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Gellner's theory of nationalism was developed by Ernest Gellner over a number of publications from around the early s to his death. Gellner defined nationalism as "primarily a political principle which holds that the political and the national unit should be congruent"  and as.
It means the general diffusion of a school-mediated, academy supervised idiom, codified for the requirements of a reasonably precise bureaucratic and technological communication. It is the establishment of an anonymous impersonal society, with mutually sustainable atomised individuals, held together above all by a shared culture of this kind, in place of the previous complex structure of local groups, sustained by folk cultures reproduced locally and idiosyncratically by the micro-groups themselves.
Gellner analyzed nationalism by a historical perspective. For Gellner, nationalism was a sociological condition  and a likely but not guaranteed he noted exceptions in multilingual states like Switzerland , Belgium and Canada  result of modernisation, the transition from agrarian to industrial society. Thomas Hylland Eriksen lists these as "some of the central features of nationalism" in Gellner's theory: .
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Gellner also provided a typology of "nationalism-inducing and nationalism-thwarting situations". Gellner criticised a number of other theoretical explanations of nationalism, including the "naturality theory", which states that it is "natural, self-evident and self-generating" and a basic quality of human being, and a neutral or a positive quality; its dark version, the "Dark Gods theory", which sees nationalism as an inevitable expression of basic human atavistic, irrational passions; Elie Kedourie 's idealist argument that it was an accidental development, an intellectual error of disseminating unhelpful ideas, and not related to industrialisation and the Marxist theory in which nations appropriated the leading role of social classes.
Gellner is considered one of the leading theoreticians on nationalism. Eriksen notes that "nobody contests Ernest Gellner's central place in the research on nationalism over the last few decades".
Gellner's theory has been subject to various criticisms: . From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Nations and Nationalism. British Journal of Political Science. In Athena S.
Leoussi ed. Encyclopaedia of Nationalism.
Transaction Publishers. Critical Review.
Theories of Nationalism and National Identity: An Introduction
Nations and Nationalism in a Global Era. October History and Theory. Ethnonationalism: The Quest for Understanding.
Princeton University Press. Categories : Nationalism Sociological theories Political science theories.