Kornprobst, Markus.
Kornprobst, Markus. "Episteme, nation‐builders and national identity: the re‐construction of Irishness." Nations and Nationalism 11.3 (2005): 403-421.
Publication year: 2005

Episteme, nation-builders, and national identity: The re-construction of Irishness*

By Markus Kornprobst




There are many disagreements among the three main paradigms of the nationalism literature. Yet most modernists, ethno-symbolists and constructivists agree that elites play a key role in inventing and re-inventing nations. Notwithstanding this insight, none of these schools of thought has generated a compelling answer to the question of why the inventors of a certain nation build, out of an infinite number of possibilities, a particular nationness. Analysing the case of 20th century Irish identity, this paper seeks to shed light on this question by inquiring into the process through which elites come to imagine the nation that they seek to build. I argue that epistemic understandings of the world delineate which kinds of national identity are conceivable for, and plausible to, nation-building elites.



  • International Relations


Last draft before final version and publication in Nations and Nationalism 11/3 (2005)


Full bibliographical details: Kornprobst, Markus. „Episteme, nation‐builders and national identity: the re‐construction of Irishness.“ Nations and Nationalism 11.3 (2005): 403-421.

* The author would like to thank Emanuel Adler for many thought-provoking discussions about epistemes and identity, as well as Ronald Beiner, Steven Bernstein, Sarah Hipworth, Sheila Rusike, Susan G. Solomon, Janice G. Stein, and the anonymous referees of Nations and Nationalism for helpful comments on earlier drafts.