A2 Political Ideologies - Nationalism

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  • Created on: 15-06-14 18:01
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Nationalism is a collective emotion felt by groups of people who consider themselves to
have common circumstances of birth. Nationalism was born out of the French revolution,
heavily influenced by Rousseau and the doctrine of popular self-government. Countries had
previously been thought of as realms, principalities or kingdoms, inhabitants were `subjects'
with political identity formed by allegiance to a ruler or ruling dynasty as opposed to any
sense of national identity. The revolutionaries who stood up in France did so in name of the
people, and understood the people to be the `French nation'. Nationalism was therefore a
revolutionary and democratic creed, reflecting the idea that `subjects of the crown' should
become `citizens of the crown'. The nation should have its own master.
A group of people who consider themselves A political reality. It either exists or it does
to have common circumstances of birth. not. In contrast to the concept of nation, it
These common circumstances are strong does not convey a people's state of mind or
enough for them to adopt collective goals emotion. Of course, there are national
based on their national identity. Nationalism groupings that aspire to statehood, such as
is therefore an emotional phenomenon felt Palestinians, but until that aspiration is
by a people. It may be that others will realized no state actually exists. Nations, on
dispute whether such a group constitutes a the other hand, can certainly exist even
nation, but this is less important than the fact when there is no state representing them.
that the people believe themselves to be a
nation. In other words, a nation may be an
objective reality or a subjective emotion.
The nation
The nation should be central principle of political organisation.
Nations are cultural entities: collections of people bound together by shared values
and traditions with a common language, religion and history, often in the same
geographical area.
Blend of cultural and psycho-political factors, shared loyalty in form of patriotism.
Language one of key symbols of nationhood: embodies distinctive values, forms
familiarity and belonging in a nation. However, different nations share same
language e.g. USA/UK but do see themselves as members of the same nation,
Switzerland has national identity but no national language.
Religion plays a big role too, common moral values and beliefs.
N Ireland is a country where people share the same language
but are divided on religious grounds, and countries with the
same faith (Catholicism) do not feel unified as part of one nation.
Nation can also be based on ethnic/racial unity e.g. Nazis.
Nationalism is usually more culturally than biologically based, for
example, the nationalism of many black people in America is not based on race but
shared history and culture.
National identity is preserved by recalling past glories, independence, birthdays of
national leaders and common cultural beliefs.

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Organic community
Humankind is naturally divided into a collection of nations with distinct identities and
national ties and loyalties are found in all communities.
The primordialist approach: national identity is historically embedded ­ nations have
a common cultural heritage and language that can predate statehood/independence.
Anthony Smith (1989) highlights the importance of primordialism by stressing
continuity between modern nations and pre-modern ethnic communities.
Modern nations are essentially updated version of immemorial ethnic communities.…read more

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The role of a nation is to develop an awareness/appreciation of national traditions
and collective memories rather than political aim of statehood.
Endorsed by Black Panthers with `Black Nationalism'.
Cultural forms of nationalism viewed as tolerant and consistent with progressive
political goals ­ differs from ethnic nationalism. Ethnicity refers to loyalty towards
distinctive population or cultural group. They suggest they are united by blood,
therefore impossible to join. Exclusive, linked to racialism.
Cultural and ethnic forms viewed as `ethnocultural nationalism'.…read more

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The influence of the Enlightenment led nationalists to believe that the nation-state
was the ultimate expression of rational government.
The ideas of liberal nationalism were expressed most clearly through Mazzini,
`prophet' of Italian unification.
Shaped by Rousseau's defence of popular sovereignty ­ `general will'. The aspiration
for popular self-government increased during nineteenth century, progressively
fused with liberal principles.
Founded on the defence of individual freedom. Nationalists see nations as sovereign
entities entitled to rights ­ right to self-determination.…read more

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Conservatives initially saw nationalism as a radical, dangerous force, but statesmen
(Disraeli, Bismarck) became sympathetic to the idea of nationalism ­ seeing it as a
way of maintaining social order and defending tradition.
Tends to develop in established nation-states rather than ones in process.
Care more about social cohesion and public order brought about by patriotism rather
than self-determination.
Organic society: nations emerge naturally from the desire of humans. Humans are
thought to be limited and imperfect, seek meaning and security within a national
community.…read more

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Individuals and independent groups lose their identity within an powerful nation ­ it's
existence and meaning is beyond the life of any single individual.
Military glory and conquest are the ultimate evidence of national greatness.
The civilian population is effectively militarised ­ infected with values of loyalty,
complete dedication and self-sacrifice.
When the honour or integrity of nation is questioned, citizens become unimportant.
Strong appeal for the isolated and powerless, offers security and the prospect of
security, self respect and pride.…read more

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Nationalism in a Global Age
Globalisation greatly undermines the idea of a nation-state, limiting a nation-state's
ability to function as a self-sufficient economic unit.
The trend for cultural globalisation is impacting nation's individual cultures, and the
growth of global interconnectedness has reconfigured out sense of political
community and expanded moral sensibilities.
Nationalism is being superseded (made old fashioned) by cosmopolitanism.
Transborder information and communication flows have reduced the ignorance of
other societies.…read more


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