Types of nationalism


Nationalism and politics

  • nationalism has been both liberating and oppressive, progressive and regressive, rational and irrational
  • has entrenched established identities
  • celebrated national glories
  • appeals to principled beliefs
  • bred from no-rational drives and emotions (ancient fears and hatred)
  • ideological shapelessness is product of numerous factors
  • emerged in very different historical contexts
  • shaped by contrasting cultural inheritances
  • used to advance a wide variety of political causes and aspirations
  • reflects capacity of nationalism to fuse with and absorb other political doctrines and ideas
  • created a series of rival nationalist traditions:
    • liberal nationalism
    • conservative nationalism
    • expansionist nationalism
    • anti-colonial/post colonial nationalism
1 of 12

Liberal Nationalism

  • oldest form dating back to FR
  • founded on defence of individual freedom - nationalists see nation as as sovereign entities entitled to rights - right to self-determination
  • influenced Simon Bolivar who led Latin American independence movement
  • Woodrow Wilson's 14 points were based on liberal nationalist principles
  • shaped by Rousseau's defence of popular sovereignty - 'general will'
  • libearal nationalism is a liberating force
    • opposes all forms of foreign domination and oppression
    • stands for the ideal of self-government - constitutionalism and representation
  • believe that all nations are equal
  • ultimate aim is construction of world of independent states
  • J.S.Mill:'the boundaries of government should coincide in thw main with those of nationality'
  • believe principle of balance or natural harmony applies to nations of the world
  • Wilson believed WWI was caused by an old order dominated by militaristic and autocratic empires
  • promotes unity within nation and brotherhood amongst all nations on basis of mutual respect for national rights and characteristics
  • looks at idea of cosmopolitanism and internationalism
2 of 12

Liberal Nationalism continued

  • grounded in fear of an international state of nature
  • national self-determination is mixed blessing:whilst it forbids foreign control it creates world where nation states pursue own interests even at expense of others
  • national interdependence: promoting mutual understanding and co-operation
  • liberals traditionally support idea of free trade: economic interdependence means costs of international conflict are so great that warfare becomes unthinkable
  • proposed the national ambition should be checked by construction of international organisations to bring order to anotherwise lawless international scene e.g. UN
  • critics claim it is naive and romantic
  • ignore the darker side of nationalism - such as tribalism
  • see nationalism as universal principle but have less understanding of emotional power of nationalism which can lead to jingoism
  • miguided in its belief that nation state is key to political international harmony
  • it implies all nations lived in convenient geographical locations
  • ideal of politically unified and culturally homogenous nation states can only be achieved by deporting minorities and imposing ban on migration
  • progressive and liberating face of nationalism and is seen as rational and tolerant
3 of 12

Conservatism Nationalism

  • 19th century - conservatives saw nationalism as radical and dangerous
  • conservative statesmen (Disraeli, Bismarck and Tsar Alexander III) became sympathetic to 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
  • don't care about self-determination but more about social cohesion and public order brought by patriotism
  • society is organic: nations emerge naturally from the desire of humans
  • humans are limited and imperfect, seek meaning and security within national community
  • principle goal is to maintain national loyalty by encouraging patriotism - especially to combat idea of class solidarity encouraged by socialists
  • incorporating WC into the nation, nationalism has been seen as antidote to social revolution
  • Charles De Gaulle (French president 1959-1969) harnessed nationalism in France 
    • appealed to national pride by endorsing independent defence and foreign policy
  • appeals to belief in tradition and history
  • nationalism becomes defence for traditional institutions and life
  • nostalgic and backward looking: refelcts on past national glories
  • often use rituals to present past military victories as defining moment
4 of 12

Conservatism Nationalism continued

  • use traditional institutions as symbols of national identity e.g. monarchy
  • particularly prominent when sense of national identity is under threat
  • immigration and supra-nationalism (EU) have kept this form of nationalism alive
  • cultural diversity leads to instability and conflict
  • stable, successful societies must be based on shared values and culture - immigration must be restricted or minority groups must assimilate
  • believe supr-national pose threat to national identity and cultural bonds - eurosceptic
  • defend sovereign national institutions and distinctive nationakl currency, seeing them as vital signs of national identity
  • stable political union can't be forged out of national, language and cultural diversity
  • critics say their arguments are based on misguided assumptions
  • it can be seen as a form of elite nationalism
  • nation is invented and defined by political leaders who will use it for selfish purposes
  • can serve to promote bigotry and intolerance
  • portrays immigrants/foreigners as threat, legitimising racialist and xenophobic fears
5 of 12

Expansionist Nationalism

  • dominant image of nationalism is one of aggression and militarism - opposite of self determination
  • apparent in 19th century as Europeam powers 'scrambled for Africa' to boost national glory
  • imperialism of late 19th century supported by popular nationalism: national prestige was linked to possession of empire and colonial victories - jingoism describes this
  • aggression and expansionist nationalism reached highpoint in inter-war years when authoritarian/fascist regimes embarked on imperial expansion and world domination
  • chauvinsim: some nations are thought to be superior - European imperialism
  • Europeans portrayed imperialism as moral duty thinking it would bring benefits of civilisation
  • national chauvinsim comes from feeling of intense/hysterical national enthusiasm
  • individual is swept away on tide of patriotic emotion with desire of aggression, expansion and war - integral nationalism
  • individuals and independent groups lose identity in powerful nations - its existence and meaning is beyond life of individuals
  • military glory and conquest are ultimate evidence of national greatness
  • civilian population is effectively militarised - infected with values of loyalty, dedication and self-sacrifice
6 of 12

Expansionist Nationalism continued

  • when honour/integrity of nation is questioned , citizens become unimportant
  • strong appeal for the isolated and powerless as it offers security and prospect of security, self-respect and pride
  • require heightened sense of belonging to distinct national group - stimulated by 'national integration': seeing other nations as a threat and enemy
  • in face of an enemy nation draws togther and expreiences its own sense of identity and importance
  • commonly been reflected in racist ideologies, dividing the world and are breeding ground for racist ideas
7 of 12

Anti-Colonial and Postcolonial Nationalism

  • due to imperialism nationalism became worldwide phenomenom
  • experience of colonial rule forged nationhood and desire for national liberation amongst people of Asia and Africa
  • during 20th century: political geography of world was transformed by anti-colonialism
  • during interwar period independence movements were threatening empires of France and England - with final collapse occurring after WW2
  • mounting national pressure and declining domestic economic performance meant colonial powers departed peacefully, in most cases
  • sometimes decolonisation meant revolution and armed struggle
  • anti-colonial movements voiced ideas of liberal nationalism 
  • for African and Asian nations, independence was closely related to their economic underdevelopment and subordination to industrialised states
  • came to express desire for national liberation in political and economic terms
  • Gandhi: political philosophy of fusing Indian nationhood with ethics of non violent and self sacrifice - Hinduism - home rule was spiritual as well as political
  • Frenz Fanon: emphasised links between ant-colonialism and violence
    • colonisation wasn't just political but also way of new species of man created
    • only experience of violence is powerful enough to bring psycho-political regeneration
8 of 12

Anti-Colonial and Postcolonial Nationalism continu

  • attracted to socialism - more related to internationalism than nationalism alone
  • socialism embodies values such as community and co-operation which were already established in traditional, preindustrial societies
  • socialism provided explanation for inequality and exploitation, leading to greater understanding allowing colonial rule to be more effectively challenged
  • during 60s and 70s many drawn to marxist ideas - colonialism is extended form of class oppression
  • Lenin portrayed colonialism as economic tool, used for capitalist countries to exploit
  • class struggle became struggle against colonail exploitation and oppression
  • overthrow of colonial rule implied social revolution as well as political independence
  • reaction against dominance of west
  • closely linked to religious fundamentalism
9 of 12

Nationalism in global age

  • globalisation undermines idea of nation state
  • has limited nations ability to function as self sufficient economic unit 
  • trend of cultural globalisation is impacting individual cultures
  • growth of global interconnectedness has reconfigured sense of political communtiy and expanded moral sensibilities
  • nationalism is being made old fashioned by cosmopolitanism
  • transborder information and communication flows have reduced ignorance of other societies
  • moral cosmopolitanism is growing with people seeing themselves as global citizens
  • national divisions are increasingly being seen as arbtitrary and sustained by ignorance
  • international migration has been rapidly limiting nationalism - increasing levels of diversity
  • led to change from nationalism to multiculturalism
  • growth of transnational communites challenge nation states as homeland is not seen as being necessary for nation to exist - can be seen as deterritorialised nations/global tribes
  • recently been resurgence of nationalism- natonal self-assertion is strategy of growing significance for powerful states e.g. China's economic revival appears to be alongside rising nationalism
  • forms of cultural and ethnic nationalism have flourished from 90s+
  • revived to combat globalisation - it prospers in conditions of fear and insecurity
  • it is defined by rejection of diversity and cultural mixing
10 of 12

Key thinkers

  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
    • french moral and political philosopher
    • architect of political nationalism
    • argued 'natural man' only throw off corruption, exploitation and domination imposed by society through redical form of democracy - 'general will'
  • Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803)
    • father of cultural nationalims
    • leading opponent to enlightenment 
    • emphasis that nation is organic group with common spirit
    • Reflections of the History of Manking (1784-91)
  • Guiseppe Mazzini (1805-72)
    • Italian nationalist
    • liberal nationalist fusing belief that nation has distinctive language and cultural community with principles of liberal republicanism
    • nations are individual and equal with right to self-govern
    • one of earliest thinkers to link liberal nationalism with perpetual peace
11 of 12

Key thinkers

  • Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924)
    • 28th president 
    • introduced 14 points - promoting self-determinaiton 
    • Wilsonian liberalism is associated with idea that constructing a world of nation states is best way of preventing war
  • Charles Maurras (1868-1952)
    • key exponent of right wing nationalism, influencing fascism
    • 'integral nationalism' - organic unity of nation/rejection of individualism /stress on hierarchy and traditional institutions
  • Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948)
    • Indian independence - nonviolent resistance gave movement strong moral authority
    • believed universe is regulated by primacy of truth and humankind is 'ultimately one'
  • Marcus Garvey (1887-1940)
    • founder of Universal ***** Improvement Association (UNIA)
    • early advocate of black nationalism - establishing black pride
  • Frantz Fanon (1925-61)
    • view on anti-colonial struggle - The Wretched of the Earth (1965)
    • only total revolution and violence can help colonised people liberate themselves from constraints of imperialism
12 of 12





Similar Government & Politics resources:

See all Government & Politics resources »See all Nationalism resources »