STV4302B – Nationalism and Ethnic Politics

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

  • What are nations?
  • How are they formed?
  • What is the relationship between ethnicity and the state?

The course focuses on the phenomenon of nationalism and the expressions of ethnicity in the political sphere. It combines theoretical and empirical inputs from comparative political science as well as political sociology, but also draws on social anthropology, sociology and history to provide a comprehensive introduction into the issue.

It tries to strike a balance between teaching theories and anchoring them in empirical “selected issues” – contemporary manifestations of ethnic politics and influence of nationalist ideologies on political life.

The students will learn about the major theories of nationalism and the emergence of nations, which will then be applied to two empirical cases:

  • Norway
  • Central Europe (the Visegrád states)

The second half of the course discusses contemporary points of interest in which ethnicity and nationalism act both as conflict generators and potential tools of conflict resolution. Topics covered include:

  • modern nationalist political parties
  • ethnic minorities, with an emphasis on Eastern Europe
  • immigration, with a focus on Western Europe

Learning outcome


The students will:

  • become familiar with the main theories of nationalism, including primordialism, modernism, ethnosymbolism and postmodern approaches
  • learn about the historical background of “the age of nationalism”
  • be encouraged to use the theories they have learned to the empirical cases of Norway and Central Europe
  • learn about contemporary nationalist and right-wing populist political parties in Europe
  • discover the differences and similarities between two manifestations of the issue of ethnic minorities:
    • the question of irredentist and historical minorities in Eastern Europe (e.g. Ukraine, the Baltic States or Romania)
    • the problems of immigration and integration in Western Europe (e.g. France, Germany or Britain)


The students will:

  • learn to think in terms of theory and to evaluate competing theoretical approaches.
  • develop the ability to employ theories in empirical research .
  • enhance their skills in oral presentations.


The students will:

  • enhance their capability to think critically about nationalist ideologies and politics.
  • acquire a good theoretical background in an important area of politics.
  • inquire in depth into some of the most important  of today’s debates that engage scholars and intellectuals across Europe and beyond.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Apply for guest student status if you are admitted to another Master's programme.

For incoming students

All Master's courses in Political Science must be registered manually by the Department, they will not appear in Studentweb. Contact your international coordinator at UiO.


Recommended previous knowledge

Bachelor's degree in Political Science or equivalent.


Lectures and seminars

Compulsory activities

  • Hold a presentation
  • Attendance at other student's presentations


6 hour written home examination.

You must have passed the compulsory activities in order to sit the exam.


Previous exams and grading guidelines

Examination support material

Students may use dictionaries at this exam. Dictionaries must be handed in before the examination. Please read regulations for dictionaries permitted at the examination.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English.You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

If you are sick or have another valid reason for not attending the regular exam, we offer a postponed exam later in the same semester.

See also our information about resitting an exam.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2020

This course is not given on a regular basis


Autumn 2020

This course is not given on a regular basis

Teaching language