Walker Connor is seemingly both a primordialist and a modernist: Nations emanate from basic human sentiments but emerged in late modernity. Is this not an aberration, a contradiction both conceptual and causal? Connor, a champion of academic clarity, obviously thought not, and he was right. What accounts for Connor's unique take on nationalism, and why, for many, does it still seem odd? The answer to both quandaries, I argue, lies in Connor's own unique splice: He effectively delved into, and fused, two thorny matters that most scholars shy away from, let alone try to bring together: human nature and legitimation. Both underpin his remarkable scholarship and its solitude standing. I explore both facets: first, Connor's take on human nature; then, more extensively, his analysis of legitimation – via ‘popular sovereignty’ and ‘self-determination’.
- ethnic nationalism
- political theory of the nation