|Title of host publication||International Encyclopedia of Human Geography|
|Editors||Rob Kitchin, Nigel Thrift|
|Place of Publication||Oxford|
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|
Nations are one of the most important sources and repositories of political power in the modern world. They are bound up with the formation of nation-states and as such have helped to define the national scale as preeminent in the division of human beings and space. Nations are conceptually and spatially bounded entities that are variously defined according to culture, political principles, and/or symbolic significance. The global political power of nations is related to their capacity to legitimate nation-states; no contemporary claim to a state can be advanced without convincing demonstration that it represents a distinctive nation. This power is inseparable from the significance that nations have acquired in individual self-identification. Unless people can imagine their nation, and themselves as part of it, the category loses its substance and import. As one of the key categories, which represents the world as coherently structured, nation gives people a comforting means not only of locating themselves but also of regulating access to both material and symbolic resources on a variety of geographical scales.
- Geopolitical order