Sub-theme 59: Organizing in the Age of Nationalism ---> MERGED with sub-theme 28


Call for Papers

Nationalism is a fundamentally important dynamic force in contemporary society (Billig, 1995; Gellner & Breuilly, 1983; Wodak, 2017). There are different interpretations of what nationalism is and a multitude of approaches to study it (Delanty & Kumar, 2006). Among these, Benedict Anderson’s (1983) idea of nations as “imagined communities” is based on the assumption that people in societies can imagine their unity and develop a sense of belonging by way of myths, symbols, and stories that help them to identify with and as a community that is (seen as) the nation. It applies well to studying contemporary nationalism in its multiple forms, and it has proved to be useful for moving discussions from objectivist to subjectivist conceptions of national unity (Segal & Handler, 2006). It is especially relevant today as we enter an era of “post-truth” politics and “alternative facts” (Knight & Tsoukas, 2019) where nationalism and constructions of nationalism become increasingly prominent parts of language games played by powerful societal actors such as politicians and corporate executives for the purposes of political mobilization and legitimation.
We increasingly observe how “globalization” collides with “national” interests and identities in political and organizational life across the world. This is evident in the functioning of multinational corporations and it plays out in a multitude of other organizational arenas. Nationalism and its various manifestations have crucial implications for inclusion / exclusion, identity politics, diversity and equality of societies, organizations and actors (e.g., Vaara et al., 2019). Nationalism today is a global phenomenon shaped and perpetuated by media where “every expression seems in some sense to feed off expressions elsewhere” (Delanty & Kumar, 2006: 1). As such, nationalism in its contemporary forms needs to be unpacked in conjunction with an understanding of the “global” and “local” and the emergence of a mediated society of “post-truth” and “alternative facts” (Knight & Tsoukas, 2019).
In this sub-theme, we invite submissions that explore how nationalism in its various forms affects societies, organizations and actors, and the process of organizing more broadly. We encourage submissions that touch on this indicative rather than exhaustive list of topics:

  • Forms, manifestations and implications of nationalism, including banal nationalism, in contemporary organizations

  • The discourse of nationalism in media, including the construction, manipulation and legitimation of nationalism, and its implications for organizations

  • Nationalism and leadership/leaders and corporate cultures

  • New ways to examine (e.g. visual/multimodal analysis, analysis of user/reader comments on articles, dynamics and effects of various social media, etc.) and theorize nationalism

  • Vew and emerging manifestations of nationalism (e.g. cyber-nationalism [including ‘keyboard warriors’], etc.)

  • Nationalism and attributions, blame, scapegoating

  • Nationalism and identity, including identity politics, in organizations

  • Nationalism and the use of cultural stereotypes, metaphors, metonymies

  • The role of ‘exceptionalism’ (e.g. like ‘American exceptionalism’, but also in other contexts) in shaping nationalism (including the effects of a sense of loss/erosion of that exceptionalism)

  • New forms and manifestations of nationalism in emerging economies of China and Russia

  • The role of geopolitics and ideology in shaping nationalism

  • The productive role of nationalism in recuperative politics like decolonization

  • Nationalism as a form of resistance

  • The discourse of nationalism vis a visa the discourse of sustainability and climate change

  • Emotions and nationalism

  • Ethics and/of nationalism

  • Nationalism as a force that generates purpose and meaning (both its generative potential and its tyranny)


  • Billig, M. (1995): Banal Nationalism. London: SAGE Publications.
  • Delanty, G., & Kumar, K. (eds.) (2006): The SAGE Handbook of Nations and Nationalism. London: SAGE Publications.
  • Gellner, E., & Breuilly, J. (1983): Nations and Nationalism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
  • Knight, E., & Tsoukas, H. (2019): “When fiction trumps truth: What ‘post-truth’ and ‘alternative facts’ mean for management studies.” Organization Studies, 40 (2), 183-197.
  • Segal, D.A., & Handler, R. (2006): “Cultural approaches to nationalism.” In: G. Delanty & K. Kumar (eds.): The SAGE Book of Nations and Nationalism. London: SAGE Publications, 57–65.
  • Vaara, E., Tienari, J., & Koveshnikov, A. (2019): “From cultural differences to identity politics: A critical discursive approach to national identity in MNCs.” Journal of Management Studies, first published online on June 13, 2019,
  • Wodak, R. (2017): “Discourses about nationalism.” In: J. Flowerdew & J.E. Richardson (eds.): The Routledge Handbook of Critical Discourse Analysis. London: Routledge, 403–420.