Karl Deutsch Award Lecture

Award Sessions
Session Chair: Hasret Dikici Bilgin

2023 Karl Deutsch Award Recipient: John Coakley


John Coakley

Routes towards Nationalist Mobilisation: Comparative European Patterns

As the quest for a general theory of nationalism continues to challenge researchers, the pursuit of partial theories spanning a more restricted geopolitical or historical range may offer more promise. This paper confines itself to the growth of separatist nationalism in Europe around the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It uses existing analyses and census and other data to explore the impact of socio-economic modernisation and cultural assimilation on the shifting context within which counter-elites could challenge existing state structures. It examines the stages through which such counter-elites advanced their project, and outlines the distinctive ingredients that made up nationalist ideology (including an origin myth, a myth of national evolution, and sometimes a myth of ‘destiny’, possibly incorporating a claim to a particular ‘national territory’). While the extension of political and social rights potentially opened the way for mass nationalist mobilisation, the political programme of emerging nationalist parties was inevitably reshaped or radicalised by the turmoil associated with such cataclysmic events as the first world war. The paper concludes by speculating on the capacity of this European model to shed light on the dynamics of similar movements in other continents or at other times.


John Coakley is Emeritus Professor of Politics at University College Dublin, a fellow of the UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy and an Honorary Professor at Queen’s University Belfast. He is a former Secretary-General of the International Political Science Association (1994-2000), Vice-President of the International Social Science Council (2002-2006), and member of the European Science Foundation Standing Committee for the Social Sciences (2002-2008). He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and was a Woodrow Wilson Scholar and a Fulbright Scholar. He was founding Director of the Institute for British-Irish Studies, UCD (1999).

Recent publications include various journal articles, book chapters and books, including Nationalism, Ethnicity and the State: Making and Breaking Nations (Sage, 2012), Breaking Patterns of Conflict: Britain, Ireland and the Northern Ireland Question (co-edited with Jenifer Todd, Routledge, 2015), Non-Territorial Autonomy in Divided Societies: Comparative Perspectives (edited, Routledge, 2017), Politics in the Republic of Ireland, 6th ed. (co-edited with Michael Gallagher, Routledge, 2018) and Negotiating a Settlement in Northern Ireland, 1969-2019 (with Jennifer Todd, Oxford University Press, 2020).

In Person