CHAPTER 3: STATES AND NATIONS, CULTURAL PLURALISM, NATIONALISM,
AND IDENTITY-midterm review!
90 percent of the countries are characterized by having a heterogeneous population; it is easy
to see why political scientists are interested in cultural and ethnic diversity.
This chapter examines the internal diversity of nation states in light of a belief system that
profoundly shaped politics and events in the 20 century: nationalism.
Key concepts in the study of nationalism:
Connotation of nationalism:
Its been suggested that the existence of nations is associated with the existence of ties of
love or kinship. Citizens form a national family, immigrants are said to adopt countries
that are not their native homes.
More often, nationalism has been associated with hatred. Some viewed it as the most
destructive force of the 20 century, the cause of violence, atrocity and incalculable
An international prohibition against genocide was established in 1948 when the United
Nations adopted the convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of
Genocide: the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, ethnic, or religious group.
The term was developed in response to the horror of the holocaust.
Ethnic cleansing: the removal of one or more ethnic groups from a society by means of
expulsion, imprisonment or killing. The term entered the political lexicon in reference to
the former Yugoslavia; it was first used to describe the violent measures and policies
designed to eliminate or dramatically reduce the Muslim and Croat populations in Serb
The travesties in both Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, which had direct and indirect
involvement of governments, led to the United Nations creating an international criminal
court, whose jurisdiction includes the ability to prosecute the crime of genocide.
Denotation of nationalism:
Nationalism: an ideology that holds that certain populations are nations, that the world is
divided into nations and that a nation should be self-determining (ie, able to establish its
own institutions, laws and government and to determine its future. These are the three
The doctrine of self-determination holds that a group of people who call themselves a
nation have a right to have control over territory or domains that immediately concern them, normally through statehood. Is now considered a human right under international
Other associated concepts:
State: is a human community that successfully claims the monopoly of legitimate use of
physical force within a given territory. Is characterized by territory, by sovereignty (the
state is the highest authority and can back up its claims with force) and by institutions
(including bureaucracy, the military and the police, and the legislature).
Countries: Describe geographical units of the globe. The divisions of the world on the atlas.
Governments: refers to the set of institutions and or individuals that makes and enforces
collective public decisions.
While belonging to a state may be a simple matter of citizenship, belonging to a nation
rests on a subjective sense of identity and belonging, marked by distinct cultural or
linguistic traditions, which is usually in turn marked by membership in a distinct ethnic
Were noted as imaginary communities because the idea of a nation rests on a subjective
sense of belonging to a community that is neither voluntary nor organizationally defined.
Nation: a community of people, normally defined by a combination of ethnicity, language and
culture with a subjective sense of belonging together.
Racial discrimination and politics of multiculturalism:
Racialization: the historically and culturally specific processes associated with representations
or assertions of superiority by one group over another on the basis of purported
biological and or cultural characteristics.
Race: historically the term race was used to speak about differences between people that were
supposedly biologically based. Today social scientists completely reject the idea that
there are any significant biological differences between people that warrant the use of the
term. While some suggest that in light of this the term should not be used at all, many
contemporary social scientists put the term in quotation marks to refer to differences that
are socially constructed and historically specific, but have important consequences in the
form of racism. Contemporary discussions of racism assume that it involves a biological
and or cultural assertion of superiority by one group over another.
Today, social scientists use the term race to refer to socially constructed rather than
biologically inherited differences. Affirmative action: is designed to equalize the chances of members of minority groups or
groups traditionally discriminated against, such as African-Americans, women and people
with disabilities, in accessing education and jobs by setting goals for ensuring the
statistical representation of these groups. Has become increasingly controversial in the
Some people say that it is reverse discrimination, while proponents argue that it helps put
into practice the principle that all people are of equal worth.
Multiculturalism: A policy sometimes adopted in a state characterized by cultural pluralism
that supports ethnic and cultural groups in maintaining their customs and traditions,
often with public financial assistance.
Explaining nationalism: national liberation movements and decolonization:
During the 19 century, imperialism- in the form of colonization of other countries and
the establishment of empires-