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Blood and Belonging

Blood and Belonging - 1607 This is a critique of the book...

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1607 This is a critique of the book, Blood and Belonging, by Michael Ignatieff. This paper will explain the subject of the book and its relevance, discuss Michael Ignatieff's methods and conclusions on the subject and finally include a personal critique of the book by the author of this paper. The author of the book travels on what he terms "the six journeys." On these "journeys" he encounters different cultures, as he travels to six different coinciding areas of the world. He examines the unique expression of nationalism that each populace displays by interviewing various members of that particular society. The six areas that he travels to are specifically chosen for the clarity which nationalism is expressed in society. Nationalism is a factor contributing toward both present possible future instability in these areas. These areas are former Yugoslavia (specifically Croatia and Serbia), Germany, Ukraine, Quebec, Kurdistan and Northern Ireland. According to Ignatieff, in Croatia and Serbia there is a desire for a separate identity between the two nations. The fear of losing one's national identity has caused ethnic hatred. A terror so strong and historically persistent, it has driven people to a desperate state to do anything. This is a large contributor to the reasons for the extreme violence present there today. The author states, "A Croat, thus, is someone who is not a Serb. A Serb is someone who is not a Croat." This quotation profoundly expresses the short-sighted mentality present in their conflict. In his travels in Germany, the author points out an important question. Does the nation make the state, or the state the nation? This question by far does not stop here, especially when Germany is the subject. The essence of the German people is seen by some as aggressive and offensive, thus the existence of the German problem. If the nation makes the state then Germany will always be a threat. If the state makes the nation, then the aggressive nature of the German nation, which lead the world into two global wars, can be harnessed and redirected. The question has its roots and answers in the recent reunification of Germany. The Ukraine is concerned with not being Russian. It is here Ignatieff receives a complete vision of what nationalism is. He states, "I understand what nationalism really is: the dream that a whole nation could be like a congregation; singing the same hymns, listening to the same gospel, sharing the same emotions, linked not only to each other but to the dead buried beneath their feet." Quebec is a model that presents a possible future of the state system. Ignatieff uses the example of Quebec to illustrate the relationship between nationalism and federalism. He implies that "if federalism fails in
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