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Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what constitutes a nation, however, which leads to several different strands of nationalism. It can be a belief that citizenship in a state should be limited to one ethnic, cultural, religious, or identity group, or that multinationality in a single state should necessarily comprise the right to express and exercise national identity even by minorities.
It can also include the belief that the state is of primary importance, or the belief that one state is naturally superior to all other states. It is also used to describe a movement to establish or protect a 'homeland' (usually an autonomous state) for an ethnic group. In some cases the identification of a national culture is combined with a negative view of other races or cultures.
Conversely, nationalism might also be portrayed as collective identities toward imagined communities which are not naturally expressed in language, race or religion but rather socially constructed by the very individuals that belong to a given nation. These new elements of the nation are commonly presented as long standing and natural, and have been called invented traditions by the historian E.J. Hobsbawm. Nationalism is sometimes reactionary, calling for a return to a national past, and sometimes for the expulsion of foreigners. Other forms of nationalism are revolutionary, calling for the establishment of an independent state as a homeland for an ethnic underclass. This was the inspiration for the independence of Finland from Sweden and the penning of the national epic, the Kalevala.
Nationalism emphasizes collective identity - a 'people' must be autonomous, united, and express a single national culture. Integral nationalism is a belief that a nation is an organic unit, with a social hierarchy, co-operation between the different social classes and common political goals. However, liberal nationalists stress individualism as an important part of their own national identity.
National flags, national anthems, and other symbols of national identity are often considered sacred, as if they were religious rather than political symbols. Deep emotions are aroused. Gellner and Breuilly, in Nations and Nationalism, contrast nationalism and patriotism. "If the nobler word 'patriotism' then replaced 'civic/Western nationalism', nationalism as a phenomenon had ceased to exist."
- 1 History
- 2 Varieties
- 3 Criticisms
- 4 See also
- 5 Notes
- 6 Further reading
- 7 External links
In Europe before the development of nationalism, people were generally loyal to a city or to a particular leader rather than to their nation. Encyclopaedia Britannica identifies the movement's genesis with the late-18th century American Revolution and French Revolution; other historians point specifically to the ultra-nationalist party in France during the French Revolution.
The term nationalism was coined by Johann Gottfried Herder (nationalismus) during the late 1770s. Precisely where and when nationalism emerged is difficult to determine, but its development is closely related to that of the modern state and the push for popular sovereignty that surfaced with the French Revolution and the American Revolution in the late 18th century and culminated with the ethnic/national revolutions of Europe, for instance the Greek War of Independence. Since that time, nationalism has become one of the most significant political and social forces in history, perhaps most notably as a major influence or postulate of World War I and especially World War II. Fascism is a form of authoritarian nationalism which stresses absolute loyalty and obedience to the state, whose purpose is to serve the interests of its nation alone. Benedict Anderson argued that, "Print language is what invents nationalism, not a particular language per se".
Civic nationalism (also known as liberal nationalism) defines the nation as an association of people who identify themselves as belonging to the nation, who have equal and shared political rights, and allegiance to similar political procedures. According to the principles of civic nationalism, the nation is not based on common ethnic ancestry, but is a political entity whose core identity is not ethnicity. This civic concept of nationalism is exemplified by Ernest Renan in his lecture in 1882 "What is a Nation?", where he defined the nation as a "daily referendum" (frequently translated 'daily plebiscite") dependent on the will of its people to continue living together".
Civic Nationalism is a kind of non-xenophobic nationalism compatible with liberal values of freedom, tolerance, equality, and individual rights. Ernest Renan and John Stuart Mill are often thought to be early liberal nationalists. Liberal nationalists often defend the value of national identity by saying that individuals need a national identity in order to lead meaningful, autonomous lives and that liberal democratic polities need national identity in order to function properly.
Civic nationalism lies within the traditions of rationalism and liberalism, but as a form of nationalism it is contrasted with ethnic nationalism. Membership of the civic nation is considered voluntary, as in Ernest Renan's "daily referendum" formulation in What is a Nation?. Civic-national ideals influenced the development of representative democracy in countries such as the United States and France (see the United States Declaration of Independence of 1776, and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789).
Whereas nationalism does not necessarily imply a belief in the superiority of one ethnicity over others, some nationalists support ethnocentric protectionism or ethnocentric supremacy. Studies have yielded evidence that such behaviour may be derived from innate preferences in humans from infancy.
Some nationalists exclude certain groups. Some nationalists, defining the national community in ethnic, linguistic, cultural, historic, or religious terms (or a combination of these), may then seek to deem certain minorities as not truly being a part of the 'national community' as they define it. Sometimes a mythic homeland is more important for the national identity than the actual territory occupied by the nation.
Left-wing nationalism (occasionally known as socialist nationalism, not to be confused with national socialism) refers to any political movement that combines left-wing politics with nationalism. Many nationalist movements are dedicated to national liberation, in the view that their nations are being persecuted by other nations and thus need to exercise self-determination by liberating themselves from the accused persecutors. Anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninism is closely tied with this ideology, and practical examples include Stalin's early work Marxism and the National Question and his Socialism in One Country edict, which declares that nationalism can be used in an internationalist context, fighting for national liberation without racial or religious divisions. Other examples of left-wing nationalism include Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement that launched the Cuban Revolution ousting the American-backed Fulgencio Batista in 1959, Ireland's Sinn Féin, Wales's Plaid Cymru, Scotland's SNP, the Awami League in Bangladesh and the African National Congress in South Africa.
Territorial nationalists assume that all inhabitants of a particular nation owe allegiance to their country of birth or adoption. A sacred quality is sought in the nation and in the popular memories it evokes. Citizenship is idealised by territorial nationalist A criterion of a territorial nationalism is the establishment of a mass, public culture based on common values and traditions of the population.
Pan-nationalism is unique in that it cover a large area span. Pan-nationalism focuses more on "clusters" of ethnic groups.
Ultranationalism is a zealous nationalism that expresses extremist support for one's nationalist ideals. It is often characterized by authoritarianism, efforts toward reduction or stoppage of immigration, expulsion and or oppression of non-native populations within the nation or its territories, demagoguery of leadership, emotionalism, scapegoating outsiders in socioeconomic crises, fomenting talk of presumed, real, or imagined enemies, predicating the existence of threats to the survival of the native, dominant or otherwise idealized national ethnicity or population group, instigation or extremist reaction to crack-down policies in law enforcement, efforts to limit international trade through tariffs, tight control over businesses and production, militarism, populism and propaganda. Prevalent ultranationalism typically leads to or is the result of conflict within a state, and or between states, and is identified as a condition of pre-war in national politics. In its extremist forms ultranationalism is characterized as a call to war against enemies of the nation/state, secession or, in the case of ethnocentrist ultranationalism, genocide.
Fascism is a form of palingenetic ultranationalism that promotes "class collaboration" (as opposed to class struggle), a totalitarian state, and irredentism or expansionism to unify and allow the growth of a nation. Fascists sometimes promote ethnic or cultural nationalism. Fascism stresses the subservience of the individual to the state, and the need to absolute and unquestioned loyalty to a strong ruler.
This form of nationalism came about during the decolonialisation of the post war period. It was a reaction mainly in Africa and Asia against being subdued by foreign powers. This form of nationalism took many guises, including the peaceful passive resistance movement led by Gandhi in the Indian subcontinent  Benedict Anderson argued that anti-colonial nationalism is grounded in the experience of literate and bilingual indigenous intellectuals fluent in the language of the imperial power, schooled in its "national" history, and staffing the colonial administrative cadres up to but not including its highest levels. Post-colonial national governments have been essentially indigenous forms of the previous imperial administration.
Critics of nationalism have argued that it is often unclear what constitutes a "nation", or why a nation should be the only legitimate unit of political rule. A nation is a cultural entity, and not necessarily a political association, nor is it necessarily linked to a particular territorial area - although nationalists argue that the boundaries of a nation and a state should, as far as possible, coincide. Philosopher A.C. Grayling describes nations as artificial constructs, "their boundaries drawn in the blood of past wars". He argues that "there is no country on earth which is not home to more than one different but usually coexisting culture. Cultural heritage is not the same thing as national identity".
Nationalism is inherently divisive because it highlights perceived differences between people, emphasizing an individual's identification with their own nation. The idea is also potentially oppressive because it submerges individual identity within a national whole, and gives elites or political leaders potential opportunities to manipulate or control the masses. Much of the early opposition to nationalism was related to its geopolitical ideal of a separate state for every nation. The classic nationalist movements of the 19th century rejected the very existence of the multi-ethnic empires in Europe. Even in that early stage, however, there was an ideological critique of nationalism. That has developed into several forms of anti-nationalism in the western world. The Islamic revival of the 20th century also produced an Islamic critique of the nation-state.
At the end of the 19th century, Marxists and other socialists (such as Rosa Luxemburg) produced political analysis that were critical of the nationalist movements then active in central and eastern Europe (though a variety of other contemporary socialists and communists, from Lenin (a communist) to Józef Piłsudski (a socialist), were more sympathetic to national self-determination).
In his classic essay on the topic George Orwell distinguishes nationalism from patriotism, which he defines as devotion to a particular place. Nationalism, more abstractly, is "power-hunger tempered by self-deception." 
For Orwell the nationalist is more likely than not dominated by irrational negative impulses:There are, for example, Trotskyists who have become simply enemies of the U.S.S.R. without developing a corresponding loyalty to any other unit. When one grasps the implications of this, the nature of what I mean by nationalism becomes a good deal clearer. A nationalist is one who thinks solely, or mainly, in terms of competitive prestige. He may be a positive or a negative nationalist — that is, he may use his mental energy either in boosting or in denigrating — but at any rate his thoughts always turn on victories, defeats, triumphs and humiliations. He sees history, especially contemporary history, as the endless rise and decline of great power units, and every event that happens seems to him a demonstration that his own side is on the upgrade and some hated rival is on the downgrade. But finally, it is important not to confuse nationalism with mere worship of success. The nationalist does not go on the principle of simply ganging up with the strongest side. On the contrary, having picked his side, he persuades himself that it is the strongest, and is able to stick to his belief even when the facts are overwhelmingly against him.
In the liberal political tradition there is widespread criticism of ‘nationalism’ as a dangerous force and a cause of conflict and war between nation-states. Nationalism has often been exploited to encourage citizens to partake in the nations' conflicts. Such examples include The Two World Wars, where nationalism was a key component of propaganda material. Liberals do not generally dispute the existence of the nation-states. The liberal critique also emphasizes individual freedom as opposed to national identity, which is by definition collective.
The pacifist critique of nationalism also concentrates on the violence of nationalist movements, the associated militarism, and on conflicts between nations inspired by jingoism or chauvinism. National symbols and patriotic assertiveness are in some countries discredited by their historical link with past wars, especially in Germany. Famous pacifist Bertrand Russell criticizes nationalism for diminishing the individual's capacity to judge his or her fatherland's foreign policy. William Blum has said this in other words: "If love is blind, patriotism has lost all five senses."[page needed] Albert Einstein stated that "Nationalism is an infantile disease... It is the measles of mankind." 
The anti-racist critique of nationalism concentrates on the attitudes to other nations, and especially on the doctrine that the nation-state exists for one national group to the exclusion of others. This view emphasizes the chauvinism and xenophobia that have often resulted from nationalist sentiment. Norman Naimark relates the rise of nationalism to ethnic cleansing and genocide.
Political movements of the left have often been suspicious of nationalism, again without necessarily seeking the disappearance of the existing nation-states. Marxism has been ambiguous towards the nation-state, and in the late 19th century some Marxist theorists rejected it completely. For some Marxists the world revolution implied a global state (or global absence of state); for others it meant that each nation-state had its own revolution. A significant event in this context was the failure of the social-democratic and socialist movements in Europe to mobilize a cross-border workers' opposition to World War I. At present most, but certainly not all, left-wing groups accept the nation-state, and see it as the political arena for their activities.
Anarchism has developed a critique of nationalism that focuses on its role in justifying and consolidating state power and domination. Through its unifying goal it strives for centralization both in specific territories and in a ruling elite of individuals while it prepares a population for capitalist exploitation. Within anarchism this subject has been treated extensively by Rudolf Rocker in Nationalism and Culture and by the works of Fredy Perlman such as Against His-Story, Against Leviathan and "The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism".
In the Western world, the most comprehensive current ideological alternative to nationalism is cosmopolitanism. Ethical cosmopolitanism rejects one of the basic ethical principles of nationalism: that humans owe more duties to a fellow member of the nation, than to a non-member. It rejects such important nationalist values as national identity and national loyalty. However, there is also a political cosmopolitanism, which has a geopolitical program to match that of nationalism: it seeks some form of world state, with a world government. Very few people openly and explicitly support the establishment of a global state, but political cosmopolitanism has influenced the development of international criminal law, and the erosion of the status of national sovereignty. In turn, nationalists are deeply suspicious of cosmopolitan attitudes, which they equate with eradication of diverse national cultures.
While internationalism in the cosmopolitan context by definition implies cooperation among nations and states, and therefore the existence of nations, proletarian internationalism is different, in that it calls for the international working class to follow its brethren in other countries irrespective of the activities or pressures of the national government of a particular sector of that class. Meanwhile, most (but not all) anarchists reject nation-states on the basis of self-determination of the majority social class, and thus reject nationalism. Instead of nations, anarchists usually advocate the creation of cooperative societies based on free association and mutual aid without regard to ethnicity or race.
- Nation state
- Historiography and nationalism
- Nationalism and sport
- What is a Nation?
- List of active autonomist and secessionist movements
- List of historical autonomist and secessionist movements
- List of nationalist conflicts
- List of nationalist organizations
- List of prominent figures in nationalism
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- Greenfeld, Liah. 1992. Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-60319-2
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- Nationalism, its importance and sources
- The Nationalism Project
- Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Nationalism
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Nationalism
- Nations & Nationalism: What is a Nation
- The History of a Social Phenomenon
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