Summary
A nation-state is a political unit where the state, a centralized political organization ruling over a population within a territory, and the nation, a community based on a common identity, are congruent. It is a more precise concept than "country", since a country does not need to have a predominant national or ethnic group. A nation, sometimes used in the sense of a common ethnicity, may include a diaspora or refugees who live outside the nation-state; some nations of this sense do not have a state where that ethnicity predominates. In a more general sense, a nation-state is simply a large, politically sovereign country or administrative territory. A nation-state may be contrasted with: An empire, a political unit made up of several territories and peoples, typically established through conquest and marked by a dominant center and subordinate peripheries A multinational state, where no one ethnic group dominates (such a state may also be considered a multicultural state depending on the degree of cultural assimilation of various groups). A city-state, which is both smaller than a "nation" in the sense of a "large sovereign country" and which may or may not be dominated by all or part of a single "nation" in the sense of a common ethnicity. A confederation, a league of sovereign states, which might or might not include nation-states. A federated state, which may or may not be a nation-state, and which is only partially self-governing within a larger federation (for example, the state boundaries of Bosnia and Herzegovina are drawn along ethnic lines, but those of the United States are not). This article mainly discusses the more specific definition of a nation-state as a typically sovereign country dominated by a particular ethnicity. The relationship between a nation (in the ethnic sense) and a state can be complex. The presence of a state can encourage ethnogenesis, and a group with a pre-existing ethnic identity can influence the drawing of territorial boundaries or argue for political legitimacy.
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