Fundraising may t seem like an obvious lens through which to examine the process of nation-building, but in this highly original book. Lainer-Vos shows that fundraising mechanisms - ranging from complex transnational gift-giving systems to sophisticated national bonds - are organizational tools that can be used to bind dispersed groups to the nation. Sinews of the Nation treats nation-building as a practical organizational accomplishment and examines how the Irish republicans and the Zionist movement secured financial support in the United States during the first half of the twentieth century. Comparing the Irish and Jewish experiences, whose trajectories of homeland-diaspora relations were very different, provides a unique perspective for examining how national movements use ecomic transactions to attach disparate groups to the national project. By focusing on fundraising, Lainer-Vos challenges the common view of nation-building as only a matter of forging communities by imagining away internal differences: he shows that nation-building also involves organizing relationships so as to allow heterogeneous groups to maintain their difference and yet contribute to the national cause. Nation-building is about much more than creating unifying symbols: it is also about creating mechanisms that bind heterogeneous groups to the nation despite and through their differences.
Dan Lainer-Vos is assistant professor of sociology and the Ruth Ziegler Early Career Chair in Jewish Studies at the University of Southern California.