Rien de Plus International. Towards a comparative and transnational historiography of national movements



Nationalism has been an important factor of European history since the end of the 18th century. Today nationalism remains a complex phenomenon that has a major influence on cultural and political developments. The participants in the field of nationalism, gathered into national movements, played a role in both state formation and state fragmentation through the processes of nation building and national identification. In this, the national movements in Europe demonstrate common characteristics. This fact is however insufficiently reflected in the academic research of the subject – a transnational and/or comparative approach is rarely adopted in the historiography of the national movements. Moreover, this research is hindered by the condition of the sources and by the unsatisfactory collection and accessibility of information pertaining to these national movements. Consequently, the prerequisite empirical basis for developing theories on nationalism is frequently lacking. It is for this reason that the ADVN created the NISE project (National movements and Intermediary Structures in Europe). NISE is a scientific, heuristic, historiographical and archival instrument for researching national movements in Europe. It satisfies, within one project, a variety of needs with regard to research and sources. This publication outlines the thematic framework within which NISE is located and the research environment wherein the project is undertaken. This includes the theoretical explanatory models (with, as example, some references to their application in Belgium/Flanders), the examination of factors that have made national movements successful (both a series of objective – political, social and cultural – conditions as well as national mobilisation campaigns) and the historiographical methodology, together with the tools benefitting studies within both types of research. The objective of the publication or, as the case may be, the project is to facilitate a comparative and transnational approach to the history of national movements. There is, after all, “rien de plus international que la formation des identités nationales” (Thiesse 1999, 11).

Keywords: comparative study, transnational historiography, national movements, nationalism, Essay, NISE

How to Cite: Boeva, L. (2010) “Rien de Plus International. Towards a comparative and transnational historiography of national movements”, NISE Essays.(1). doi: