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HomelandsShifting Borders and Territorial Disputes$
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Nadav G. Shelef

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780801453489

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801453489.001.0001

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Understanding Homelands

Understanding Homelands

(p.8) 1 Understanding Homelands

Nadav G. Shelef

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores the theoretical arguments that homelands matter, that their contours can change, and that evolutionary processes arising from domestic political contestation could account for such transformations. Nationalism calls homelands into being; it is the nationalist project that transforms mere land into homeland and sanctifies it. The chapter shows that, despite its importance to nationalists, two aspects of the homeland are often domestically contested: (1) exactly which tracts of land are part of it; and (2) what logic or combination of logics is used to designate land as part of the homeland. It is the outcome of the political competition between movements that vary in the answers they provide to one or both of these questions that selects which shape of the homeland becomes taken for granted in the wider society and whether lost lands come to be excluded from it. The chapter then develops the empirically observable implications of this theory as well as alternative explanations for contractions in the homeland's scope. These implications serve as the foundation for the empirical exploration in both the cases studies and the cross-national statistical analysis that follow.

Keywords:   homelands, domestic political contestation, nationalism, nationalists, political competition, lost lands

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