In his highly influential work on the “small,” stateless European nations, Hroch seems to assume that patriotic movements have a homogeneous view about the core relations or “ties” that constitute and identify their nations. This assumption seems generally correct for the cases Hroch studies. However, is it correct if applied to the study of those patriotic movements developing in comparatively larger, heterogeneous and underdeveloped societies, comprising several ethnic groups bound together by the colonialist rule of an autocratic empire? I argue that, while the colonial experience can lead to the creation of some ties among the dominated populations, it also affects the way patriotic movements perceive their own nations. As a result, the phase of patriotic agitation can involve diverse movements addressing the same nation, but each having a particular view on the features and history of it. Such contested patriotic doctrines can lead to very important variations in the political agendas and goals of those movements, especially when they reach the mass phase. To exemplify this, the nineteenth century movements in New Spain/Mexico will be used as an example.
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