Post-conflict Nation-building

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Nation-building is the construction and institutionalisation of the official national identity and heritage of a population within a nation-state. Nation-building differs from state-building, which is dedicated to the establishment of political infrastructure and the governing institutions of the state. While the two processes overlap, are mutually supportive, and interdependent to some extent, nation-building focuses primarily on the symbolic components of the nation-state and its cultural, national identity. The primary objective of this process is to foster unity in the population’s inherent diversity and build imaginings of a nation-state with which all can identify, and to which there is a subsequent sense of allegiance. In other words, nation-building is process by which a sense of national unity and cohesion is fostered within the political unit of the state. This internal national unity enables a level of stability for the state, a requirement to be considered a strong and ‘successful’ member of the international community. Consequently, nation-building is a highly important, though often overlooked, process of post-conflict reconstruction. As a process, it is complicated further in post-colonial contexts and in states recovering from intra-state, ethnic conflict where identities connect to political violence and culture and conflict resolution can be contentious. This renders the process integral not only to post-conflict reconstruction but peacebuilding efforts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPalgrave Encyclopaedia of Peace and Conflict Studies
EditorsOliver Richmond, Gëzim Visoka
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783030117955
ISBN (Print)9783030117955
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • National identity
  • Nation-building
  • Post-conflict reconstruction
  • Heritage
  • Peacebuilding

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute


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