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Understanding Nationalism To what extent should nation be the foundation of identity?

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding Nationalism To what extent should nation be the foundation of identity?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding Nationalism To what extent should nation be the foundation of identity?

2 Who are you? Do you identify with this flag? Does this flag make you who you are? Why do you identify with this flag? What other icons (images) might you identify with? Why do “we” identify with being Canadian as “our” nationality? Why are we proud of a flag?

3 What is a nation? What is a country? A nation is People who feel a sense of belonging together People who want to control their own destiny From Latin meaning “people” or “race” May not have official borders or government A country is Geographic area defined by official borders Borders and government are recognized by other countries World includes more than 190 official countries

4 Nation and Nation-state Nation An idea that means different things to different people. Some people think a nation is a country with physical territory and a government. Others think a nation is people who share a sense of belonging together and who want to control their own destiny. Nation-state A country that has physical borders and a single government that makes laws and conducts business on behalf of its citizens. Nation-states may be based on ethnic nationalism or civic nationalism or a combination of the two.

5 Civic Nation According to Michael Ignatieff a civic nation is made up of people who share certain political beliefs. In that framework, race, colour, creed, gender, language, and ethnicity do not matter. Civic Nation: citizens are equal; have the same rights and responsibilities Based on shared values and beliefs Civic means “related to citizens” Ex. Canada

6 Civic Nation Most civic nations have a constitution, or a legal document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of a society’s citizens It includes the core laws that define the nation and how it will be governed. It is valued because it lays out the kind of society they want to live in. Elected politicians and the courts must support and conform with these ideas and rules.

7 Civic Nationalism One understanding implies that Civic Nationalism emerges only after a nation state has been created. Ex. Britain Began as four separate nations: Irish, Scottish, English and Welsh peoples Today people of these four nations live within the British nation-state They share certain values and beliefs and they form a British civic nation.

8 Civic and Ethnic Nationalism Civic nationalism is different from ethnic nationalism, which is based on shared ethnicity, culture, and language. Ex. Germany 1800’s German-speaking peoples lived in a number of small states, but many people supported the idea of a German nation-state.

9 Emergence of Nationalism Ethnic Nationalism Pre-Existing characteristics or traditions lead to a shared sense of nation. The people may then create a nation-state if they choose to live together with others who share their sense of nation. Civic Nationalism People or peoples who share certain values and beliefs choose to live together in a nation-state. Their values and beliefs are often expressed in a constitution. The characteristics of the nation evolve over time, as common beliefs and values enable people to respect their differences.

10 How are nation and country different? Can you “belong” to more than one nation? Country? Can you identify with more than one nation? Country? Does your identity stop at the invisible lines on the ground?

11 Expressions of Nationality How do we express nationalism? Language Ethnicity Culture Religion Geography Politics Is nationalism the same as patriotism? –Patriotism Love of country or nation May spark heroism Related words: patriot, patriotic, patriate, repatriate

12 Understandings of Nation Language, ethnicity, culture, religion, geography, relationship to land, spirituality, and politics are often commonalities shared by people who feel they belong to the same “nation” of people. How could these traits be the glue that holds a “nation” together?

13 Language When a language is spoken by a great many people it can create a feeling of belonging that inspires a sense of nation. In Canada this can most easily be seen through the Francophone culture in Quebec. Quebecois French has become distinct from the French spoken in France. It has created a sense of belonging.

14 Language On the other hand, there are 480 million people around the world that speak English as a first language, but it would be hard to say that they make up a single nation. Why would there be a distinction between the Quebecois, and the English speaking world?

15 Ethnicity Ethnicity can be based on shared racial, cultural, national or linguistic characteristics. In that sense then, talking about people of the “Vietnamese nation” may mean people physically residing in the Southeast Asian country of Vietnam, but it may also include other people around the world who do not actually live in Vietnam. As well, not all people who live in Vietnam are of Vietnamese heritage.

16 Ethnicity Many people believe that building a nation around a shared ethnicity can help protect peoples’ collective identity. However, it may also encourage people to think in terms of “us” and “them”, which can be a cause of conflict. Can you think of any countries whose basis is set around ethnicity? Is Canada one of them?

17 Culture Culture can involved in shaping a person’s national identity. Culture can be seen through dress, art, traditional ceremonies or stories, etc. In Canada, the First Nations peoples have many distinct cultures. For example, the Haida on the West Coast have different traditions than the Piikani of the prairies, etc. How can traditions create a national identity?

18 Religion There are many different religions around the world and they serve to unify populations under one central doctrine. However, a Christian in Saskatchewan could be very different from a Christian in Africa, or Alabama. As well, within most world religions there are different sects that take different interpretations of the traditions Being united under one common denominator can still provide a sense of nation

19 Geography Mountains, oceans, and deserts are physical barriers that isolate peoples from one another. This isolation can allow people to develop in their own ways and form a sense of nation Ex. Tibet

20 Relationship to Land and Spirituality Certain geographic characteristics create connections to the land for people that allow them to feel a sense of nation. Ex. Niagara Falls, Hoodoos Ex. Siksika Often the connections to the land can lead to spiritual connections which also lead to a sense of belonging to a certain nation

21 Politics Sovereignty- the political authority of a people to control their own affairs Some people believe that a group of people can be a nation if they have sovereignty. Others believe it is only the desire to have sovereignty that qualifies a people as a nation Ex. Tibet Ex. Dene Nation in Northwest Territories


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