Critical junctures? Complexity and the post-colonial nation-state

Nora Fisher Onar, James H. Liu, Mark Woodward

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This paper develops a theoretical framework inspired by complexity theory to assess trajectories of the post-colonial nation-state. Drawing on notions like singularities and critical junctures, initial conditions, and system parameters relevant to the meanings, constituencies, and technologies that determine nation-building trajectories, it shows that in the cases of Turkey, Indonesia/Yogyakarta, and New Zealand - new forms of cultural nationalism are emerging. In keeping with Mill's logic of difference, this convergent outcome despite the otherwise great divergence across the cases is suggestive of similar process afoot in the (re)imagination of the nation-state across the post-colonial and globalizing world more broadly. These emergent articulations, we show, are more inclusive of certain aspects of "indigenous" experience relevant to certain group identities, than earlier post-colonial nationalisms, while threatening to others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-34
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
Issue numberPA
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Colonialism
  • Critical junctures
  • Cultural nationalism
  • Indigeniety
  • Indonesia
  • New Zealand
  • Turkey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Critical junctures? Complexity and the post-colonial nation-state'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this