Nationalism 15 Markers

  • Created by: Elena.S
  • Created on: 24-02-17 20:34

Why nations and states are confused

1) define nation: collection of people bound together by shared values/traditions/common language/religion/history/shared geographical area; nationality/cultural/psychological; subjective
2) define state: association that establishes power within defined territorial areas possessing monopoly of coercive power; political mechanism/citizenship/patriotism /either inclusive or exclusive
3a) nations want to attain statehood combining cultural/political aspects
3b) not all nations are states; don't have monopoly of power i.e Kurds; lacking self-determination
3c) some states containing more than one nation i.e UK

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Difference between nationalism/radicalism

1) nationalism - belief that nation is central principle of political organisation; nation: collection of people bound together through shared values/traditions/common language/common religion/common history/occupying same geographical area; based on assumption that humankind naturally divided into distinct nations so therefore nations are most appropriate/legitimate unit of political rule

2) racialism - belief that political/social conclusions can be brawn from idea that humankind is divided into biologically distinct races; based on two assumptions; fundamental genetic/species-type differences amongst people in world and that these divisions are expressed on cultural/intellectual/moral difference; expressed in racial segregation (apartheid in South Africa) or doctrines of racial superiority/inferiority

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Defence of the nation-state

1) define nation-state: form of political organisation/ideal; as political organisation it is characterised by overlapping bonds of citizenship/nationality (borders of state coincide with borders of nation) so every nation should have a state and one state should embrace entire nation; as political ideal, nation-state embodies principle of stationary self-determination
2) offers prospect of cultural cohension/political unity which makes it an uniquely stable political entity and only viable unit; conservative nationalists want to maintain stability/unity so stress national patriotism which embodies cohension/order
3) extends political freedom (national statehood ensures self-government/democratic rule - national self-determination); as independent entities citizens can decide own destiny without external inference beyond borders therefore nation is highest level at which meaningful democracy can operate (supranationalism is threat to democracy/self-government)

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Political VS cultural nationalism

1) political nationalism: form of nationalism explicitly oreintated around pursuit of sovereign statehood (based on national self-determination) ; classical form; culturally/ethnically inclusive; rational/progressive; aim - creation of nation-state
2) cultural nationalism: form of national with emphasis on regernation of nation as distinctive civilisation rather than self-government; mystical/emotional basis; exclusive/overlapping with racialism; aim - to defend national "way of life")

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Nationalism promoting peace/international order

1) primary threat to peace/international order is multinational/autocratic empires which are militaristic/expansionist. Liberals i.e WIlson used national self-determination post-WWI
2) liberal nationalists - nation-states as naturally peaceful formation due to sovereign independence therefore unwilling to threaten independence of other nations; expansion/conquest undermines political/cultural cohension making nation-states successful; democratic nation-states share common culture therefore unwilling to find on another/also accountable to those who will fight/kill/die in war

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Nation-state as political ideals

1) key nationalist goal is to construct world of independent nation-states
2) vehicle for advancing political freedom; sovereign statehood allows nations to decide their own destiny, safe from external influence
3) promises stability; within nation-states, political/cultural identity overlaps
4) offers prospect of peace/international order; nation-states won't go to war with each other due to cultural similarities

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Key ideas of liberal nationalism

1) principled form of national extending rights/entitlements of individuals to nations; individual freedom implies national self-determination
2) key goal is establishment of world of equal sovereign nation-states
3) liberals favour civic understanding of nationhood placing common values on par with common culture therefore tolerant/inclusive
4) national principle is consistent with international peace/harmony; suggests national is compatible with internationalism/cosmopolitanism

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Support for national self-determination

1) define national self-determination: core principle of classic political nationalism; implies nations are entitled to sovereign statehood
2) vital manifestation of political freedom; leading to fully independent nation-state as highest/most desirable form of political organisation
3) aims to deliver peace/international order by fostering harmony/reducing impulse for expansionism/war

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Main features of cultural nationalism

1) define cultural nationalism: form of nationalism placing primary emphasis on regeneration of nation as distinctive civilisation rather than on self-government
2) organic view of nation
3) exclusive; one cannot join it
4) associated with situations where small nations feel dominated by larger nations i.e Wales and England

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Racialism VS patriotism

1) define racialism: belief that racial divisions are politically significant either bc races should live apart (apartheid in South Africa) or bc they possess different qualities and are therefore suited for different social roles
2) define patriotism: sentiment/psychological attachment to one's country
3) ?

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Define nation

Collection of people bound together by shared values + traditions/common language + religion + history/usually occupying same geographical area

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Define chauvinism

Uncritical + unreasoned dedication to cause/group typically based on belief in its superiority i.e national, male etc

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Define xenophobia

Fear/hatred of foreigners; pathological ethnocentrism

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Define colonialism

Theory/practice of establishing control over foreign territories by settlement/economic domination

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Issues with nationalism as ideology in own right

1) sometimes classified as political doctrine > fully-fledged ideology; focus on political nationalism (nation as natural political community usually expressed in idea of national self-determination) whilst ignoring cultural nationalism (primary emphasis on regeneration of nation as distinctive civilisation > self gov.) + ethnic nationalism (filled primary by keen sense of ethnic distinctiveness + desire to preserve it) ∴ core feature is broader link to movements/ideas in acknowledging central importance of political life of nation > narrow association with self-gov. + nation-state

2) portrayed as essentially psychological phenomenon i.e loyalty to one's nation/dislike of others > theorectial construct; key feature is potency of affective/emotional appeal

3) schizophrenic political character i.e progressive/reactionary + democratic/authoritarian + rational/irrational + left-wing/right-wing; associated with most political ideology apart from anarchism by virtue of rejection of set

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The nation

  • basic belief: nation is/should be central principle of political organisation ∴ political disputes are about whether nations should be associated with statehood i.e Tibetans, Kurds, Palestinians, Basques, Tamils etc
  • nations usually defined by objective factors (those satisfying cultural criteria belong to nation - foreigners are non-nationals)
  • language as clearest symbol of nationhood i.e Germany united by language HOWEVER commonwealth shares English but don't belong to same nation i.e USA/NZ/AU + other nations have multiple languages i.e Switzerland
  • religion expressing common moral values + spiritual beliefs i.e Ireland divided between Protestants + Catholics + Islam forming national consciousness in Middle East HOWEVER religious diversity in USA hasn't divided nation + Catholic Poland/Italy/Brazil/Philippines do not belong to unified "Catholic nation"
  • ethnic/racial unity i.e Nazi Germany BUT usually cultural basis i.e shared values + common cultural beliefs i.e black American culture based on distinctive history + culture ∴ national identity shares common history + traditions i.e USA: Independence Day + Thanksgiving; France: Bastille Day; UK: Armistice Day BUT can also be based on future expectations i.e naturalised immigrants (USA)
  • ∴ nations must be defined subjectively by members bc no precise formula so nation as psycho-political entity/group of people who regard themselves as natural political community + distinguished by shared loyalty/affection (objective difficulties i.e absence of land/small population/lack of economic resources don't matter i.e Latvia in 1991 despite small population, no source of fuel, few natural resources + Kurds despite no formal political unity and no concentrated territory)
  • nations formed through combo of objective + subjective factors
  • exclusive concepts: importance of ethnic unity + shared history; national identity is unchanging/unchangeable implying characterisation of common descent blurring distinction between nations + races; nations held together by primordial bonds i.e innate emotional attachments to language/religion/trad. way of life/homeland (belief that nations are ancient + deep-rooted from psychology/culture/biology)
  • inclusive concepts: importance of civic consciousness + patriotic loyalty (civic nationalism: emphasising political allegiance based on vision of community of equal citizens allowing respect for ethnic/cultural diversity that doesn't challenge core civic values) ∴ nations are multi-racial/-ethnic/-religious blurring distinction between state + nation/citizenship + nationality
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Organic community

  • humankind naturally divided into collection of nations each possessing distinctive character + separate identity ∴ nations have higher loyalty + deeper political significance over any other collective group i.e class, gender, race etc (different explanations)
  • primordialist: national identity has historically embedded (common cultural heritage + language + deep emotional ties resembling kinship ties); Smith: importance by stressing continuity between modern nations + pre-modern ethnic communities ("enthies") ∴ little difference between ethnicity + nationality
  • modernist: nation identity forged in response to changing situations + historical challenges; Geller: nationalism linked to modernisation/industrialisation (pre-modern agro-literate societies structured by network of feudal locality, industrialisation required new cohesion in form of nationalism (suggests nations coalesced in response to social conditions + implies deep-rooted/enduring national community); Anderson: impact of capitalism + modern mass communications
  • constructionist: nations as ideological construct serving interests of powerful groups; Hobsbawn: nations based on invented traditions of historical continuity + cultural purity; nations created nationalism not vice versa (Marxists: nationalism ensures national loyalty > class solidarity preventing social change)
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Self-determination (1/2)

  • influenced by popular sovereignty (principle of absolute/unrestricted power expressed by unchallengeable legal authority or unquestionable political power)
  • Rousseau as father of modern nationalism using general will (genuine interests of collective body = common good; will of all providing each person acts selflessly) resulting from Polish struggle for independence from Russia; general will being invested in culturally unified peoples
  • gov. based on indivisible collective will of entire community > absolute power of monarchy i.e French people being citizens possessing inalienable rights + duties > subjects of crown ∴ sovereign power in French nation = nation is natural + political community
  • ∴ nationhood + statehood intrinsically linked so goal of nationalism = forming nation-states (sovereign political association within which citizenship + nationality overlap; one nation within single state) through self-determination i.e through unification (process through which collection of separate political entities usually sharing cultural characteristics are interegrated into single state) i.e Germany under Bismarck and Wende + independence (process through which nation is liberated from foreign rule usually through establishment of sovereign statehood) i.e Poland in 1918 + 1989
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Self-determination (2/2)

  • strengths of nation-statehood:
    1) cultural cohesion + political unity bc self-gov. = citizenship + nationality align
    2) legitimisation of gov. authority bc political sovereignty resides with the people ∴ gov. carried out in national interest so nation-state is only viable political unit
  • nationalism not always linked with nation-state hood
    1) some nations satisfied with political autonomy > statehood i.e Wales + Breton/Basque nationalism in France/Spain ∴ not always separatism (quest to secede from large political formation with view to establish independent state) but devolution/federalism HOWEVER Basque ETA + SNP want nation-statehood
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  • cultural nationalism usually mystical + based on romantic belief on nation as unique historical + organic whole + draws on popular rituals/traditions/legends
  • key thinker: Herder - nation possessing Volksgeist (spirit of the people; organic identity of people reflected in culture + language) ∴ culturalism: belief that human beings are culturally defined creatures with culture as universal basis for personal + social identity
  • ∴ nationalism to develop awareness/appreciation of national traditions/collective memories > political quest for nation-statehood i.e 19th Germany, black nationalism i.e Garvey + Black Panthers + Nation of Islam, India as Hindu civilisation, modern China with emphasis on Chinese principles
  • issues:
    1) cultural nationalism inclusive; ethnic nationalism inherently inclusive due to union by blood (overlapping with racialism)
    2) culturalism nationalism as exclusive compared to political nationalism bc considered implicitly/explicitly chauvinistic in fearing other nations (fuelled by pride/fear) ∴ incompatible with multiculturalism
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Liberal nationalism (1/2)

  • key thinkers: Mazzini (Italy), Bolivar (Latin America), Wilson (America), Nehru (India), Jinnah (Pakistan)
  • anti-autocracy of multinational empires, liberalism = nationalism in 19th century bc self-determination from liberal defence of indiv. freedom expressed in language of rights
  • liberal nationalism as liberating force:
    1) opposes all forms of foreign domination + oppression by multinational empires/colonial powers
    2) ideal of self-gov. reflected in constitutionalism i.e Wilson's plan for European democratic-republic nation-states
  • aim of lib. nationalism: construction of world of nation-states i.e Mill: "boundaries of government should coincide in the main with those of nationality, Mazzini's "Young Europe", Wilson's plan for Poles/Czechs/Hungarians
  • principle of balance/natural harmony applies to nations of world so old order of autocratic + militaristic empires caused WWI whereas democratic nation-states would respect national sovereignty of others + have no incentive to wage war based on mutual respect for national rights + characteristics (cosmopolitanism + internationalism)
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Liberal nationalism (2/2)

  • liberal internationalism (theory/practice of politics based on transnational/global co-op) fears international state of nature bc self-determination preserves self-gov. + forbids foreign control but each nation has freedom to pursue own interests
  • how to prevent international anarchy?
    1) national interdependence i.e free trade leading to economic interdependence making material costs of war so great war is unthinkable
    2) international organisations (supranationalism) to have authority to resolve international conflict i.e League of Nations, UN


  • nationalism can be irrational leading to tribalism (group behaviour characterised by insularity + exclusivity fuelled by hostility towards rival groups) + is emotional
  • misguided belief that nation-state is key to political/international harmony bc nations don't live in distinct + easy regions i.e German speakers in Poland/Czechoslovakia + Yugoslavia comprising of Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Bosnians, Albanians
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Conservative nationalism

  • nationalism initially considered radical/dangerous bc threat to order/political stability but considered natural ally in maintaining social order + defending trad. institutions for Disraeli, Bismarck, Alexander II
  • tends to develop in established nation-states bc it maintains national unity by fostering patriotic loyalty in face of divisive class consciousness preventing social revolution i.e de Gaulle, Thatcher
  • essentially nostalgic reflecting on past age of national glory/triumph i.e ritual/defending monarchy
  • prominent when national identity felt to be threatened ∴ issues of immigration (stable societies based on one culture so restricted immigration or assimilation) + supranationalism (EU as threat against national sovereignty bc European Project attempts political union across diversity)


  • form of elite manipulation in that nation is invented + defined by political leaders for own purposes i.e emotional appeals to fight for fatherland
  • promotes intolerance + bigotry by insisting maintenance of cultural purity + established traditions legitimising racialist + xenophobic fears
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Expansionist nationalism (1/2)

  • militarism: achievement of ends by military means or extension of military ideas/values/practices to civilian society
  • apparent in 1800s in European scramble for Africa in name of national glory + "place in sun"
  • imperialism: extension of control by one country over another by overt political means/economic domination; supported by popular nationalism in that nation prestige linked increasingly to possession of empire
  • jingoism: mood of nationalist enthusiasm + public celebration provoked by military expansion/imperial conquest i.e WWI + WWII in Axis Powers
  • link to chauvinism in that nations aren't equal in right to self-determination bc some are superior i.e 1800s Europe - whites intellectually superior to black/brown/yellow people of Africa/Asia + moral duty of white man's burden in bringing civilisation + Christianity to other parts of world
  • pan-nationalism: form of nationalism dedicated to unifying disparate people through expansionism + political solidarity i.e Slavophile nationalism unifying Slavic people due to belief that Russians are natural leaders of Slavs + SLavs are culturally + spiritually superior to central/Western Europeans
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Expansionist nationalism (2/2)

  • trad. German nationalism from Napoleonic defeat and 1871 unification with Pan-German League + Navy League pressuring for closer ties to Austria + place in sun; Nazi nationalism founded in racialism: belief that racial divisions are politically significant bc races should live apart or bc they possess different qualities ∴ suited to different social role
  • national chauvinism comes form intense/hysterical nationalism enthusiasm bc separate/rational indiv. swept away on tide of patriotic emotion expressed in desire for aggression/expansion/war; integral nationalism in which indiv. lose identity within all-powerful nation (accompanied by militarism bc military glory is evidence of national greatness so civilian population is militarised by martial values of loyalty/dedication/self-sacrifice
  • national chauvinism appeals to isolated + powerful by offering security/self-respect/pride, stimulated by negative intergration of other nations perceived as threats (needs to be a "them" to forge "us" required for nationalism) i.e anti-Semitism in pan-Slavism + pan-Germanism
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Anti-colonial + postcolonial nationalism (1/2)

  • European colonialism brought nationalism to colonies leading to mounting nationalist pressure forcing them to leave i.e India (1947), Malaysia (1957), China (1937-1945), Algeria (1954-1962), Vietnam (1946-1954)
  • many liberation leaders were western educated
  • quest for political independence closely linked to awareness of economic under-development + subordination to industrialised states of Europe + N. America ∴ national liberation is both political + economic
  • Indian nationalism under Gandhi rooted in non-violence + self-sacrifice from Hinduism therefore spiritual nationalism
  • Franz Fanon connected anti-colonial struggle with violence, only violence can bring about psycho-political regeneration from colonialism
  • links to socialism i.e moderate socialism from Gandhi + Nehru to revolutionary socialism in China/Vietnam/Cuba bc class loyalties are international + that Marx: "working men have no country" bc nationalism is bourgeois ideology
  • socialist values of community + co-op were established in trad. pre-industrial societies
  • Marxism provided analysis for inequality + exploitation that could be challenged
  • 1960s/1970s - colonialism considered class oppression by Marxist nationalists bc Lenin: imperialism as economic phenomen for investment, cheap labour, raw materials
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Anti-colonialism + postcolonialism (2/2)

  • ∴ class struggle was struggle against colonial exploitation + oppression ∴ overthrow of colonial rule would bring economic + political emanicipation
  • i.e China/North Korea/Vietnam/Cambodia seized foreign assets + nationalised economic resources with one-party states + centrally planned economies
  • i.e Algeria/Libya/Zambia/Iraq/South Yemen used less extreme socialist methods to promote economic + social development
  • since decline of Marxism-Leninism, nationalism in former colonies characterised by anti-westernism bc west seen as source of oppression + exploitation as reaction to US culture + economic power done so through religious fundamentalism
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