Security threats, linguistic homogeneity, and the necessary conditions for political unification

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The proposition that security threats can drive states to pool their sovereignty has been around for some time. The existence of these threats, according to William Riker, is a necessary condition for political unification. A less common argument centers on linguistic homogeneity; it asserts that states must be sufficiently similar and speak the same language before they can successfully imagine a common state. This paper tests both hypotheses in a large-. N analysis that identifies all instances of voluntary political unification between 1816 and 2001. It takes the form of a falsification probe and examines whether any unification happened in the absence of either an external security threat or a common language. It finds that political unification has occurred in relatively tranquil settings, but that all unifying dyads have shared a common language. Security threats are not a necessary condition, but a common language may well be.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-188
Number of pages20
JournalNations and Nationalism
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2010

Keywords

  • Language
  • Nationalism
  • Riker
  • Secession
  • Security threats
  • Unification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Political Science and International Relations

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