Scholars in nationalism studies have long been aware of culture’s important role in the success of nationalism and the endurance of nations. The 2011 annual conference of the Association for the Study of Ethnicity of National- ism, which was on the theme of rituals and performances, suggests that culture remains high on the contemporary agenda. Yet, despite this sustained focus on culture, there has been very little engagement with new approaches that have emerged from the rapidly growing fields of cultural studies and cultural soci- ology. Important scholars associated with those fields are seldom referenced in the pages of this journal.
There is much to be gained from bringing new cultural approaches into closer contact with the study of nations and nationalism. The cultural socio- logical approach referred to as the ‘strong program’ is well-suited to such an endeavour. In this introduction, we provide a short overview of the treatment of culture in key texts in nationalism studies and the ways in which we believe the strong program might contribute to its development. Following this, we provide a short outline of each of the articles that comprise this special section.