Medieval heteronomy, modern nationalism: Language assertion between Liège and Maastricht, 14th-20th century.

This article renegotiates the dilemma between modernist and primordialist views on nationalism by taking a long-term case: language and identity politics in the diglossic area between Liège and Maastricht. Linguistic assertiveness in this area (a nationalist flashpoint in 20th-century Belgium) can be traced back to the 15th century. While this long-term historical continuity indicates limits to modernist constructivism, it also illustrates the dangers of primordialism. The nature of linguistic assertiveness is shown to be very different in a pre- or early-modern (as opposed to a contemporary) context, and to see long-standing similarities as simple invariance would be an anachronistic distortion.