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Nationalism and Conflict

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Political Science
Jeffrey Kopstein

POL101 Nationalism and Conflict January 17 2010 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 Nations do not invent nationalism. Instead, nationalism invents nations. Nations do not exist outside of the imagination of the ideology of nationalism What is a nation? A group of people who believe they share a common fate, history, culture, and language That does not mean their belief is illegitimate or legitimate Nationalism says that the state and nation should be congruent Nations should have states The leaders of the states should share with the masses a common culture, language, history, religion, etc. Nationalism But this (the feeling of a common culture and the belief that the leaders of the state should share in that culture) occurs only under modern conditions It has never existed before in history Raises a hypothesis that there has to be something about modernity that fuels nationalism What is it about modern conditions? 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 This is a modern phenomenon Its this need for congruence that needs to be explained
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