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Re-Imagining the Nation

Debates on Immigrants, Identities and Memories

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Mette Zolner

Why are national identities imagined in one way rather than in another? The book analyses national imaginations as an on-going reconstruction process in a political and social context in which several imaginations of the nation struggle to impose their conception. Focusing on a fundamental element of any collective identity, namely the «Other», the book looks at the reconstruction of national identities by actors in political debates on immigration in the late 1980s and 1990s, particularly associations and political clubs which were in favour of and against the presence of immigrant minorities in their respective countries. Thus, the book investigates different ways of imagining the same nation in two old European nation-states, namely France and Denmark, which differ with regard to their nation-building processes, their Second World War history, their memory of colonialism and their experience of immigration. It is thus possible to illustrate that existing ideas of the nation and memories of historical events shape the way in which the nation could be re-imagined in the 1980s and 1990s.
Contents: Nation – Immigration – Collective Memory – France – Denmark – Extreme-Right.