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NATIONALISM, NATIONAL IDENTITY Introduction to theories SEU2310.

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1 NATIONALISM, NATIONAL IDENTITY Introduction to theories SEU2310

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:  “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  Ethnic  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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