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Origins of the Nation-State

Kojin Karatani, chapter nine:

"The nation-state is a coupling together of two elements with different natures: nation and state. The nation-state’s emergence, however, requires the previous appearance of capital-state — that is, a coupling of capital with state. This was achieved with the absolute monarchies. I have already described the situation of the social formation under absolute monarchies, in which previously dominant mode of exchange B was transformed by the impact of the emerging dominance of mode of exchange C. The nation appeared after this in the bourgeois revolutions that toppled the absolute monarchy.

To put this somewhat schematically, the nation is something that appears within the social formation as an attempt to recover, through imagination, mode of exchange A and community, which is disintegrating under the rule of capital-state. The nation is formed by capital-state, but it is at the same time a form of protest and resistance to the conditions brought about by capital-state, as well as an attempt to supplement for what is lacking in capital-state.

The sensibility of the nation is grounded in blood-lineage, regional, and linguistic communities. None of these, however, possesses the secret of the nation: the nation does not form simply because of the existence of such communities. The nation appears only aft er the emergence of capital-state."

See: Evolution of the Structure of World History Through Modes of Exchange