Research by topic (click here for a list of articles in chronological order)




This is is the newest strand of research, dedicated to understanding the spread of ideas, institutions, and practices across places and around the world and studying its aggregated consequences. Adopting a global and long-term historical perspective, it will produce a series of mostly quantitative, "big data" based articles. Theoretically, I introduce the idea of multiple, overlapping domains within which such processes can unfold, leading to local adoption, transformation and incorporation if the balance of power generates a zone of shared interest. Individual research projects, mostly in collaboration with other scholars, explore the long-term consequences at the global level (leading to a rhizoid adoption network), at the regional level (generating overlapping areas of cultural similarity), and at the local level (producing layered legacies of past diffusion processes).

Adobe symbol "Domains of diffusion. How ideas and institutions travel around the world and with what consequences”, in American Journal of Sociology 126(6): 1389-1438, 2021 (in production).

Adobe symbol Chris Bail, Taylor Brown, and Andreas Wimmer. “Prestige, proximity, and prejudice: How Google search terms diffuse across the world", in American Journal of Sociology 124(5): 14906-1548, 2019.






This group of work analyzes how the nation-state emerged and subsequently diffused across the world, whether or not national political integration succeeded in newly formed nation-states, and what consequences both nation-state formation and nation building had for war and peace. Much depends, according to the theory developed here, on the interplay between configurations of power and templates of political legitimacy.


Nation-states are formed where nationalist, in whose view rulers and ruled should belong to the same national community, can overpower imperial states or dynastic regimes because these are weakened through war; because other nation-states in the neighborhood offer themselves as alliance partners; or because nationalists have already mobilized the population for some time.


Nation building in such newly established nation-states will succeed when political alliances reach across ethnic divides and inclusive coalitions form. This is more likely where networks of civil society organizations have emerged that can link up the various regions of a country; where a uniform language decreases transaction costs for forming political alliances; and where the state is capable to deliver public goods across a territory, which will make it an attractive alliance partner for citizens of diverse ethnic backgrounds. Political integration across ethnic divides will then encourage citizens to identify with the overarching national community.


Where nation building fails and major ethnic communities remain excluded from the ruling coalition, the state lacks legitimacy because it violates the nationalist like-over-like principle in the eyes of significant segments of the population. Civil wars pitting governing elites against excluded groups and their leadership may erupt and states may go to war with each other over the fate of co-ethnics across the border.


Following up on older scholarship in the macro-comparative tradition, this group of articles and books tries to disentangle the complex and endogenous historical processes of political development with new methodological rigor and analytical precision. Most of these projects are based on the collection of new quantitative data that cover the entire world and involved extensive collaboration with other researchers.


NATION-STATE FORMATION (see also the book Waves of War)

Adobe symbol “Worlds without nation-states. Five scenarios for the very long term”, in Nations and Nationalism 46, 2021,DOI: 10.1111/nana.12690.

Adobe symbol "Is diversity detrimental? Ethnic fractionalization, public goods provision, and the historical legacies of stateness", in Comparative Political Studies 49(11):1407-1445, 2016.

Adobe symbol Online Appendix for CPS 2015

asdf Hiers and Wimmer. “Is nationalism the cause or consequence of imperial breakdown?”, in Hall and Malesevic (eds.), Nationalism and War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013

Image Wimmer and Feinstein. "The rise of the nation-state across the world, 1816-2001", in ASR 75(5):764-790, 2010

sdf Best Article Award of the Comparative Historical Sociology Section of ASA

See also the critique of this article by Li and Hicks in the American Sociological Review and our reply


NATION BUILDING (see also the book Nation Building)  

asdf Power and pride. National identity and ethnopolitical inequality around the world”, in World Politics 69(4): 605-639, 2017

sd Access the National Pride and Ethnopolitical Power dataset here

asdf "Nation building. A long-term perspective and global analysis", in European Sociological Review 30(6), 2014

Adobe symbol Online Supplement for ESR 2014

asdf Kroneberg and Wimmer. "Struggling over the boundaries of belonging. A formal model of nation building, ethnic closure, and populism", in AJS 118(1):176-230, 2012

Adobe symbol Online Appendix for AJS 2012

sdf Best Article Award of the European Academy of Sociology

sdf Anatol-Rapoport Award (co-winner) of the Modeling and Simulation Section of the German Sociological Association

sdf Best Article Award from the Rationality and Society Section of ASA

sdf Best Article Award (honorable mention) of the International Network of Analytical Sociologists

download "A Swiss anomaly? A relational account of national boundary making", in Nations and Nationalism 17(4):718-737, 2011


WAR  and VIOLENCE (see also the book Waves of War)

Adobe symbol Wimmer, Andreas and Chris Miner. “The strategic logic of ethno-territorial competition. Violence against civilians in Africa's civil wars”, in Journal of Global Security Studies 4(4), 2019.

Adobe symbol Online Appendix for JGSS 2019

Adobe symbol Lindemann and Wimmer. “Repression and refuge. Why only some politically excluded ethnic groups rebel”, in Journal of Peace Research 55(3): 305-319, 2018.

Adobe symbol Online Appendix for JPR 2017

asdf "War", in Annual Review of Sociology 44:173-1997, 2014

asdf Wimmer, Cederman and Min. "Ethnic politics and armed conflict. A configurational analysis of a new global dataset", in ASR 74(2):316-337, 2009

Image Appendix with coding rules and additional tables

sd Access the Ethnic Power Relations dataset here

sdf Cederman, Wimmer and Min. "Why do ethnic groups rebel? New data and analysis", in World Politics 62(1):87-119, 2010

sdf Wimmer and Min. "From empire to nation-state. Explaining wars in the modern world, 1816-2001", in ASR 71(6):867-897, 2006

s Best Article Award of the Comparative Historical Sociology Section of ASA

s Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Award of the Political Sociology Section of ASA

none The war dataset is introduced in: Wimmer and Min. "The location and purpose of wars around the world. A new global dataset, 1816-2001", in International Interactions 35(4), 2009

sd Access the War by Location and Purpose dataset here





ETHNO-RACIAL BOUNDARIES AND NETWORKS (see also the book Ethnic Boundary Making)


A series of articles and a book develop and empirically test a new theory of ethnic and racial boundaries as the outcome of an ongoing negotiation process between contextually situated and strategically competent actors. These pursue different strategies of boundary making depending on how much power they have to enforce their vision of the relevant social divides; on the institutional environments that offer different incentives to emphasize certain kinds of social categories rather than others; and on the personal ties of friendship, alliance, and affinity that make certain modes of categorization more plausible than others.


The degree of power inequality, institutional incentives, and the reach of everyday networks determines whether the negotiated boundaries will be more or less exclusionary, politicized, culturally differentiated, and historically stable. They therefore shape individual lifes and identities in more or less consequential ways.


This boundary making approach has certain advantages over competing approaches that take the relevance and salience of existing ethno-racial groups for granted, as do many arguments in migration research and as is the case in much "critical" race theory or in some social psychological research on how given "in-groups" relate to "out-groups".




Adobe symbol Hiers, Soehl, and Wimmer. “National trauma and the fear of foreigners: How past geopolitical threat heightens anti-immigration sentiment today”, in Social Forces 96(1): 1-18, 2017.

s Louis Wirth Best Article Award of the International Migration Section of the ASA

Adobe symbol "Race centrism. A critique and a research agenda", in Ethnic and Racial Studies 38(13): 2186-2205, 2015.

s Wimmer and Soehl. "Blocked acculturation. Cultural heterodoxy among Europe's immigrants", in AJS 120(1):146-186, 2014

s “Elementary strategies of ethnic boundary making”, in Ethnic and Racial Studies 31(6):1025-1055, 2008 "The making and unmaking of ethnic boundaries. A multi-level process theory", in AJS 113(4): 970–1022, 2008

s Theory Prize of the Theory Section of the ASA

s Clifford Geertz Prize for Best Article (honoroble mention) of the Cultural Sociology Section of ASA

s “Herder’s heritage and the boundary-making approach. Studying ethnicity in immigrant societies”, Sociological Theory 27(3):244-270, 2009





Page Kroneberg, Clemens, Kruse, Hanno, and Andreas Wimmer. "When ethnicity and gender align. Classroom composition, friendship cliques, and collective identities in European schools", in European Sociological Review 37, 2021 (conditionally accepted)

Page Wimmer and Lewis. "Beyond and below race. ERG models of a friendship network documented on Facebook", in AJS 116(2)583-642, 2010

s Best Article Award of the Mathematical Sociology Section of ASA

nothing The Facebook dataset is described in: Lewis, Kaufman, Gonzalez, Wimmer and Christakis. “Tastes, ties, and time: a new social network dataset using”, in Social Networks 30:330-342, 2008