POL101Y1 Lecture Notes - Civic Nationalism, Communitarianism, High Culture

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4 Apr 2012

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Nationalism and Conflict
What is nationalism?
o Ideology of nations nation is a group that wants to have its
own state
o But things are not so simple
o What is a nation?
Group of people who believe they share a common fate,
history, culture, and language
o Nationalism says that the state and nation should be congruent
o But this only occurs under modern conditions
o Never before in human history did people insist that their
leaders be of the same culture and never did leaders try to
make the people share their culture
o This is a modern phenomenon
o It’s this need for congruence that needs to be explained
o Only about 300 year-old concept
o Why does it only happen under conditions of modernity?
Nationalism and modernization
o High culture and low cultures: European monarchs and
o Industrial society and need for universalization of high culture
o In this way, nations are constructed, they are projects of elites,
sometimes competing projects. They don’t exist as things in
themselves but are the products of aggregated individual
o But stakes are very high: if YOUR culture is not adopted as the
high (and universal) culture, you face systematic disadvantage
o In industrial societies, states are service organizations for
providing common cultures: education
o Cases: Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia
o Seen this way, nations don’t create nationalism: nationalism
creates nations!
Nationalism and sequencing
o State first, nation second: France and Britain “nation
o Nation first, state second: Germany and Italy
Ethnic versus civic nationalism
o What is the basis of belonging: political or cultural?
o Ethnic belonging: based on history, language, blood
o Civic belonging: based on political allegiance
o Thin versus thick
o United States should be called United Nations and United
Nations should be called United States?
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