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Canadian Studies
CDNS 1000
Peter Thompson

Nationalism- Worth identifying to. Always tells us that our state is the BEST state, that one state is superior to all others. Primordial- the definition of a nation is a group of people who are bound together by a language or other things. Ethnicity, language, the idea that the nation is a natural formation. We are told we are born into a nation, and we have a nationality in the same way that we have a height. It predates any sense of history that we have. We cant change what our language is, just as well as we cant change our nationality. Modern approach to nationalism tells us that nations are not natural formations. There are specific political formations that emerge out of a specific time and a specific place. Nations are political formations that emerge out of specific modern periods. People are not tied together through ethnicity and language but through some understanding of shared history, are bound together through occupying the same territory, symbols, myths, values. Tells us that the nation is the OPPOSITE of a natural formation, not concrete, not fixed. It is a social construction or a share idea that we tell ourselves. Tells us we have many choices, we use political institutions and values and symbols to facilitate trade and keep ourselves together. Primordialism- Anthony Smith isnt necessarily saying that this is what the nation needs to look like, he is saying that this is one way that we can understand nationalism. Argues that nations are ancient, natural phenomena, you are born into a nation the same way that you are born into a family. It is liked to the ideas of German romanticism, and the German romantics argued that the nation is something that goes together with language group. Language is what determines thought, the only way we think is through language. Because we learn our language within our community, and each has a different language, that means that each different nation thinks differently. Language is something that stores cultural values/beliefs. Determines how we see the world, what our values are, how we act. Community only changes within certain parameters, the community is mostly fixed over time ( a fixed nature). Problematic: leads us to possibly close our borders to people who do not belong to a certain ethnic group, so it can be very exclusionary. It can also be reactionary (it may lead us to want to protect the purity of our nation) may lead us to see people who are not in our nation as threats (inside or outside of the country) ie closing the borders. Canada relies on increased immigration to keep things moving, mostly populated by immigrants as it is. Problems: What Smith argues is tht he will concede all of those events, but he argues that ethnic ties are still very strong. It is something that even if we are uncomfortable with it, we have to recognize that ethnic ties are a necessary element of human history. He also argues that even though we have separated the idea of nationalism and ethnicity, wars are still going on that has largely discarded the idea of primordialism. He argues that nationalism may explain our irrational connection to a certain nation. Modernist Approach-Benedict Anderson and modernist tells us that nations are not ancient phenomenon. they are relatively recent constructs, and they really only date back to the french revolution. We often say that Canada is such a young country, but this isn't true. It emerged when all of the other ones did, really all country's are young and they came about around the same time. It emerged because of a certain set of political, economic circumstances. Nation emerged because of increased travel, because of growing secularism in society among many others. Anderson argues that a nation is an imagined community, the reason being is because even if you belong to the smallest nation on earth, you are never going to meet or hear of or know of/sense of all of the other members of that nation. However, in the minds of every person in the nation, we have this sense that there is a community that exists between all of these people. The nation isn't a concrete or natural or fixed idea or thing. It exists in everyones mind, it doesn't even exist on the ground. The thing that binds it together is the belief that we all exist in the same nation. THe nation is constantly re-imagined, it is an idea, something that we constantly need to bind into. Even though we haven't met most of the people that live in Canada, but for some reason you have a connection to all of these people, you believe that when you are upholding the nation, you are doing so in the interest of a whole group of people that you haven't met. Argues that the nation is like a family, essentially just a group of people who can stand one another. Gelner argues that nations aren't just imagined constructions, but also invented constructions, they are supported through tradition. Gellner takes Andersons thoughts but goes into a darker path. Anderson ultimately doesn't believe that it is a negative force, but a positive force. He argues that the nation is the most politically legitimate institution that we have. People need that nation because the nation gives them a set of rights. It is the only thing that is able to give us the rights and protection that we need. Anderson argues that it doesn't matter if the traditions are symbols and everything are invented or not, it really doesn't matter. We have to recognize that all nations are imagined, and it just so happens that every nation is just imagined in a different way. The nation is always imagined as limited, what he means by that is that all nations always have definable boarders.
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