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Jan 17th Nationalism And Conflict Readings + Lecture

12 Pages

Political Science
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Joseph Wong

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Muller Us And Them The Enduring Power of Ethnic Nationalism January 172011 ReadingsForeign AffairsAmericans generally belittle the role of ethnic nationalism in politicsIn the US people of varying ethnic origins live in relative peaceWithin 2 or 3 generations of immigration their ethnic identities are attenuated y cultural assimilation and intermarriageAmericans also find ethnonatinalism discomfiting both intellectually and morally o It is a product not of nature but cultureImmigrants to the US usually arrive with a willingness to fit into their new country and reshape their identities accordingly o But for those who remain behind in lands where their ancestors have lived for generations political identities often take ethnic form producing competing communal claims to political powerThe creation of a peaceful regional order of nationstates has usually been the product of a violent process of ethnic separation th 20 Century European history argues that nationalism twice led to war in 1914 and then again in 1939 o Europeans concluded that nationalism was a danger and gradually abandoned itEuropeans entered a postnational era which was not only a good thing in itself but also a model for other regions o Nationalism in this view had been a tragic detour on the road to peaceful liberal democratic order th Tony Judtthe problem with Israel is that it has imported a characteristically late 19 century separatist project into a world that has moved on a world of individual rights open frontiers and international law The very idea of a Jewish State is an anachronism o However Europes frontiers are not so openEuropean stability during the Cold War era was in fact due partly to the widespread fulfillment of the ethnonationalist projectand has continued to reshape European bordersIncreased urbanization literacy and political mobilization differences in the fertility rates and economic performance of various ethnic groups and immigration will challenge the internal structure of states as well as their borderssto Ethnonationalism will continue to shape the world in the 21 centuryThe Politics of Identity2 major ways of thinking about national identity o One is that all people who live within a countrys borders are part of the nation regardless of their ethnic racial or religious originsAmericans The core of the ethnonationalist idea is that nations are defined by a shared heritage which usually includes a common language a common faith and a common ethnic ancestryThe ethnonationalist view has traditionally dominated through much of Europe and has held its own even in the United States until recentlyIn US history it was believed that only people of English origin or those who were protestant or white or hailed from northern Europe were real Americans o 1965reform of the US immigration law abolished the system of national origin quotas that had been in place for several decadesEthnonationalism draws much of its emotive power from the notion that the members of a nation are part of an extended family united by ties of bloodEuropean history asserts that nationalism was primarily liberal in the western part of the continent and that it became more ethnically oriented as it moved east It is more accurate to say that when modern states began to form political boundaries and ethnolinguistic boundaries largely coincided in the areas along Europes Atlantic Coast o Liberal nationalism was most apt to emerge in states that already possessed a high degree of ethnic homogeneityThe Hapsburg Empire The Romanov Empire and The Ottoman Empire o Each of these empires was composed of numerous ethnic groups but they were not multinational in the sense of granting equal status to the many peoples that made up their populaces The governing monarchy and landed nobility often differed in language and ethnic origin from the urbanized trading class whose members in mm usually differed in language ethnicity and often religion from the peasantryo These societies were still largely agrarian most people lived as peasants in the countryside and few were literateuntil the rise of modern nationalism all of this seemed quite unproblematicThe Rise of EthnonationalismMost people at most times have lived in empires with the nationstate the exception rather than the rule The rise of ethnonationalism was propelled by some of the deepest currents of modernity o Military competition between sates created a demand for expanded state resources and hence continual economic growthEconomic growth in turn depended on mass literacy and easy communication spurring policies to promote education and a common language which led directly to conflicts over language and communal opportunities Modern societies are premised on the egalitarian notion that in theory at least anyone can aspire to any economic positionbut in practice everyone does not have an equal likelihood of upward economic mobility and not simply because individuals have different innate capabilities o Such advance depend on cultural capitalthe skills and behavioral patterns that help individual and groups succeedthth As they moved into cities and got more education during the 19 century and early 20 centuries ethnic groups with largely peasant backgroundsfound that key positions in the government and the economy were already occupied often by ethnic Armenians Germans Greeks or Jews Speakers of the same language came to share a sense that they belonged together and to define themselves in contrast to other communitiesand they eventually they came to demand a nationstate of their own in which they would be masters dominating politics staffing the civil service and controlling commerce The rise of the modern sate weakened individuals traditional bonds to intermediate social units such as the family the clan the guild and the church
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