Harris Mylonas comments on new book "Nation Building"

April 8, 2021

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Harris Mylonas, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs

In his commentary of Andreas Wimmer’s new book Nation Building, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Harris Mylonas praises the book's effort to explain an “empirical puzzle”: why some states, like Somalia or Belgium, fall apart, while others, like Botswana or Switzerland, strengthen and come together. Moving past the explanatory power of voluntary organizations, public good provision, and linguistic integration, Mylonas applauds Wimmer’s choice to sift through history in order to identify the lasting legacies of state capacity by highlighting the importance of population density and topography. 

However, in the interest of generating spirited debate, Mylonas also provides critical thoughts on the broadness of Wimmer’s definition of successful nation building, and argues that underlying factors make the phenomenon increasingly complex. Mylonas also comments on the contradictions that can be raised from Wimmer’s view of certain mechanisms that, while not necessary, may be sufficient on their own.

Read Mylonas’ full commentary on Nation Building. Learn more about Andreas Wimmer’s book, Nation Building: Why Some Countries Come Together While Others Fall Apart.