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Nationalism, national identity

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1 Nationalism, national identity
SEU2310 Introduction to theories 1

2 What is a Nation? "A nation is a historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture.” Reification: the act of treating a concept or abstraction as if it has real, concrete qualities. Essentialization: reductionism; treating a group as homogeneous

3 Nation Miroslav Hroch: Imagined communities– Benedict Anderson
“Memory” of common past Density of linguistic or cultural ties Conceptions of equality among members Imagined communities– Benedict Anderson “Imagined as inherently limited and sovereign” A concept of “experience and expectations”– Karolewski and Suszycki Category for organizing difference

4 Nation (con’t) When is the nation? Where is the nation?
How is the nation constituted? Constituted thru symbols, discourse, practices… Why…? What the nation is not: The state, all the people A sharp contrast to Empire Legitimate opposition to Communism

5 Nation (con’t) Contingent upon the form and function of the state
Imagined and constructed, but perceived as very real; must be treated with care and consideration, but not reified. Often, more difference exists within a nation than between nations

6 Perspectives on Nations (from K&S)
Functional Macro-historical processes Constructivist Constantly (re-)created thru discourse and practices Genealogical Ethnosymbolic approach (tracing the development of nations) Rationalist Behavior analyzed thru rational choice theory

7 Nation (con’t) Primordialist view of nation (Nationalists)
Primordial and natural Since time immemorial Perrenialist view (Some Social Scientists) Ethnic core out of which nations developed at different points in history Modern, constructivist view (Most Social Sci.) Constructions associated with the new circumstances of modernity: states, popular literacy, newspapers and novels, mass educational systems, museums, histories

8 Nationalism A political principle that holds that the nation and state should be congruent– Gellner “it invents nations where they do not exist” “An ideology about individuated being concerned with boundedness, continuity and homogeneity encompassing diversity”– Richard Handler “An idea in which social reality, conceived in terms of nationhood, is endowed with the reality of national things.”

9 Nationalism (con’t) What nationalism is not:
A place on the political spectrum A set, comprehensive political program A force that acts upon politics/people Nationalism does not DO anything “Nationalism is pervasive in the modern world b/c it is widely USED, not merely found”– Calhoun 2007 Used in vastly different kinds of projects It matters more b/c it can be used in so many contexts.

10 Nationalism (con’t) Nationalism and religion
Nationalism and ethnic politics/territories Nationalism and class struggle/economics Nationalism and environment Nationalism and art Nationalism and decolonialization Nationalism and multiculturalism Nationalism and sport

11 Nationalism (con’t) “A discursive phenomenon that gives shape to the modern world”– Calhoun 2007 “A way of talking, writing, and thinking about the basic units of culture, politics, and belonging that helps to constitute nations as real and powerful dimensions of social life”– Calhoun 2007 “Nations do not exist “objectively”: before they exist discursively.”– Calhoun 2007

12 Ethnic vs. Civic nationalism
Membership based on descent Common faith, language, history Nations can be unambiguously identified Civic Membership = citizenry Territory and its history “daily referendum” (E. Renan) Patriotism

13 National Identity Easier to identify connections to national identity than nationalisms When, Where is national identity activated? “Collective memory”/national identity often enacted thru memorials, rituals, museums, literature, songs, etc. Signs, symbols, discourse, actions Demonstrate constructedness of nations

14 National Identity (con’t)
Three aspects of national identity Integrative function Othering function “We—I balance” in national identity Positive self-image/superiority of nation Slippery slope to out-group discrimination? Moving from negatively valued group to positively valued group? Immortality of nations Connection with past and future

15 National Identity (con’t)
Widespread acceptance of national identity Legitimacy Hard to escape national grouping Ordinary people live nationhood in a variety of ways Talking the nation Choosing the nation Consuming the nation Performing the nation

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