A Rise in Nationalism

With COPA America and the European Championship just ending, and less than a month away from the start of the Olympics, we see heightened feelings of nationalism. As George Orwell wrote in his essay ‘The Sporting Spirit,’ “sport is itself…merely another effect of the causes that have produced nationalism.” We can all get behind our national teams, as evidenced by an 800% increase in the sale of Wales football shirts after their visit to the semifinals, or a desolate French fan crying after championship loss. This sense of nationalism is generally light at heart, evoking sentiments and general positive feelings.

But what are the costs of nationalism?

In recent weeks, we’ve seen nationalism take place in a different light. With Britain’s decision to exit the European Union, in part due to nationalistic feelings, we are seeing that those who voted to leave are not alone; the Brexit vote coincides with rising nationalism throughout Europe and in the United States. Only time will tell the lasting effects of the nationalistic trend, whether positive or negative.

In the coming weeks, we can expect to see a rise in nationalism-dominated research, with the Republican and Democratic national conventions due to take place in the United States in a few weeks and as analysts further study Brexit and its implications. An interesting trend we are starting to see is the resurgence in the popularity of older papers as gauged by citations in the current literature. The graph below shows the year distribution of references cited in the 500 most recently indexed documents in the Web of ScienceTM on the topic of “nationalism,” showing the number of items in bibliographies by year.  The 500 most recent papers on nationalism cited content from 1900-1956 nearly 2,018 times.

nationalism graph

This analysis can be done for any set of papers in the Web of Science.

Even with cutting-edge studies such as the effect of nationalism on political trends, it is vital to understand research at the origin because archival content helps you thoroughly understand the background of the research topic and highlight the advantages of your research. Web of Science offers data from 1900, making critical connections from over 100 years of multidisciplinary research leveraging the most relevant and impactful discoveries to add weight and value to your work.