MIT21A_226F09_lec0506

MIT21A_226F09_lec0506 - Mon Sept 28 2009 5 and 6 NATION AND...

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Mon. Sept. 28, 2009 5 and 6 NATION AND NATIONALISM I, II Read: Read: Eriksen, 2002. Nationalism. In Eriksen, Ethnicity and Nationalism: Anthropological Perspectives (2 nd ed.). London: Pluto Press: 96-120 Simon Harrison, 1999. Identity as a scarce resource. Social Anthropology 7 (3), 239-251 I. “Nation” as linked to a state is a NEW idea A. The modern sense of the word is no older than the 18 th century 1. The word and related words have been around 2. DISCUSS : other meanings? a. What does “Indian nation,” “Cherokee Nation” suggest to you? b. Can we say “American nation”? Why or why not? c “United Nations”, “Wealth of Nations”? 1) Could the UN just as easily be “United Countries”? Or “United States”? (except that one’s taken) B. “Nations” themselves are also new 1. DISCUSS : “nation,” “state,” “country,” “nation-state” 2. DISCUSS : provide examples of actual nation-states—states that contain only one nation, one “people” a. There really aren’t many b. Dominican Republic (unusual for Caribbean) c. Japan almost qualifies (non-Japanese: Ainu, Koreans) d. Some Gulf states (usually called emirates) contain only one “people” C. How can we define “nation”? 5 & 6 Nation and Nationalism I & II 2009 1/19/10
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2 1. One author, Eric Hobsbawm, says we can’t characterize nation-states by providing an a priori (established beforehand), objective set of distinctions that allows us to distinguish a nation from other entities 2. Each nation is the product of particular, localized, or regional historical conjunctures 3. It’s not like classifying birds or lizards, where you can work out a priori criteria 4. The criteria themselves are fuzzy, shifting and ambiguous (language, ethnicity) D. Similarly, the vocabulary of nationalism today may mean very little E. So, no a priori , objective characterization is possible 1. Hobsbawm: a. Defining a nation by its members’ consciousness of belonging to it b. Is tautological (a circular argument), and provides only an a posteriori (afterwards) guide to what a nation is 2. But, Hobsbawm says that an initial working assumption might be: a. Any sufficiently large body of people whose members regard themselves as members of a “nation” 3. DISCUSS : a. Exceptions (apart from point above about non-homogeneity of citizens of most states)? b. How is Ireland an exception? c. Israel? 1) Is Israel a “Jewish state”? If so, why? 2) Is Israel a “Jewish nation”? If so, why? 3) Can you think of other examples like Israel?
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3 4) Gladney: if Tibet were a free state, there would be similarities in how that state and its citizens would be conceptualized—Tibetan—would be close to a nation-state d. DISCUSS: Other examples you can think of? II. History of the concept of nation A. Root meaning of word: naissance, origin, descent (ancient French dictionary) 1. Nación ” was an aggregate of the inhabitants of a territory 2. Could be a province, a country, a kingdom a. Was used when speaking of foreigners 3. Patria, tierra , usually “homeland” place, township, land where one is born a. Territory of origin— pays natal
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