GEOG 128 Geography Of International Affairs : Essay Fountain

Question:

What’s the relationship between the nation, the state, the nation-state? How are colonialism and nationalism related? What’s missing from these arguments?

Relevant readings: Gellner, Anderson, Segal and Handler

 

Answer:

Introduction

Nationalism comes from the word nation which in the recent world it can be defined as a group of people that is often large and shares a common origin, language, traditions or even the same political entity.

Nationalism can, therefore, be regarded as an ideology that is usually based on the fact that an individual’s loyalty to a nation/state is greater and surpasses that of an individual and some other relevant groups.  Nationalism has over time been considered as a movement that has been existing for quite some time now. Throughout time, individuals have always felt some kind of attachment towards their native land. There is always some kind of attachment that exists.

This write up is going to look at nationalism from a wider perspective seeking to unleash all the possible terms and issues related to it. In doing so, we are going to look at various articles and documentation made by various scholars regarding to nationalism. There would be also my own opinion on how I feel about what some of these articles say about nationalism.

 

Nationalism in a wider perspective

George Orwell has a totally different perspective on nationalism. According to him, he believes that human beings can be classified just like insects and basically all the people in this world can either be termed as either bad or good. What is more of importance for him, however, is the habit of an individual being in a position to identify him/herself with a particular nation thus placing it above their own personal goals and/or accomplishments. Nationalism is often confused with patriotism but it is important to note that these two terms are not even close. They are totally different meanings. The term patriotism he says is some kind of devotion to either a certain place or a certain way of life that they personally and collectively. The distinguishable feature between patriotism and nationalism is that the later is much more defensive in all aspects both military and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is much more inseparable from the common desire of power. The primary goal of each and every nationalist is always pegged at securing much more power and prestige that they already had. What is of interest is that the power and prestige that nationalists secure if for their country and not for their own.

According to George, nationalism is a much wider term which incorporates some kind of patriotism. Despite the rifts that exist between these two terms, people often find it hard to set them apart. George, however, clearly indicates that nationalism is more unique and supreme.

Well, I greatly conquer with George Orwell, his definition of nationalism is so specific yet so discrete. Nationalism is much more supreme than patriotism. I can personally regard nationalism to be an ideology that comes about as a result of lacking something (power and prestige). It is linked to various movements that have been taking place over time. Some of the common movements that bear their soul from nationalism are; Catholicism, Zionism, and Pacifism among others.

 The work of Louis Dumont and his predecessor Alex De Tocqueville was very significant in trying to explain the various aspects of nationalism. An Anthropological Model of Nationalism was developed.  Dumont used a totally different approach to examine nationalism. He actually argued that nations and states perfectly or imperfectly fit into various individuals worldviews in two ways; first, they fit as collections of individuals and second individuated collectives.

The modern view of nationalism is somewhat twisted. In as much as we recognize that individuals have the ability to highlight various aspects concerning their true identity and sense of nationalism we also tend to forget that these very individuals can change their identity from one moment to the next.

Well, this is very relatable. Dumont was a great scholar whose efforts in trying to explain nationalism are distinguishable. The most unique and worrying aspect of nationalism is that it changes. It is just in moments that one shifts his/her nationalism from one state to another. In the modern world, this is regarded as treason and it’s punishable by death.

 I, however, do not agree with this. In my opinion, I do believe that nationalism and identity are the same. Moreover, I strongly do recognize that people have a tendency of highlighting their identity according to the context; I do not believe that identity can change from one moment to another. It is the context that is of interest and nothing else. Perhaps, nationality is all about the hunger for power and prestige and anyone would do anything to ensure that his/her nations acquire these two even if it means shifting/changing his nationality depending on the context.

It is also important to note that there are a number of countable ways in which nationalists principles can be violated. For instance, if the political boundary of a given state fails either knowingly or unknowingly to include all its members of the appropriate nation, or maybe it includes all of them but also includes some foreigners that were not supposed to be included or maybe they can fail to all these two things at once. When these ways are not adhered to then there is a probability that nationalist’s principles can be violated.

Conclusion

Generally, nationalism can be termed as a theory of political legitimacy which is aimed at ensuring that ethnic and other boundaries do not interfere with political backgrounds. As depicted from the works of various scholars on nationalism as described above, it is very vivid that the full manifestation of modern nationalism took place around the 17th century. This manifestation developed and grew roots and with time, certain developments have been taking place.

Nationalism has become not only significant but also peculiar and to some extent forceful principle in the modern world that we do live in. Modern nationalism is not based on natural unity but rather on a much more artificial one. This is exactly what makes modern nationalism have a double face.

 

Bibliography

Bernard, H. Russell, and Clarence C. Gravlee, eds. Handbook of methods in cultural anthropology. Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.

Greenfeld, Liah. “Nationalism.” The Wiley?Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization (2012).

Harris, Alfred. Description and comparison in cultural anthropology. Routledge, 2017.

Hutchinson, John. Dynamics of cultural nationalism: The Gaelic revival and the creation of the Irish nation state. Routledge, 2012.

Kohn, Hans. The idea of nationalism: A study of its origins and background. Routledge, 2017.

Miller, Barbara D. Cultural anthropology. Pearson, 2017.

Smith, Anthony D. Nationalism: Theory, ideology, history. John Wiley & Sons, 2013.

Smith, Anthony, and Anthony D. Smith. Nationalism and modernism. Routledge, 2013.

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