The state, nation state and national sovereignty


The state: nation states and national sovereignty

A nation - group that belong to a unified community , with characteristics such as territory, language, ethnicity, culture, religion or traditions - yet none apart from territory are essential and the group doesnt need to share all of these characterisitics. They're relatively easy to identify and will most like share the above, however Bretons in France and Bavarians in Gernmany believe they are a nation in their own right. For the last two centuries, loyalty and identification to a nation, as opposed to your church or city, increased and gained serious power.

Nationhood - behind one of the most powerful forces in global politics, nationalism. The strong beleif in your own country, driving some of the greatest changes and conflicts in world history.

A State -  a specific from of political entitu which much have a defined territory, permenant population, functioning and effective government and recognition by other nation states.

  • A defined territory - state can only have sovereignty over somewhere, the rightful owner of particular territory raises many political conflicts in the world. Examples of this is the Falkland island/ Malvinas conflict, Kasmir dispute between India and Pakistan and the People's republic of China with their neighbours over island and sea rights. Physcial land is essencial.
  • A permenant population - People must be permenantly living in that territory, if there are no people, then there is no state. E.g. Antartica has no population thus is not a state.
  • A functioning and effective government - Although some states meet the other criteria for statehood, if there not able to enforce the law or exercise their sovereignty over population, they're seen as 'failed states' - Syria, engulfed by the civil war and al-Assad's government lost control of Syria to rebels and ISIS.
  • Recognition by other nation states  - arguably most significant criteria, unless it is recognised as a state, it cant effectively enter into relations with them or exercise sovereignty in the international system (through UN membership or having an embassy - official office of an ambassador).  Kosovo is recognised, yet is not in regards to be a member of the UN. Palestine isn't formally recognised, yet there is growing international pressure for this to change.

Nation state - prime political entity of the modern era and in the Westphalian system. They represent the political wishes of a nation - gaining authority and legitimacy, are a self-governing state, and are based on the principle of self-determination. The UN recognises 193 states in the world, the term is best used to differenciate them from the US' 50 states.

Issues with nationhood and statehood in


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