Nationalism Notes

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  • Created on: 13-05-13 12:33
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Definition: belief that the nation is the central principle of political organisation
Origins and Development:
Born during the French Revolution: people rose up in the name
of the people to create a `French nation'
Revolutionary and democratic creed ­ highlighting `subjects of
the crown' should be become `citizens of France'
Invasions in Europe promoted a national identity and unity
Enthusiasm for the movement was originally just in the middle
classes who wanted national unity and a constitutional
By the end of the 19th century nationalism was incredibly popular, beginning to encompass all
aspects of the political spectrum: no longer just liberal
Came to stand for social cohesion, order and stability in the growing challenge of socialism
Sought to integrate the increasingly powerful working class into the nation to preserve the
traditional social structure in society
Patriotic fever was celebrated by the commemoration of past national glories and military
However, this created chauvinism and xenophobia, with each nation claiming superiority and
regarding other nations as enemies and alien ­ intensified colonial expansion
Contributed to a mood of international rivalry and suspicion which led to WW1
Woodrow Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference, advocated the principle of national self
determination ­ consolidating the completion of national building
National uprisings took place in colonial countries wanting `national liberation'
Core Themes: The Nation
Nation should be the 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
Language is one of the key symbols of nationhood: embodies distinctive values and forms
familiarity and belonging in a nation
However different nations share the same language, e.g. USA and England but
these people do not see themselves as members of the same nation
Some nations share a national identity with the lack of a national language, e.g.
Switzerland where French, German and Italian are spoken

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Religion is another key component: expresses common moral values and beliefs
Northern Ireland: people who the same language are divided by religion
Divisions in nations do not always result in rival nationalisms, e.g. UK
Countries all with the same faith do not feel they are unified under one nation,
e.g. Poland, Brazil and Italy are all primarily Catholic but are not one nation
Can be based on ethnic or racial unity in some circumstances, e.g.…read more

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Constructivist approach: national identity is an ideological construct serving the interests of large
powerful groups
Eric Hobsbawm (1983): nations are based on `invented traditions'
Nationalism creates nations not the other way around ­ been a controlling
device for ruling classes to reduce the risk of class rebellion by ensuring national
loyalty is stronger than class solidarity
Core Themes: Self-Determination
Stress of popular sovereignty, expressing idea of general will
Sovereign power rests with the nation
The nation is a natural political community
Nationhood and statehood…read more

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Herder: each nation possesses a `Volksgeist' (spirit of the people) which is revealed in songs,
myths and legends ­ providing a nation with a source of creativity
The role of a nation is to develop an awareness and appreciation of
national traditions and collective memories rather than have a political
aim of statehood
Endorsed by the black panthers and Nation of Islam with `Black
Cultural forms of nationalism are viewed as tolerant and consistent
with progressive political goals ­ differing from ethic nationalism…read more

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Conservative nationalism
Expansionist nationalism
Anti-Colonial/Post colonial Nationalism
Liberal Nationalism:
Oldest form of nationalism dating back to the French revolution
Influenced Simon Bolivar who led the Latin American independence movement
Woodrow Wilson's 14 points were based on liberal nationalist principles
Shaped by J.…read more

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The ideal of a politically unified and culturally homogeneous nation states can only be achieved
by deporting minority groups and imposing a ban on migration
Conservative Nationalism:
In the early 19th century conservatives saw nationalism as a radical, dangerous force
Conservative statesmen (Disraeli, Bismarck and even Tsar Alexander III) 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 the process of becoming…read more

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Conservative nationalism can be seen as a form of elite nationalism
The `nation' is invented and defined by political leaders who will use it for selfish purposes
Can serve to promote intolerance and bigotry
Portrays immigrants/foreigners as a threat, legitimizing racialist and xenophobic fears
Expansionist Nationalism
The dominant image of nationalism is one of aggression and militarism ­ opposite of self
Apparent in the late 19th century as European powers `scrambled for Africa' to boost national
Imperialism of late 19th century was…read more

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Anti-Colonial and Postcolonial Nationalism:
Due to imperialism nationalism became a worldwide phenomenon
Experience of colonial rule forged a nationhood and desire for national liberation amongst the
people of Asia and Africa
During 20th century: the political geography of the world was transformed by anti-colonialism
During the interwar period independence movements were threatening the empires of France
and England ­ with the final collapse occurring after WW2
Mounting national pressure and
declining domestic economic performance
meant in most cases colonial powers
departed peacefully
In some…read more

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It has limited a nation states ability to function as a self sufficient economic unit
Trend for cultural globalisation is impacting nations individual cultures
Growth of global interconnectedness has reconfigured our sense of political community and
expanded moral sensibilities
Nationalism is being superseded (made old fashioned) by cosmopolitanism
Transborder information and communication flows has reduced the ignorance of other societies
Moral cosmopolitanism is growing with people seeing themselves as global citizens
National divisions are increasingly being seen as arbitrary and sustained by ignorance
International…read more

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As the 28th President he introduced the 14 points ­ promoting self determination
Wilsonian liberalism is associated with the idea that constructing a world of nation-states is the
best way of preventing war
Charles Maurras (1868-1952)
Key exponent of right wing nationalism, influencing fascism
`Integral nationalism' ­ organic unity of the nation/rejection of
individualism/stress on hierarchy and traditional institutions
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948)
Campaigned for Indian independence
Ethic of nonviolent resistance gave the movement strong moral authority
Believed the universe is regulated by the…read more


Old Sir

A very good set of outline notes, covering the essential aspects of the development of nationalism. These are a good example of how to organise detailed notes and provide a good starting point for students looking to expand their knowledge of case studies to illustrate issue raised here.

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