-Prior to industrial revolution, people didn’t need to speak a unified
-when you speak with people you are not close and have just met with
you need a common language and culture
-people need to coordinate with one another
States impose culture. States impose systems of education. The choice of
language is momentus. It privileges some and not others. (ex. Making English
the main language)
In this way, nations are constructed, they are projects of elites, sometimes
competing projects. They don’t exist as things in themselves but as the
products of aggregated individual beliefs.
-Nations are constructed (ex. Soviet Union constructing Uzbekistan,
-Canada is socially constructed just like any other country.
-States are socially constructed – state education system, state flag,
state national anthem, state borders etc.
But stakes are very high: if YOUR culture is not adopted as the higher (and
universal) culture, you face systematic disadvantage.
In industrial societies, state are service organizations for providing
common cultures: education.
Cases: Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia.
Until 19th century, most Ukrainians did not know they were Ukrainian.
They did speak an east Slavic language but were systematically
disadvantaged in this Russian state. The heroes of Ukraine- the linguists and
historians. They standardized the “proper way of speaking” and told great
heroic stories to the Ukrainians.
-If you wish to have a people (all united) you need to have a story!
-All nations tell stories! * You can’t have a nation unless you tell a story –
narrative of the people
Hungarians same thing as the Ukrainians. Hungarians captured that part
of Europe where they lived in year 900. Became part of the Hapsburg empire
and spoke German. Hungarian nationalism is 19th century phenomenon. The
first great Hungarian national spoke Hungarian poorly, he spoke German
better but he made everyone speak Hungarian rather than German.
Hapsburg empire breaks up after WWI and Hungary is independent.
Slovakia gets independence in 1993 when Czechoslovakia breaks up.
This is how nationalism occurs. –Nationalism creates nations not nations
Social creations are in most cases very effective and successful. (Jews don’t
wonder if they Arabs, Arabs don’t wonder if they are Jews, Armenians don’t
wonder if they are Turks etc.)