Methodological nationalism and migration studies: historical and contemporary perspectives

Laura Sumari, Pedro T. Magalhães

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This chapter approaches the issue of methodological nationalism in the social sciences from both a historical and a contemporary perspective, with particular emphasis on migration studies. First, it offers a historical overview of the problem and delves into its early intellectual history by examining Eric Voegelin’s reflections on ‘national minds’ in the interwar period This anticipates many questions and challenges that future critics of methodological nationalism would consider to be central. Second, we examine the persistence of nation-state-centred concepts and methods in the context of migration and refugee studies. Third, the chapter discusses different conceptual tools for overcoming the insufficiencies of methodological nationalism, weighing both their fruitfulness and their limits. Notwithstanding the ineradicability of nation-state-centred frameworks in social science as well as in the self-perceptions of migrant populations, we show that it is possible to conceive of both ‘community’ and ‘knowledge’ in non-national terms to investigate the possibilities of knowledge produced through experiences of displacement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRefugees and Knowledge Production : Europe's Past and Present
EditorsMagdalena Kmak, Heta Björklund
Number of pages19
Place of PublicationOxon & New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis
Publication date14 Feb 2022
ISBN (Print)9780367552060
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2022
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication series

NameStudies in Migration and Diaspora

Fields of Science

  • 5171 Political Science

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