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What is Nationalism?

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Nathan Chio

on 30 September 2013

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Transcript of What is Nationalism?


1. the spirit or aspirations of a country.
2. a devotion to the interests of one’s own country.
3. a desire for national advancement.
4. the policy of asserting the interest of one’s own nation, as separate from the interest of another nation and the common interest of all nations. — nationalist, n., adj. — nationalistic, adj.
Nation vs. State
State: "A sovereign entity (rules itself), within a defined/specific territory (in defined borders), that holds a monopoly of the legitimate use of violence in the enforcement of its order." - Max Weber

Nation: "A body of people who share a real or imagined common history, culture, identity, religion, morality, language, traditions, ethnicity or ethnic origin; typically inhabiting a particular country/territory/region."
What came before the nation?
Before the birth of the modern nation much of the world looked quite different than it does today.
Europe was made up mostly of large multi-ethnic empires [like the Austro-Hungarian or Russian Empire] and smaller states or principalities [such as Bavaria or Saxony, which would become part of Germany].
This isn't limited to Europe. Empires, such as the Ottoman, contain many ethnic groups and modern-day nations, such as India, were divided into much smaller states or territories.
The historical origin of nationalism
The Dark Side of Nationalism
What is a nation?
"The nation, like the individual, is the culmination of a long past of endeavours, sacrifice, and devotion...A heroic past, great men, glory (by which I understand genuine glory), this is the social capital upon which one bases a national idea. To have common glories in the past and to have a common will in the present; to have performed great deeds together, to wish to perform still more-these are the essential conditions for being a people. One loves in proportion to the sacrifices to which one has consented, and in proportion to the ills that one has suffered. One loves the house that one has built and that one has handed down."

"A nation is therefore a large-scale solidarity, constituted by the feeling of the sacrifices that one has made in the past and of those that one is prepared to make in the future. It presupposes a past; it is summarized, however, in the present by a tangible fact, namely, consent, the clearly expressed desire to continue a common life. A nation's existence is, if you will pardon the metaphor, a daily plebiscite, just as an individual's existence is a perpetual affirmation of life."
-Ernest Renan,"What is a Nation," 1882.
Non-State forms of Nationalism:
Zionism - Jewish nationalism resulting in formation of state of Israel.
The Confederate States of America
Quebec Separatist Movement
Pan-Africanism or Black Nationalism
Historians argue nations started in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
"Nations exist not only as functions of a particular kind of territorial state or the aspiration to establish one...but also in the context of a particular stage of technological and economic development. Most students today will agree that standard national languages, spoken or written, cannot emerge as such before printing, mass literacy and hence, mass schooling."
Eric Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism, since 1780
1. Nations are a relatively recent phenomena
2. Nations are created - not natural
3. Nations are built by constructing an imagined shared past [through legends historical narratives] and shared present [often through language, culture or the education system], in opposition to those whom the nation excludes from membership [sometimes certain races, foreign enemies, or immigrants].
National Newspapers
Nationalist Images/Posters
Negative Nationalism
National Myths
National Holidays
Golden Dawn, Greece
ultra nationalism and economic distress
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