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Nationalism and Conflict

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Jeffrey Kopstein

Political Science January 10 , 2011 Nationalism and Conflict Reading: Muller, Us and Them - The Enduring Power of Ethnic Nationalism King and Menon, Prisoners of the Caucasus, pp.20-34 What is Nationalism? Seemingly obvious: the ideology of nations. A nation: a group that wants to have its own state. But things are not simple Thesis: Nations dont invent nationalism. Rather, Nationalism invents nations Nation: a group of people who believe they share a common fate, history, culture and language Nationalism says that the state and the nation should be congruent BUT this occurs only modern conditions. Never before in history did people insist that their leaders be of the same religion, language and history as the people. th Germans existed only in the 19 century. So, its this need for congruence that needs to be explained Nationalism and Modernization High Culture and Low Cultures: European monarchs and populations The last Tsar and Tsarina communicated with English, not even their first language. There was no need for cultural congruence Today, if the Russian President did that, they wouldnt be seen as Russians, not legitimate Industrialized society and need for universalization of high culture. Common language, culture. Hows the commonality created? E.g. Standardization of language is an invention; it has to be imposed and organized, by STATES. Choice of language is momentous systematically privileges while disadvantages diff groups In this way, nations are constructed. They are projects of elites, sometimes competing projects. They dont even exist as things in themselves, but the products of aggregated individual beliefs
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