MetaTOC stay on top of your field, easily

Secular nationalist revolution and the construction of the Azerbaijani identity, nation and state

Nations and Nationalism

Published online on


["Nations and Nationalism, Volume 27, Issue 2, Page 548-565, April 2021. ", "\nAbstract\nThis article traces the emergence and development of Azerbaijani nationalism, identity and the establishment of an independent nation‐state, the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the first Muslim democracy in 1918. Before, the Azerbaijani Turks had lacked a distinct national identity and had been called “Caucasian Muslims” or “Tatars.” This study addresses what actors and processes played roles in the construction of the “Azerbaijani” nation and identity and in the establishment of the new nation‐state. This article, from a constructivist perspective, argues that the key factor behind this emergence was the secular nationalist revolution of the Azerbaijani nationalist elite. While agreeing with Benedict Anderson on the “imagined” nature of nations, about the links between secularization and nationalism, and about the print media's role in the nationalist imagining, this study departs from his structuralist approach, which neglects or underestimates agency, interests, strategy, resources and power. In explaining the development of the Azerbaijani identity and nation, this study offers a theoretical explanation that moves agency—the secular nationalist Azerbaijani elite—to the foreground and also acknowledges the impact of structural factors.\n"]