The importance of space for understanding political mobilisation

Bouwers, Eveline G. and Whelehan, Niall (2017) The importance of space for understanding political mobilisation. Immigrants and Minorities, 35 (3). pp. 149-156. (

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This special issue considers the categories of ‘homeland’ and ‘hostland’ as a means to approach questions of identity, loyalty and estrangement that both inspired and shaped political mobilisation in the early twentieth century world. The decade prior to the First World War and the wartime era can be considered as a transitional juncture, spreading across historians’ periodisations. These years represent the final frame of the long nineteenth century and the closure of the belle époque, the era ending with the outbreak of the First World War, or the watershed year of 1917, which saw the Russian Revolution, the American entry into the war and the fading fortunes of the Ottoman Empire. At the same time, they represent the first chapter of the twentieth century, when nationalist and imperialist tensions sharpened and produced a new era of violent conflict. On the one hand, the early twentieth century was a time in which modern territoriality, which Charles S. Maier refers to as the organisation of a ‘space with a border that allows effective control of public and political life’, reached its apogee, as seen in rising nationalism and state centralisation.11. Maier, “Transformations of Territoriality,” 34. View all notes On the other hand, these were years characterised by movement across these same borders: mass migration, colonial expansionism, missionary movements and, in the other direction, imperial fragmentation and regionalism.