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Postnationalism or non-nationalism[1] is the process or trend by which nation states and national identities lose their importance relative to supranational and global entities. Although postnationalism is not strictly the antonym of nationalism, the two terms and their associated assumptions are antithetic.

There are several factors that contribute to aspects of postnationalism, including economic, political, and cultural elements.

Increasing globalization of economic factors, such as the expansion of international trade with raw materials, manufactured goods, and services, and the importance of multinational corporations and internationalization of financial markets, have shifted emphasis from national economies to global ones. At the same time, political power is partially transferred from national authorities to supernational entities, such as the United Nations, the European Union, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and NATO. In addition, media and entertainment industries are becoming increasingly global and facilitate the formation of trends and opinions on a supranational scale. Migration of individuals or groups between countries contributes to the formation of postnational identities and beliefs, even though attachment to citizenship and national identities often remains important.[2][3][4]

Postnationalism and human rights

In the scholarly literature, postnationalism is linked to the expansion of international human rights law and norms. International human rights norms are reflected in a growing stress on the rights of individuals in terms of their "personhood," not just their citizenship. International human rights law does not recognize the right of entry to any state by non-citizens, but demands that individuals should be judged increasingly on universal criteria not particularistic criteria (such as blood descent in ethnicity, or favoring a particular sex). This has impacted citizenship and immigration law, especially in western countries. Germany, for example, has felt pressure to, and has diluted (if not eradicated), citizenship based on ethnic descent, which had caused German-born Turks, for example, to be excluded from German citizenship. Scholars identified with this argument include Yasemin Soysal, David Jacobson, and Saskia Sassen.[5]

In the European Union

The European integration has created a system of supranational entities and is often discussed in relationship to the concept of postnationalism.[6][7][8]

In the media

Catherine Frost, professor of political science at McMaster University, argues that while the internet and online social relations forge social and political bonds across national borders, they do not have "the commitment or cohesiveness needed to underpin a demanding new mode of social and political relations".[9]

In sports

Postnational trends have been evident in professional sports. Simon Kuper called the 2008 European soccer championship (UEFA Euro 2008) "the first postnational" European Championship.[10] He argues that during the tournament both for players and fans sportsmanship and enjoyment of the event were more important than national rivalries or even winning.


Money has traditionally been issued and controlled by nations. New types of money, such as digital currency are not issued or controlled by any nation or other central authority, and are easier to send across national borders than traditional currencies.

See also


  1. Bennett 1998, p. 232.
  2. R. Koopmans and P. Statham; "Challenging the liberal nation-state? Postnationalism, multiculturalism, and the collective claims making of migrants and ethnic minorities in Britain and Germany"; American Journal of Sociology 105:652-696 (1999)
  3. R.A. Hackenberg and R.R. Alvarez; "Close-ups of postnationalism: Reports from the US-Mexico borderlands"; Human Organization 60:97-104 (2001)
  4. I. Bloemraad; "Who claims dual citizenship? The limits of postnationalism, the possibilities of transnationalism, and the persistence of traditional citizenship"; International Migration Review 38:389-426 (2004)
  5. Yasemin Soysal, "Limits of Citizenship:Migrants and Postnational Membership in Europe," University of Chicago Press, 1994; and David Jacobson, "Rights Across Borders: Immigration and the Decline of Citizenship", Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996
  6. M. Rambour; (2005)
  7. J. Shaw; "Postnational constitutionalism in the European Union"; Journal of European Policy 6:579-597 (1999)
  8. M. Wilkinson; (2002)
  9. C. Frost; "Internet galaxy meets postnational constellation: Prospects for political solidarity after the Internet"; Information Society 22:45-49 (2006)
  10. Simon Kuper; "Steeds Liever"; Vrij Nederland p. 24, June 28, 2008