POS210_Nationalism_Fall2011

POS210_Nationalism_Fall2011 - POS210 Fall 2011 E.S....

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1 POS210 Fall 2011 E.S. Wheatley NATIONALISM & The Contemporary Turn: Ideologies Today NATIONALISM : Nationalism, as we've seen, is strongly linked with fascism. But nationalism itself is not necessarily fascist. So what is nationalism? It is a group's awareness of its membership in a nation and its desire to attain, enhance, or perpetuate the identity, prosperity, and power of that nation . So what is a nation? It is any relatively large group of people who feel that they belong together by virtue of sharing in common any one or more of such traits as race, history, culture, language, customs, and traditions. In fact none of these traits may actually exist, but the people must believe that they do. Thus, the bottom line is that the people determine whether they have a nation. Nationalism is one of the oldest ideologies, because it is one of the oldest social feelings, but it first gains prominence in the 1830s and 1840s when a kind of belligerent revolutionary nationalism swept Europe. The most significant outburst was in Italy where a young Italian writer and patriot, Giuseppe Mazzini, masterminded a movement called Young Italy . "The people," he wrote, "are penetrated with only one idea, that of unity and nationality." International attention to nationalism came during WWI, when the central issue was national self-determination. After WWI anti-colonial sentiments ran high. India and China, for example, challenged the imperialist European powers that influenced the running of their countries; countries in Africa and Asia launched nationalist revolutionary movements against imperialism.
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2 Therefore, before and during WWI the predominant type of nationalism was national self-determination; after WWI, the predominant type was anti-colonialism. Nationalism was, of course, reinforced with the rise of fascism and Nazism or National Socialism. It is kept in the news today by the wars and revolutions in the developing world in the name of nationalism and anti-colonialism, and by the changes still occurring within places like Chechnya, Northern Ireland, and Sri Lanka. There are two kinds of nationalism two kinds of nationalism--called formative nationalism and expansive nationalism and sometimes called positive and negative nationalism. Formative nationalism is the combination of national self- determination and anti-colonialism. People in pursuit of self- determination turn today against those foreign powers that colonized them and prevented the people from forming their own nation. Thus formative nationalism today must be anti-colonial nationalism as little nations try to pry loose from big or bigger nations to exert self- determination. The people wish to form a nation. India is an example par excellence of this kind of nationalism. More recent examples could include the Kurds working for a “Kurdistan,” Czechoslovakia dividing into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and the ongoing separatist operations of the Basque in Spain. Expansive nationalism can grow out of formative nationalism as the now
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POS210_Nationalism_Fall2011 - POS210 Fall 2011 E.S....

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