerism and their distinct sense of time and place in history is blurred. These transformations are conceptualised and analysed as a paradigmatic shift from Modernity to postmodernity. Furthermore the institution of the nation-state is proposed and reasoned to be perceived as an institution of Modernity in which the primordial need for bonding and belonging is crystallised. The conjunction of the conditions of Modernity with the primordial need for belonging allowed the modern ideology of state nationalism to masterfully claim eternity for the nation-state itself. This thesis argues for the temporality of the nation-state while preserving the notion of a primordial and transverse mode of collective being based on vernacular cultures and ethnicities. The temporality of the nation-state is empirically substantiated in this thesis in reference to the twin postmodern forces of 'globalisation' and 'localisation' which work to denationalise collective identities by rendering their 'national' borders obsolete.