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Unformatted text preview: Theories of Nationalism Political Sociology ­ Lecture 9 Political Sociology ­ Lecture 9 Dr. Chris Rumford Introduction Introduction ► Nationalism was one of the major political ideologies of the C20th and is still a major force in contemporary politics ► Nationalism is the belief that a nation should have its own state ► This often goes hand­in­hand with the idea that political community, ethnic group, and territory must be congruent Nations Nations without states ► ► ► This can lead to the idea that there should be ‘one nation; one culture’ The power of nationalism has resulted in a world of nation­states However, not all nations have states (e.g. the Kurds, Basques) ►In this lecture we are particular concerned with one key question in relation to nations and nationalism ►Are nations modern phenomena, or do they have much more ancient origins? ►You can read about the work of many leading theorists on this webpage: www.nationalismproject.org/what.htm Please spend some time reading the pages Please spend some time reading the pages on Anderson, Gellner, Hobsbawm, and Smith Theorists of nationalism Theorists of nationalism ► Some thinkers see nations as timeless, while others associate nations and nationalism with modernity, industrial society, and democracy ► Smith would fall into the first category, while Gellner and Anderson fall into the second Benedict Anderson – ‘Imagined Benedict Anderson – ‘Imagined communities’ ► Anderson sees nations and nationalism as products of the modern world ► He points out that despite their relatively recent origins nations like to see themselves as having ancient origins ► For Anderson nations are best thought of as ‘imagined communities’ ► What is imagined is a form of social solidarity – a horizontal comradeship of citizens ► The members of a nation will never know each other or have face­to­face contact ► But each is confident that others throughout the nation share similar experiences: read the same newspapers, celebrate the same national holidays, watch the same television programmes, share a common culture etc ► In this way the members of a nation imagine themselves to be members of a community ► These sorts of communities started to emerge in late C18th ► For Anderson, the rise of capitalism and the inclusion of the masses into politics were important for the development of nations ► In addition, the emergence of print languages was also importance as they enabled the construction of mass reading publics, crucial if the nation was to ‘imagine’ itself ► Furthermore, the decline of religion was also important. Anderson believes nationalism and religion have important cultural similarities: a link to death and immortality, for example. People are willing to die for their country. Ernest Gellner Ernest Gellner ► For Gellner nations are the product of modernization and economic development ► Pre­modern societies are overtaken by a ‘tidal wave’ of modernity which disrupts both previous forms of social organization and belief systems ► Different groups are hit at different speeds creating new interest groups in society ► Particular groups (e.g. intelligentsia, proletariat) are engaged in struggles against traditional elites and/or colonial powers ► Nationalism can generate a powerful form of collective organization: mass mobilization; social inclusion; promise of self­ determination ► Once formed, a nation­state works of homogenizethe nation through the dissemination of national culture (holidays, monuments, public rituals), and education ► According to Gellner, ‘nation­states extend their boundaries to the limits of their culture, and impose their culture within the boundaries of their power’ ► After the creation of the Italian nation­state in 1861 Massimo D'Azeglio famously said: ‘we have made Italy, now we have to make the Italians’ ► The ‘making’ of nations often involves the imposition of a ‘high culture’ in a top­down fashion ► Hobsbawn and Ranger (1983) draw The invention of tradition The invention of tradition attention to the way nationalists often invent traditions to give a sense of historical rootedness to nations ► A good example is that symbol of traditional Scottishness, the kilt ► The kilt was invented in C18th by an English industrialist to allow his Highland workers greater mobility while working ► The kilt is a product of the Industrial Revolution rather an ancient Scottish tradition A.D. Smith – The ethnic origins of A.D. Smith – The ethnic origins of nations ► Anthony Smith, formerly a student of Gellner’s, advances a very different account of nations and nationalism ► For Smith the roots of nations are to found in pre­modern ethnic communities ► Nationalism succeeds by discovering the ethnic past of the nation, an important source of myths and memories ► According to Smith an ethnic community has the following features: Shared collective name and common fate Shared history – this unites successive generations Shared culture, especially language and religion (creates sense of separateness from others) Association with specific territory Sense of solidarity which overrides class and other divisions) ► The modern nation­state is different in that it incorporates citizenship rights, a unified economy, compact territory, and a single mass culture ► The nation is therefore an updated version of the earlier ethnic community ► Smith debated the origins of nations with Gellner at a special event a few years ago ► You should study this important exchange of ideas between Smith and Gellner http://members.tripod.com/GellnerPage/Warwick0.html Conclusion Conclusion ► The extended debate between the ‘modernists’ (Anderson, Gellner, Hobsbawn) and ‘primordialists’ (Smith, Hutchinson) came to characterise the study of nationalism in the 1990s ► The debate has since moved on. New issues include the decoupling of nation and state and the emergence of post­nationalism (Delanty) Nevertheless, nationalism is still very important, indeed in some places it is very much on the rise ► According to some accounts, globalization has led to an increase in nationalist sentiment (rather than simply eroding the influence of the nation­state) ► Globalization is also associated with the phenomenon of ‘long­distance nationalism’ ► Benedict Anderson writes, ‘electronic communications, combined with the huge migrations created by the present world­economic system, are creating a virulent new form of nationalism, which I call long­distance nationalism: a nationalism that no longer depends as it once did on territorial location in a home country. Some of the most vehement Sikh nationalists are Australians, Croatian nationalists, Canadians; Algerian nationalists, French … (continued) ► Anderson continues, ‘… the internet, electronic banking and cheap international travel are allowing such people to have a powerful influence on the politics of their country of origin, even if they have no intention any longer of living there. This is one of the main ironic consequences of the processes popularly called globalization’ ► This is one of the topics we will look at next week ► Anderson, B. 1983: Imagined Communities: References Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism (Verso) ► Anderson, B. 2001: ‘Western nationalism and Eastern nationalism’ New Left Review 9, May­ June ► Delanty, D. 2001: "Nationalism: Between Nation and State" in G. Ritzer and B. Smart (eds) Handbook of Social Theory ► Gellner, E. 1983: Nations and Nationalism. (Blackwell) ► Hobsbawn, E. and Ranger, T. (eds) 1983:The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge University Press) ► Smith, A.D. 2001: Nationalism: Theory, Ideology, History (Polity Press) ...
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