Miroslav Hroch
Defining "Nation"


NOTE: Miroslav Hroch is a important Czech political theorist. The essay cited from here offers an important definition of "nation."


"Now the 'nation is not, of course, an eternal category, but was the product of a long and complicated process of historical development in Europe. For our purposes, let us define it at the outset as a large social group integrated not by one but by a combination of several kinds of objective relationships (economic, political, linguistic, cultural, religious, geographical, historical), and their subjective reflection in collective consciousness. Many of these ties could be mutually substituable - some playing a particularly important role in one nation-building process, and no more than a subidiary part in others. But among them, three stand out as irreplaceable: (1) a 'memory' of some common past, treated as a 'destiny' of the group - or at least of its core constituents; (2) a density of linguistic or cultural ties enabling a higher degree of social communication within the group than beyond it; (3) a conception of the equality of all members of the group organized as a civil society."

Hroch, Miroslav. "From National Movement to the Fully-formed Nation: The Nation-building Process in Europe," in Balakrishnan, Gopal, ed. Mapping the Nation. New York and London: Verso, 1996: pp. 78-97. See especially p. 79.