MIT 2000 Adria Text First 70 Pages Summary and Important Points (Very Comprehensive Notes, 6 Pages)
DepartmentMedia, Information and Technoculture
Course CodeMIT 2000F/G
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Technology and Nationalism
Reading Summary for Adria Text, Pages 1-71
Chapter One of “Technology and Nationalism” explains the primordial view and perrenialist view of
nationalism. The primordial view is the belief that “natural divisions of nations exists, and each nation bears self-
evident, distinguishing cultural characteristics” (19). In the primordial view, a citizen’s main duty is remembering their
duty to their nation. The perrenial view does not regard national identity as simply being natural. “A cultural community
is immemorial, an organic entity that has taken different forms in recorded history” (21). Nationalism is simply a
modern way in which ancient culture’s can take shape. It then talks about Gellner, who argued that “nationalism
appeared and flourished at those stages in the development of a political association in which the benefits of
modernization were felt to be unfairly distributed” (23). Education was crucial to Gellner in the development of national
movements. The chapter then talks about identity and how identity is linked to the desire to create a nation identity.
We find our identities through difference, i.e., the fact that we are different from other people.
Chapter Two talks about many things, such as the way that technology can either extend nationalism or
separate it. The example given in the reading is of how the technological innovation of the dike in the Netherlands
“helped maintain a separate way of life for the Dutch because it required patterns of work and social life that had at
their centre the maintenance of distinctive agricultural methods” (35). The chapter discusses how the same medium
can mean different things for different cultures. For example, the radio was a way of developing a regional music
identity for the colonized, but for the colonists, the radio was an “unseen telephone cable” that connected the
colonists to home (40). Technologies also acted as a buffer between the two cultures, and encouraged development
of other distinct cultures out of this.
The chapter explains the theories of Deutsch, Anderson, and Hobsbawm, and the phrases “imagined
communities” and “invented tradition” crop up. Imagined communities are enabled by maps, census’, and museums;
invented tradtions occur because of the rapidly changing modern era, and an example would be our adoption of the
maple leaf as a national emblem (44).
George Grant believed that technology’s “ultimate use in Canada would be to achieve economic and political
subordination to the United States” (49). In contrast, Cook believed that nationalism in Canada threatened the nation’s
diversity; technology would strengthen this diversity (49). The chapter devotes a lot of time to discussing the Cuban
Missile Crisis of 1962 and how it was an “episode of awakening” in Canadian history (51). In response to the crisis,
Grant “condemned technology because it carried the risk of increasing cultural homogeneity” (52). Grant believed that
Diefenbaker was a true nationalist for hesitating to immediately succumb to American demands, but because of this
the ruling class felt he needed to be removed. Grant was afraid that technology would leave Canada a homogenous
and hollow society (58), devoid of any mystery or risk (57).
Cook was more interested in nationalism than technology. He didn’t think about technology too much, just
believed that it was a great thing that would make everybody’s lives easier. To compare Grant and Cook: both “sought
self-determinative powers for the Canadian state” (65). The chapter ends by summing up how Grant and Cook’s ideas
have changed since the 1960’s and 80’s.
Reading Summary Above; what I highlighted from the book below
Chapter One: Explaining Nationalism
- it is easy to define “nation” but harder to define “nationalism”
-events that are examples of the emergence of modern nationalism:
-French Revolution, English Civil War, and so on (15)
-the emergence of nationalism paralleled the emergence of the nation-state
-the nation state created itself by making territorial claims and then defended itself by warfare
-nationalism was an expression of the nation-state’s legitimacy
-Modernist view is that nationalism “is a political and social configuration, an innovation or invention” (17). It is the
alignment of nation and state for the pursuit of modernization.
-We have to examine nationalism over history, not just the modernist view.
Only pages 1-2 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.
-“a natural divisions of nations exists, and each nation bears self-evident, distinguishing cultural
-the role of a citizen is to affirm their citizenship by acts such as “expressing allegiance to the homeland”
-“Remembering Is the primary duty of the nationalist” Sometimes the national culture is weakened when
members forget their duty to the nation.
-Citizens have a moral responsibility to contribute to the corporate efforts of all humanity
-Herder (primordial view)
-father of cultural nationalism because he felt that culture’s should “exult in [their] difference” (20)
-The source of national culture is language (20)
-an individual becomes aware of selfhood and nationhood through language (20)
-happiness springs from prejudice? (21) because it attaches nations more firmly to their roots.
-Today primordial view has become a “secondary concern” of scholars because of the violent consequences of its
use by nationalists in Eastern Europe. (21) But it was still applied to Canadian culture, where George Grant said the
first principle of cultural development should be “loving our own” (21)
-doesn’t regard blood ties as the basis for national identity (21)
-“a cultural community is immemorial, an organic entity that has taken different forms in recorded history”
-Nationalism is new, but nations are not (21)
-Nationalism is modern and updated administrative form within which an ancient culture takes shape (22)
-The Modernist Explanation for Nationalism and Its Critics
-argued that industrialization requires just the kind of cultural homogeneity that is coincident with the
unifying call of a nationalist sentiment
-nationalism causes nations (22)
-in industrial society, there is constant technological innovation and a continuous redefinition of social roles.
-“gellner’s account of nationalism departs from primordialist explanations in its concern to show that the
elements of a culturally unifying nationalism are favourable to the requirements of industrialization and, in
turn, to an adaptive and aspiring population” (23)
-The means by which nationalism takes root in a society is connected… to the Marxist concept of uneven
-Gellner argued that nationalism appeared and flourished at those stages in the development of a political
association in which the benefits of modernization were felt to be unfairly distributed (23)
-uneven development has led to bad consequences for minority groups; sharp imbalance of power during
European colonization led to the precipitating conditions for genocide (24)
-Nationalism’s roots are to be found in the changes in society that occurred during industrialization (18th
and 19th c.) (24)
-Technology was at the heart of this revolution (24)
-Education is crucial in the development of national movements for its role in upholding the values “of the
intelligentsia” .. and in the creation of elites (24)
-Ideologies are developed as individuals and groups seek broadly encompassing accounts of how their
interests may be protected and advanced. Distinguishing mark of nationalism is imposition of high culture
on society. (24)
-nations become a consequence of nationalism through literacy, education, communications media,
innovation, and occupational mobility (25)
-Nationalism is a doctrine calling for each nation to be ruled within its own state (25)
-The theory can be criticized for its tendency to explain historical events as anticipating, in an unexplained
fashion, later historical outcomes.
-What is missing is the intention and conscious work of actos involved (political leaders, wrtiers,
intellectuals) in building the nation-state (25)
-Next critique Is that culture is given inappropriately minor status in Gellner’s account (26) Without the
fellow-feeling of culture, nationalism becomes only an economic and political project that is unlikely to gain
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