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From nation +‎ -ism, by Joshua Fishman, 1968.[1]



nationism (countable and uncountable, plural nationisms)

  1. (sociolinguistics) The practical concerns of running a nation, especially seen as divorced from emotional beliefs about national identity.
    • 1992, Sandra McKay, Teaching English Overseas: an Introduction, p. 9:
      In determining language policies, Fishman contends that a country needs to balance the concerns of nationalism (the feelings that develop from a sense of group identity) and nationism (the practical concerns of governing).
    • 2002, Tim Ingold, Companion Encyclopedia of Anthropology, p. 544:
      For these nations language was a prior criterion of national identity, in the sense of ‘nationalism’, and only later became and issue at the level of ‘nation’, once these societies had made the transition from nationalism to nationism.
    • 2008, Andrew Simpson, Language and National Identity in Africa, p. 22:
      Instead of this, the dominant role of language in nation-building in many states, at least in the early post-independence era, has been [] pragmatic nationism rather than aggressive nationalism.

Usage notes[edit]

Contrasted with nationalismnationism pertains to practical concerns, while nationalism pertains to questions of identity.

Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fishman, J.A. 1968. Nationality–nationalism and nation–nationism. Fishman, J.A.; Ferguson, C.A.; Das Gupta, J., ed. Language problems of developing nations. John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY, USA. pp. 39–51.