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Nationalism: Empirical and Normative Issues Professor Neil J. Mitchell.

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Presentation on theme: "Nationalism: Empirical and Normative Issues Professor Neil J. Mitchell."— Presentation transcript:

1 Nationalism: Empirical and Normative Issues Professor Neil J. Mitchell

2 Nationalism Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country President John F Kennedy

3 Empirical and Normative Empirical or Normative? You ought not to trust anyone over 30 SNP voters are more likely to male than female. Are Italians more nationalistic than Americans? Is nationalism good for a nation?

4 Empirical Issues - Outline Definition and Origins Boundaries Evolution and Challenges Inertial forces Measuring Nationalism Explaining Nationalism

5 Empirical Issues Origins of the Nation State –Definition of terms Nation State –Fit together more or less exactly Iraq is a less exactly case Boundaries of nation-states

6 Political Evolution and Transitory Forms: Nation State Relatively recent European development –Economic and political forces Challenges to the Nation State –Technological –Economic –Cultural –Organisational and non-state actors


8 Inertial forces Those with a stake in the present Emotional attachment Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said, This is my own, my native land! Walter Scott

9 Pervasiveness of nationalism Are we all nationalists? Is it more intense in Belgium or the Balkans?

10 How to measure it? Flags on cars Pay taxes voluntarily Tax rates in democracies Tax avoidance/corruption Volunteer army Voting and political participation Ask people


12 Variation in Nationalism Civic Culture Data (1959/60 except France) from Almond and Verba (1963) and John Ambler, Trust in Political and Nonpolitical Authorities in France Comparative Politics Oct 1975

13 Civic Culture Data

14 How to explain nationalism? one nation under God Inglehart Modernisation (1997) 1990 data


16 Explaining nationalism Links to other core values Experience of nationalism –What has your country done to you recently? Do we teach nationalism – pledges, anthems, war cemetery visits, British values etc? What have been the costs/benefits of nationalism in country X? Who amongst us is more nationalistic?

17 Smith and Kim, National Pride in Comparative Perspective Intl Journal of Public Opinion Research 2006



20 Demographics and Nationalism, Smith and Kim What predicts higher levels of nationalism? Age –older Education –Less educated Gender –Male rather than female

21 Normative Issues With Nationalism Ought we to be Nationalists? Perspectives on Love of Country Sneaky Nationalism Rescuing Nationalism Non-Toxic Nationalism: J.S. Mill

22 Love of Country If I should die, think only this of me: That theres some corner of a foreign field That is for ever England Rupert Brooke ( )

23 Love of Country Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said, This is my own, my native land! … Despite those titles, power, and pelf, The wretch, concentred all in self, Living, shall forfeit fair renown, And, doubly dying, shall go down To the vile dust, from whence he sprung, Unwept, unhonor'd, and unsung. O Caledonia! stern and wild, ….. Walter Scott ( )

24 Or the last refuge of scoundrels If the war is lost, the people will be lost also. It is not necessary to worry about what the German people will need for elementary survival. On the contrary, it is best for us to destroy even those things. For the people has proved itself to be weaker, and the future belongs exclusively to the stronger people of the East. Those who will survive this struggle will in any case be inferiors, for the good are already dead. Adolf Hitler ( )

25 Sneaky Nationalism Why not just abandon nationalism? Rescuing Nationalism –Civic versus ethnic –Non-toxic nationalism

26 Non-toxic nationalism We need scarcely say that we do not mean nationality in the vulgar sense of the term; a senseless antipathy to foreigners; an indifference to the general welfare of the human race, or an unjust preference of the supposed interests of our own country; a cherishing of bad peculiarities because they are national or a refusal to adopt what has been found good by other countries.... We mean a principle of sympathy, not of hostility; of union, not of separation. We mean a feeling of common interest among those who live under the same government, and are contained within the same natural or historical boundaries. We mean, that one part of the community shall not consider themselves as foreigners with regard to another part; that they shall cherish the tie which holds them together; shall feel that they are one people, that their lot is cast together John Stuart Mill, A System of Logic (1843), Book VI, Chapter 10.

27 An ideology? System of belief – the whole or people – individual sacrifice not selfishness – loyalty to imagined community Worldly focus and has a programme of action Justifies and legitimates institutions and policies Intense, durable and pervasive idea

28 Or Not Just a loyalty to a land mass –A belief more than a system of beliefs Spawns heterogeneous parties/programmes –SNP to BNP No great philosopher

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