POL101, JAN 9.docx

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22 Apr 2012

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POL101, Jan. 9: Nationalism and Conflict
What is nationalism
- Seemingly obvious answer: the ideology of nations. A nation is a group that wants to have its
own state.
- But things are not so simple.
- What is a nation?
- A group of people who believe they share a common fate, history, culture and language.
- Nationalism says that the state and nation should be congruent.
- But this only occurs under modern conditions
- Never before in human history did people insist their leaders be of the same culture and never
did leaders try to make the people share their culture.
- This is a modern phenomenon.
- It’s this need for congruence that needs to be explained.
Nationalism and Modernization
- High culture and low cultures. European monarchs and populations
- Industrial society and need for universalization of high culture
- 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 beliefs.
- But stakes are very high: if your culture is not adopted as the high culture( and universal), you
face systematic disadvantage.
- In industrial societies, states are service organizations for providing common cultures: education
- Cases: Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia
- Seen this way, nations don’t create nationalism: nationalism creates nations.
Nationalism and Sequencing
- State first, nation second: France and Britain “nation building”
- Nation first, state second: Germany and Italy.
Ethnic versus civic Nationalism
- What is the basis of belonging, political or cultural?
- Ethnic belonging: based on history, language, blood
- Civic belonging: based on political allegiance.
- Thin versus thick
- United states should be called united nations and united nations should be called united states?
- Competition between these two principles
- Canada: liberalism versus communitarianism
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