POL101Y1 Study Guide - Final Guide: High Culture, Industrial Society, Communitarianism
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January 17, 2011
Nationalism and Conflict
What is Nationalism?
- Seemingly obvious answer: the ideology of nations. A nation is a group that wants to
have its own state.
- Nations do not invent nationalism, instead nationalism invents nations. They do not exist
outside of the imagination of the ideology of nationalism.
- A nation is a group of people who believe they share a common fate, history, culture and
- Nationalism says that the state and nation should be congruent
o The leaders of states should share with the nation a common culture, a common
language, a sense of shared history, sometimes a shared religion. Nationalism
- But this only occurs under modern conditions.
o The sense of caring for people that you don’t even know across the country has
only occurred in the past couple hundred years because of the creation of the
- 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.
Nationalism and Modernization
- High culture and low cultures. European monarchs and populations.
- Industrial society and need for universalization of high culture.
o Before the industrial era, it was not necessary that people were needed to speak to
each other in non contextual ways.
o The choice of what language we are educated in gives the advantage to whomever
knows the language, and disadvantages all the others. English won so they chose
English to be taught in school.
o This only happens in modernity because we need a way to communicate with
each other in an effective and efficient way without knowing each other
- In this way, nations are constructed, they are projects of elites, sometimes competing
projects. They don’t exist as things in themselves but are the products of aggregated
- But stakes are very high if your culture is not adopted as the high culture, you face
- In industrial societies, states are service organizations for providing common cultures,
Nationalism and Sequencing
- State first nation second: France and Britain – “nation building”.
o There was a France before everybody thought they were French, same with the
o The nations had to be built, constructed.
- Nation first, state second. Germany and Italy –unification only in 1870s
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