Nationalism is a political, social, and economic system characterized
by promoting the interests of a particular nation particularly with
the aim of gaining and maintaining self-governance, or full
sovereignty, over the group's homeland. The political ideology
therefore holds that a nation should govern itself, free from unwanted
outside interference, and is linked to the concept of
Nationalism is further oriented towards developing
and maintaining a national identity based on shared characteristics
such as culture, language, race, religion, political goals or a belief
in a common ancestry.
Nationalism therefore seeks to preserve
the nation's culture. It often also involves a sense of pride in the
nation's achievements, and is closely linked to the concept of
patriotism. In some cases, nationalism referred to the belief that a
nation should be able to control the government and all means of
From a political or sociological outlook, there are three main
paradigms for understanding the origins and basis of nationalism. The
first, known as primordialism or perennialism, sees nationalism as a
natural phenomenon. It holds that, although the concept of nationhood
may be recent, nations have always existed. The second paradigm is
ethnosymbolism, which is a complex perspective seeking to explain
nationalism by contextualizing it throughout history as a dynamic,
evolutionary phenomenon and by further examining the strength of
nationalism as a result of the nation's subjective ties to national
symbols imbued with historical meaning. The third and most dominant
paradigm is modernism, which sees nationalism as a recent phenomenon
that needs the structural conditions of modern society to exist.
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. The adoption of
national identity in terms of historical development has commonly been
the result of a response by influential groups unsatisfied with
traditional identities due to inconsistency between their defined
social order and the experience of that social order by its members,
resulting in a situation of anomie that nationalists seek to
resolve. This anomie results in a society or societies
reinterpreting identity, retaining elements that are deemed acceptable
and removing elements deemed unacceptable, to create a unified
community. This development may be the result of internal
structural issues or the result of resentment by an existing group or
groups towards other communities, especially foreign powers that are
or are deemed to be controlling them.
Nationalism means devotion
for the nation. It is a sentiment that binds the people together.
National symbols and flags, national anthems, national languages,
national myths and other symbols of national identity are highly
important in nationalism.
2.1 19th century
2.1.7 Jewish Nationalism
2.1.8 Latin America
2.2 20th century
2.2.3 Middle East
2.3 21st century
3 Political science
4.1 Primordialist evolutionary interpretation
4.2 Marxist interpretations
Civic nationalism and liberal nationalism
5.2 Ethnic nationalism
5.3 Religious nationalism
5.4 Left-wing nationalism
5.5 Territorial nationalism
5.6 Integral nationalism, Irredentism, and Pan-nationalism
5.7 Anti-colonial nationalism
5.8 Racial nationalism
5.9 Sports nationalism
5.10 Gendered and Muscular nationalism
7 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
The word nation was used before 1800 in Europe to refer to the
inhabitants of a country as well as to collective identities that
could include shared history, law, language, political rights,
religion and traditions, in a sense more akin to the modern
Nationalism is a newer word; in English the term dates from 1844,
although the concept is older. It became important in the 19th
century. The term increasingly became negative in its connotations
after 1914. Glenda Sluga notes that "The twentieth century, a time of
profound disillusionment with nationalism, was also the great age of
The growth of a national identity was expressed in a variety of
symbolic ways, including the adoption of a national flag. Pictured,
Union Jack of a newly created United Kingdom in 1801, formed by
the merger of the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland.
Nationalism has been a recurring facet of civilizations since ancient
times, though the modern sense of national political autonomy and
self-determination was formalized in the late 18th century.
Examples of nationalist movements can be found throughout history,
from the Jewish revolts of the 2nd century, to the re-emergence of
Persian culture during the Sasanid period of Persia, to the
re-emergence of Latin culture in the
Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire during the
4th and 5th centuries, as well as many others. In modern times,
examples can be seen in the emergence of
German nationalism as a
reaction against Napoleonic control of Germany as the Confederation of
the Rhine around 1805–14.
Linda Colley in Britons, Forging
the Nation 1707–1837 (Yale University Press, 1992) explores how the
role of nationalism emerged about 1700 and developed in Britain
reaching full form in the 1830s. Typically historians of nationalism
in Europe begin with the
French Revolution (1789), not only for its
French nationalism but even more for its impact on Germans
and Italians and on European intellectuals. Some historians see
American Revolution as an early form of modern nationalism.
Due to the Industrial Revolution, there was an emergence of an
integrated, nation-encompassing economy and a national public sphere,
where the British people began to identify with the country at large,
rather than the smaller units of their province, town or family. The
early emergence of a popular patriotic nationalism took place in the
mid-18th century, and was actively promoted by the British government
and by the writers and intellectuals of the time. National
symbols, anthems, myths, flags and narratives were assiduously
constructed by nationalists and widely adopted. The
Union Jack was
adopted in 1801 as the national one.
Thomas Arne composed the
patriotic song "Rule, Britannia!" in 1740, and the cartoonist John
Arbuthnot invented the character of
John Bull as the personification
of the English national spirit in 1712.
The political convulsions of the late 18th century associated with the
American and French revolutions massively augmented the widespread
appeal of patriotic nationalism.
The Prussian scholar
Johann Gottfried Herder
Johann Gottfried Herder (1744–1803) originated
the term in 1772 in his "Treatise on the Origin of Language" stressing
the role of a common language. He attached exceptional
importance to the concepts of nationality and of patriotism –
"he that has lost his patriotic spirit has lost himself and the whole
worlds about himself", whilst teaching that "in a certain sense every
human perfection is national".
Main article: International relations of the Great Powers
The political development of nationalism and the push for popular
sovereignty culminated with the ethnic/national revolutions of Europe.
During the 19th century nationalism became one of the most significant
political and social forces in history; it is typically listed among
the top causes of World War I.
Napoleon's conquests of the German and Italian states around 1800–06
played a major role in stimulating nationalism and the demands for
Main article: German nationalism
Vienna with German tricolor flags, May 1848
In the German states west of Prussia,
Napoleon abolished many of the
old or medieval relics, such as dissolving the
Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire in
1806. He imposed rational legal systems and demonstrated how
dramatic changes were possible. His organization of the Confederation
of the Rhine in 1806 promoted a feeling of nationalism.
Nationalists sought to encompass masculinity in their quest for
strength and unity. It was Prussian chancellor Otto von Bismarck
who achieved German unification through a series of highly successful
short wars against Denmark, Austria and France which thrilled the
pan-German nationalists in the smaller German states. They fought in
his wars and eagerly joined the new German Empire, which Bismarck ran
as a force for balance and peace in Europe after 1871.
In the 19th century
German nationalism was promoted by
Hegelian-oriented academic historians who saw
Prussia as the true
carrier of the German spirit, and the power of the state as the
ultimate goal of nationalism. The three main historians were Johann
Gustav Droysen (1808–1884),
Heinrich von Sybel
Heinrich von Sybel (1817–1895) and
Heinrich von Treitschke
Heinrich von Treitschke (1834–1896). Droysen moved from liberalism
to an intense nationalism that celebrated Prussian Protestantism,
efficiency, progress, and reform, in striking contrast to Austrian
Catholicism, impotency and backwardness. He idealized the Hohenzollern
kings of Prussia. His large-scale History of Prussian Politics (14 vol
1855–1886) was foundational for nationalistic students and scholars.
Von Sybel founded and edited the leading academic history journal,
Historische Zeitschrift and as the director of the Prussian state
archives published massive compilations that were devoured by scholars
The most influential of the German nationalist historians, was
Treitschke who had an enormous influence on elite students at
Heidelberg and Berlin universities. Treitschke vehemently attacked
parliamentarianism, socialism, pacifism, the English, the French, the
Jews, and the internationalists. The core of his message was the need
for a strong, unified state—a unified Germany under Prussian
supervision. "It is the highest duty of the State to increase its
power," he stated. Although he was a descendant of a Czech family he
considered himself not Slavic but German: "I am 1000 times more the
patriot than a professor."
Italian nationalism and Italian unification
People cheering as
Giuseppe Garibaldi enters Naples in 1860
Italian nationalism emerged in the 19th century and was the driving
Italian unification or the "Risorgimento" (meaning the
Resurgence or revival). It was the political and intellectual movement
that consolidated different states of the Italian peninsula into the
single state of the
Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy in 1861. The memory of the
Risorgimento is central to
Italian nationalism but it was based in the
liberal middle classes and proved weak. Two major groups remained
opposed, the South (called the Mezzogiorno) and the devout Catholics.
The new government treated the South as a conquered province with
ridicule for its "backward" and poverty stricken society, its poor
grasp of the Italian language, and its traditions. The liberals had
always been strong opponents of the pope and the very well organized
Catholic Church. The pope had been in political control of central
Italy; he lost that in 1860 and lost Rome in 1870. He had long been
the leader of opposition to modern liberalism and refused to accept
the terms offered by the new government. He called himself a prisoner
in the Vatican and forbade Catholics to vote or engage in politics.
The Catholic alienation lasted until 1929. The liberal government
Francesco Crispi sought to enlarge his political base by
emulating Bismarck and firing up
Italian nationalism with a
hyper-aggressive foreign policy. It crashed and his cause was set
back. Historian R.J.B. Bosworth says of his nationalistic foreign
policy that Crispi:
pursued policies whose openly aggressive character would not be
equaled until the days of the Fascist regime. Crispi increased
military expenditure, talked cheerfully of a European conflagration,
and alarmed his German or British friends with this suggestions of
preventative attacks on his enemies. His policies were ruinous, both
for Italy's trade with France, and, more humiliatingly, for colonial
ambitions in East Africa. Crispi's lust for territory there was
thwarted when on 1 March 1896, the armies of Ethiopian Emperor Menelik
routed Italian forces at Adowa ... in what has been defined as an
unparalleled disaster for a modern army. Crispi, whose private life
(he was perhaps a trigamist) and personal finances...were objects of
perennial scandal, went into dishonorable retirement.
Meanwhile, a third major group emerged that was hostile to nationalism
as radical socialist elements became a force in the industrial North,
and they too rejected liberalism. Italy joined the Allies in the First
World War after getting promises of territory, but its war effort was
a fiasco that discredited liberalism and paved the way for Benito
Mussolini and his fascism. That involved a highly aggressive
nationalism that led to a series of wars, an alliance with Hitler's
Germany, and humiliation and hardship in the Second World War. After
1945 the Catholics returned to government and tensions eased somewhat,
Mezzogiorno remained poor and ridiculed. The working class now
voted for the Communist Party, and it looked to Moscow not Rome for
inspiration, and was kept out of the national government even as it
controlled industrial cities across the North. In the 21st century the
Communists are gone but political and cultural tensions remained high
as shown by separatist
Padanian nationalism in the North.
Beginning in 1821, the
Greek War of Independence
Greek War of Independence began as a rebellion
by Greek revolutionaries against the ruling Ottoman Empire.
Main article: Greek War of Independence
The Greek drive for independence from the
Ottoman Empire in the 1820s
and 1830s inspired supporters across Christian Europe, especially in
Britain. France, Russia and Britain critically intervened to ensure
the success of this nationalist endeavour.
Main article: Filipino nationalism
In the 19th century the Katipunan, a revolutionary society founded by
anti-Spanish Filipinos in
Manila in 1892, and its successor
organizations, entered into armed revolt against Spanish colonizers.
On 12 June 1898, during the Spanish–American War, a revolutionary
Philippine Republic declared independence from Spain. On 23 January
1899, the insurgent
First Philippine Republic
First Philippine Republic was proclaimed. On 10
December 1898, Spain ceded the
Philippines to the United States in the
Treaty of Paris. On 4 February 1899, hostilities erupted between the
United States and Philippine nationalist revolutionaries. These
hostilities developed into the Philippine–American War, which
continued into the 20th century.
Serbian nationalism and History of Serbia
Breakup of Yugoslavia
For centuries the Orthodox Christian Serbs were ruled by the Muslim
Ottoman Empire. The success of the
Serbian Revolution against Ottoman
rule in 1817 marked the birth of the Principality of Serbia. It
achieved de facto independence in 1867 and finally gained
international recognition in 1878.
Serbia had sought to liberate and
Bosnia and Herzegovina to the west and
Old Serbia (Kosovo
and Vardar Macedonia) to the south. Nationalist circles in both Serbia
Croatia (in the Habsburg Empire) began to advocate for a greater
South Slavic union in the 1860s, claiming
Bosnia as their common land
based on shared language and tradition. In 1914, Yugoslavist
Bosnia assassinated Archduke Ferdinand.
Austria-Hungary, with German backing, tried to crush
Serbia in 1914
but Russia intervened, thus igniting the
First World War
First World War in which
Austria dissolved into nation states.
In 1918, the region of Vojvodina proclaimed its secession from
Austria-Hungary to unite with Serbia; the Kingdom of
Serbia joined the
State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs
State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs on 1 December 1918, and
the country was named Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. It was
renamed Yugoslavia, and a Yugoslav identity was promoted, which
ultimately failed. After the Second World War, Yugoslav Communists
established a new socialist republic of Yugoslavia. That state broke
up in the 1990s.
History of Poland
History of Poland and Polish nationalism
The cause of
Polish nationalism was repeatedly frustrated before 1918.
In the 1790s, Prussia, Russia and Austria partitioned Poland. Napoleon
set up the Duchy of Warsaw, a new Polish state that ignited a spirit
of nationalism. Russia took it over in 1815 as
Congress Poland with
the tsar as King of Poland. Large-scale nationalist revolts erupted in
1830 and 1863–64 but were harshly crushed by Russia, which tried to
Russify the Polish language, culture and religion. The collapse of the
Russian Empire in the
First World War
First World War enabled the major powers to
reestablish an independent Poland, which survived until 1939.
Meanwhile, Poles in areas controlled by Germany moved into heavy
industry but their religion came under attack by Bismarck in the
Kulturkampf of the 1870s. The Poles joined German Catholics in a
well-organized new Centre Party, and defeated Bismarck politically. He
responded by stopping the harassment and cooperating with the Centre
In the late 19th and early 20th century, many Polish nationalist
leaders endorsed the Piast Concept. It held there was a Polish utopia
during the Piast Dynasty a thousand years before, and modern Polish
nationalists should restore its central values of
Poland for the
Poles. Jan Poplawski had developed the "Piast Concept" in the 1890s,
and it formed the centerpiece of Polish nationalist ideology,
especially as presented by the National Democracy Party, known as the
"Endecja," which was led by Roman Dmowski. There was no place in the
Piast Concept for a multicultural Poland.
General Simón Bolívar, (1783–1830), a leader of independence in
The Piast concept stood in opposition to the "Jagellon Concept," which
allowed for multiculturalism and Polish rule over numerous minorities.
The Jagellon Concept was the official policy of the government in the
1920s and 1930s. Soviet leader Josef Stalin at Tehran in 1943 rejected
the Jagellon Concept because it involved Polish rule over Ukrainians
and Belorussians. He instead endorsed the Piast Concept, which
justified a massive shift of Poland's frontiers to the west. After
1945 the Communist regime wholeheartedly adopted the Piast Concept,
making it the centerpiece of their claim to be the true inheritors of
Polish nationalism. After all the killings, including Nazi German
occupation, terror in
Poland (especially the Nazi annihilation of the
Jews), and population transfers during and after the war, the nation
was officially claimed as 99% "Polish."
Jewish nationalism arose in the latter half of the 19th century and
was largely correlated with the Zionist movement. This term originated
from the word “Zion”, which was one of the Torah’s names for the
city of Jerusalem.The end goal of the nationalists and Zionists was to
establish a sovereign Jewish state in the land of Palestine. A
tumultuous history of living in oppressive, foreign, and uncertain
circumstances lead the supporters of the movement to draft a
declaration of independence, claiming Israel as a birthplace. The
first and second destructions of the temple and ancient Torah
prophecies largely shaped the incentives of the Jewish nationalists.
Many prominent theories in Jewish theology and eschatology were formed
by supporters and opposers of the movement in this era.
It was the
French Revolution of 1789, which sparked new waves of
thinking across Europe regarding governance and sovereignty. A shift
from the traditional hierarchy-based system towards political
individualism and citizen-states posed a dilemma for the Jews.
Citizenship was now essential, when it came to ensuring basic legal
and residential rights. This resulted in more and more Jews choosing
to identify with certain nationalities in order to maintain these
rights. Logic said that a nation-based system of states would require
the Jews themselves to claim their own right to be considered a nation
due to a distinguishable language and history. Historian David Engel
has explained that
Zionism was more about fear that a majority of
worldwide Jews would end up dispersed and unprotected, rather than
fulfilling old prophecies and traditions of historical texts.
Main article: Latin American Wars of Independence
An upsurge in nationalism in Latin America in 1810s and 1820s sparked
revolutions that cost Spain nearly all its colonies there. Spain
was at war with Britain from 1798 to 1808, and the British Royal Navy
cut off its contacts with its colonies so nationalism flourished and
trade with Spain was suspended. The colonies set up temporary
governments or juntas which were effectively independent from Spain.
The division exploded between Spaniards who were born in Spain (called
"peninsulares") versus those of Spanish descent born in New Spain
(called "criollos" in Spanish or "creoles" in English). The two groups
wrestled for power, with the criollos leading the call for
independence. Spain tried to use its armies to fight back but had no
help from European powers. Indeed, Britain and the
United States worked against Spain, enforcing the Monroe Doctrine.
Spain lost all of its American colonies, except Cuba and Puerto Rico,
in a complex series of revolts from 1808 to 1826.
Main article: Chinese nationalism
The awakening of nationalism across Asia helped shape the history of
the continent. The key episode was the decisive defeat of Russia by
Japan in 1905, demonstrating the military superiority of non-Europeans
in a modern war. The defeat which quickly led to manifestations of a
new interest in nationalism in China, as well as Turkey, and
Persia. In China
Sun Yat-sen (1866–1925) launched his new party
Kuomintang (National People's Party) in defiance of the decrepit
Empire, which was run by outsiders.
Kuomintang recruits pledged:
from this moment I will destroy the old and build the new, and fight
for the self-determination of the people, and will apply all my
strength to the support of the Chinese Republic and the realization of
democracy through the Three Principles, . . . for the progress of good
government, the happiness and perpetual peace of the people, and for
the strengthening of the foundations of the state in the name of peace
throughout the world.
Kuomintang largely ran China until the Communists took over in
1949. but the latter had also been strongly influence by Sun's
nationalism as well as by the
May Fourth Movement
May Fourth Movement in 1919. It was a
nationwide protest movement about the domestic backwardness of China
and has often been depicted as the intellectual foundation for Chinese
New Culture Movement
New Culture Movement stimulated by the May Fourth
Movement waxed strong throughout the 1920s and 1930s. According to
historian Patricia Ebrey:
Nationalism, patriotism, progress, science, democracy, and freedom
were the goals; imperialism, feudalism, warlordism, autocracy,
patriarchy, and blind adherence to tradition were the enemies.
Intellectuals struggled with how to be strong and modern and yet
Chinese, how to preserve China as a political entity in the world of
African nationalism and History of Africa
Kenneth Kaunda, an anti-colonial political leader from Zambia,
pictured at a nationalist rally in colonial
Northern Rhodesia (now
Zambia) in 1960
In the 1880s the European powers divided up almost all of Africa (only
Ethiopia and Liberia were independent). They ruled until after World
War II when forces of nationalism grew much stronger. In the 1950s and
1960s the colonial holdings became independent states. The process was
usually peaceful but there were several long bitter bloody civil wars,
as in Algeria, Kenya and elsewhere. Across Africa nationalism
drew upon the organizational skills that natives learned in the
British and French and other armies in the world wars. It led to
organizations that were not controlled by or endorsed by either the
colonial powers not the traditional local power structures that were
collaborating with the colonial powers. Nationalistic organizations
began to challenge both the traditional and the new colonial
structures and finally displaced them. Leaders of nationalist
movements took control when the European authorities exited; many
ruled for decades or until they died off. These structures included
political, educational, religious, and other social organizations. In
recent decades, many African countries have undergone the triumph and
defeat of nationalistic fervor, changing in the process the loci of
the centralizing state power and patrimonial state.
South Africa, a British colony, was exceptional in that it became
virtually independent by 1931. From 1948 to 1994, it was controlled by
Afrikaner nationalists focused on racial segregation and white
minority rule known officially as apartheid. The black nationalist
movement fought them until success was achieved by the African
National Congress in 1994 and
Nelson Mandela was elected
Arab nationalism, a movement toward liberating and empowering the Arab
peoples of the Middle East, emerged during the latter 19th century,
inspired by other independence movements of the 18th and 19th
centuries. As the
Ottoman Empire declined and the Middle East was
carved up by the Great Powers of Europe, Arabs sought to establish
their own independent nations ruled by Arabs rather than foreigners.
Syria was established in 1920; Transjordan (later Jordan) gradually
gained independence between 1921 and 1946;
Saudi Arabia was
established in 1932; and
Egypt achieved gradually gained independence
between 1922 and 1952. The
Arab League was established in 1945 to
promote Arab interests and cooperation between the new Arab states.
Parallel to these efforts was the Zionist movement which emerged among
European Jews in the 19th century. Beginning in 1882 Jews,
predominantly from Europe, began emigrating to
Ottoman Palestine with
the goal of establishing a new Jewish homeland. The effort culminated
in the declaration of the
State of Israel
State of Israel in 1948. As this move
conflicted with the belief among Arab nationalists that Palestine was
part of the Arab nation, the neighboring Arab nations launched an
invasion to claim the region. The invasion was only partly successful
and led to decades of clashes between the Arab and Jewish nationalist
Ongoing hostilities between Philippine revolutionaries and the United
States developed into the Philippine–American War. General armed
conflict drew to a close in 1902, with the
Philippines going on the
become a U.S. territory. On 4 July 1946, in the Treaty of Manila, the
United States granted the
Philippines full independence.
There was a rise in extreme nationalism after the collapse of
communism in the 1990s. When communism fell, it left many people with
no identity. The people under communist rule had to integrate, and
found themselves free to choose. Given free choice, long dormant
conflicts rose up and created sources of serious conflict. When
communism fell in Yugoslavia, serious conflict arose, which led to the
rise in extreme nationalism.
In his 1992 article Jihad vs. McWorld,
Benjamin Barber proposed that
the fall of communism will cause large numbers of people to search for
unity and that small scale wars will become common; groups will
attempt to redraw boundaries, identities, cultures and ideologies.
Communism's fall also allowed for an "us vs. them" mentality to sprout
up. Governments become vehicles for social interests and the
country will attempt to form national policies based on the majority,
for example culture, religion or ethnicity. Some newly sprouted
democracies have large differences in policies on matters that ranged
from immigration and human rights to trade and commerce.
Academic Steven Berg felt that at the root of nationalist conflicts is
the demand for autonomy and a separate existence. This nationalism
can give rise to strong emotions that may lead to a group fighting to
survive, especially as after the fall of communism, political
boundaries did not match ethnic boundaries. Serious conflicts
often arose and escalated very easily as individuals and groups acted
upon their beliefs, causing death and destruction. When this would
happen, those states who were unable to contain the conflict ran the
risk of slowing their democratization progress.
Yugoslavia was established after WWI and was a merger of three
separate ethnic groups; Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. The national
census numbers for a ten-year span 1971–1981 measured an increase
from 1.3 to 5.4% in their population that ethnically identified as
Yugoslav. This meant that the country, almost as a whole, was
divided by distinctive religious, ethnic or national loyalties after
nearly 50 years.
Within Yugoslavia, separating
Croatia and Slovenia from the rest of
Yugoslavia is an invisible line of previous conquests of the region.
Croatia and Slovenia to the northwest were conquered by Catholics or
Protestants, and benefited from European history; the Renaissance,
French Revolution, Industrial Revolution and are more inclined towards
democracy. The remaining Yugoslavian territory was conquered by
the Ottoman or Tsarists empires; are Orthodox or Muslims, are less
economically advanced and are less inclined toward democracy.
In the 1970s the leadership of the separate territories within
Yugoslavia protected only territorial interests at the expense of
other territories. In Croatia, there was almost a split within the
territory between Serbs and Croats so any political decision would
kindle unrest, and tensions could cross the territories adjacent;
Bosnia and Herzegovina. Within
Bosnia there was no group who had a
majority; Muslim, Serb, Croat, and Yugoslav were all there so the
leadership could not advance here either. Political organizations were
not able to deal successfully with such diverse nationalism. Within
the territories the leadership could not compromise. To do so would
create a winner in one ethnic group and a looser in another, raising
the possibility of a serious conflict. This strengthened the political
stance promoting ethnic identities. This caused intense and divided
political leadership within Yugoslavia.
In the 1980s
Yugoslavia began to break into fragments. The
economic conditions within
Yugoslavia were deteriorating. Conflict in
the disputed territories was stimulated by the rise in mass
nationalism and inter-ethnic hostilities. The per-capita income of
people in the northwest territory, encompassing
Croatia and Slovenia,
in contrast to the southern territory were several times higher. This
combined with escalating violence from ethnic Albanians and Serbs
Kosovo intensified economic conditions. This violence
greatly contributed to the rise of extreme nationalism of Serbs in
Serbia and within Yugoslavia. The ongoing conflict in
propagandized by Communist Serbian Slobodan Milosevic to further
increase Serb nationalism. As mentioned, this nationalism did give
rise to powerful emotions which grew the force of Serbian nationalism
through highly nationalist demonstrations in Vojvodina, Serbia,
Montenegro, and Kosovo.
Serbian nationalism was so high, Slobodan
Milosevic was able to oust leaders in Vojvodina and Montenegro,
further repressed Albanians within
Kosovo and eventually controlled
four of the eight regions/territories. Slovenia, one of the four
regions not under Communist control, favoring a democratic state.
Within Slovenia, fear was mounting because Milosevic was using the
militia to suppress a in Kosovo, what would he do to Slovenia.
Yugoslavia wanted to be democratic, the other wanted a new
nationalist authoritarian regime. In fall of 1989 tensions came to a
head and Slovenia asserted its political and economic independence
Yugoslavia and seceded. In January 1990, there was a total break
Serbia at the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, an institution
conceived by Milosevic to strengthen unity and became the backdrop for
the fall of communism within Yugoslavia.
In August 1990, a warning to the region was issued when ethnically
divided groups attempted to alter the government structure. The
republic borders established by the Communist regime in the postwar
period were extremely vulnerable to challenges from ethnic
communities.Ethnic communities arose because they did not share the
identity with everyone within the new post-Communist borders. This
threatened the new governments. The same disputes were erupting that
were in place prior to Milosevic and were compounded by actions from
Also within the territory the Croats and the Serbs were in direct
competition for control of government. Elections were held and
increased potential conflicts between Serb and Croat nationalism.
Serbia wanted to be separate and decide its own future based on its
own ethnic composition. But this would then give
to become independent from Serbia. Albanians in
Kosovo were already
independent from Kosovo.
Serbia didn't want to let
independent. Muslims nationalists wanted their own territory but it
would require a redrawing of the map, and would threaten neighboring
territories. When communism fell in Yugoslavia, serious conflict
arose, which led to the rise in extreme nationalism.
Nationalism again gave rise to powerful emotions which evoked in some
extreme cases, a willingness to die for what you believe in, a fight
for the survival of the group. The end of communism began a long
period of conflict and war for the region. In the six years following
the collapse 200,000-500-000 people died in the Bosnian war.
Bosnian Muslims suffered at the hands of the Serbs and Croats. The
war garnered assistance from groups; Muslim, Orthodox and Western
Christian as well as state actors who supplied all sides; Saudi Arabia
Iran supported Bosnia, Russia supported Serbia, Central European
and Western countries including the U.S. supported Croatia, and the
Pope supported Slovenia and Croatia.
Arab nationalism began to decline in the 21st century leading to
localized nationalism, culminating in a series of revolts against
authoritarian regimes between 2010 and 2012, known as the Arab Spring.
Following these revolts, which mostly failed to improve conditions in
the affected nations,
Arab nationalism and even most local
nationalistic movements declined dramatically. A consequence of
Arab Spring as well as the
2003 invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq were the civil
Iraq and Syria, which eventually joined to form a single
The rise of globalism in the late 20th century led to a rise in
nationalism and populism in Europe and North America. This trend was
further fueled by increased terrorism in the West (the September 11
attacks in the U.S. being a prime example), increasing unrest and
civil wars in the Middle East, and waves of Muslim refugees flooding
into Europe (as of 2016[update] the refugee crisis appears to have
peaked). Nationalist groups like Germany's Pegida, France's
National Front, and the
UK Independence Party
UK Independence Party gained prominence in
their respective nations advocating restrictions on immigration to
protect the local populations.
In Russia, exploitation of nationalist sentiments allowed Vladimir
Putin to consolidate power. This nationalist sentiment was used in
Russia's annexation of
Crimea in 2014 and other actions in
Ukraine. Nationalist movements gradually began to rise in other
parts of Eastern Europe as well,
Poland in particular.
In a 2016 referendum, the British populace voted to withdraw the
United Kingdom from the
European Union (the so-called Brexit). The
result had been largely unexpected and was seen as a victory of
populism. The 2016 U.S. presidential campaign saw the unprecedented
rise of Donald Trump, a businessman with no political experience who
ran on a populist/nationalist platform and struggled to gain
endorsements from mainstream political figures, even within his own
party. Trump's slogans "Make America Great Again" and "America First"
exemplified his campaign's repudiation of globalism and its staunchly
nationalistic outlook. His unexpected victory in the election was seen
as part of the same trend that had brought about the
In Japan, nationalist influences in the government developed over the
course of the early 21 century, thanks in large part to the Nippon
Kaigi organization. The new movement has advocated re-establishing
Japan as a military power and revising historical narratives to
support the notion of a moral and strong Japan.
Rodrigo Duterte became president of the
Philippines running a
distinctly nationalist campaign. Contrary to the policies of his
recent predecessors, he distanced the country from the Philippines'
former ruler, the United States, and sought closer ties with China (as
well as Russia). During 2017, Turkish nationalism propelled
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to gain unprecedented power in a
national referendum. Reactions from world leaders were mixed, with
Western European leaders generally expressing concern while the
leaders of many of the more authoritarian regimes, as well as
President Donald Trump, offered their congratulations.
Many political scientists have theorized about the foundations of the
modern nation-state and the concept of sovereignty. The concept of
nationalism in political science draws from these theoretical
foundations. Philosophers like Machiavelli, Locke, Hobbes, and
Rousseau conceptualized the state as the result of a "social contract"
between rulers and individuals. Weber provides the most commonly
used definition of the state, "that human community which successfully
lays claim to the monopoly of legitimate physical violence within a
certain territory". According to Benedict Anderson, nations are
"Imagined Communities", or socially constructed institutions.
Many scholars have noted the relationship between state-building, war,
and nationalism. Many scholars believe that the development of
nationalism in Europe (and subsequently the modern nation-state) was
due to the threat of war. "External threats have such a powerful
effect on nationalism because people realize in a profound manner that
they are under threat because of who they are as a nation; they are
forced to recognize that it is only as a nation that they can
successfully defeat the threat". With increased external threats,
the state's extractive capacities increase.
Jeffrey Herbst argues that
the lack of external threats to countries in Sub-Saharan Africa,
post-independence, is linked to weak state nationalism and state
Barry Posen argues that nationalism increases the
intensity of war, and that states deliberately promote nationalism
with the aim of improving their military capabilities.
The sociological or modernist interpretation of nationalism and
nation-building argues that nationalism arises and flourishes in
modern societies that have an industrial economy capable of
self-sustainability, a central supreme authority capable of
maintaining authority and unity, and a centralized language understood
by a community of people. Modernist theorists note that this is
only possible in modern societies, while traditional societies
typically lack the prerequisites for nationalism. They lack a modern
self-sustainable economy, have divided authorities, and use multiple
languages resulting in many groups being unable to communicate with
Prominent theorists who developed the modernist interpretation of
nations and nationalism include: Carlton J. H. Hayes, Henry Maine,
Ferdinand Tönnies, Rabindranath Tagore, Émile Durkheim, Max Weber,
Arnold Joseph Toynbee
Arnold Joseph Toynbee and Talcott Parsons.
Henry Maine in his analysis of the historical changes and development
of human societies noted the key distinction between traditional
societies defined as "status" societies based on family association
and functionally diffuse roles for individuals; and modern societies
defined as "contract" societies where social relations are determined
by rational contracts pursued by individuals to advance their
interests. Maine saw the development of societies as moving away from
traditional status societies to modern contract societies.
Ferdinand Tönnies in his book
Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft (1887)
defined a gemeinschaft (community) as being based on emotional
attachments as attributed with traditional societies, while defining a
Gesellschaft (society) as an impersonal society that is modern. While
he recognized the advantages of modern societies he also criticized
them for their cold and impersonal nature that caused alienation while
praising the intimacy of traditional communities.
Émile Durkheim expanded upon Tönnies' recognition of alienation, and
defined the differences between traditional and modern societies as
being between societies based upon "mechanical solidarity" versus
societies based on "organic solidarity". Durkheim identified
mechanical solidarity as involving custom, habit, and repression that
was necessary to maintain shared views. Durkheim identified organic
solidarity-based societies as modern societies where there exists a
division of labour based on social differentiation that causes
alienation. Durkheim claimed that social integration in traditional
society required authoritarian culture involving acceptance of a
social order. Durkheim claimed that modern society bases integration
on the mutual benefits of the division of labour, but noted that the
impersonal character of modern urban life caused alienation and
feelings of anomie.
Max Weber claimed the change that developed modern society and nations
is the result of the rise of a charismatic leader to power in a
society who creates a new tradition or a rational-legal system that
establishes the supreme authority of the state. Weber's conception of
charismatic authority has been noted as the basis of many nationalist
Primordialist evolutionary interpretation
Another approach emerging from biology and psychology looks at
long-term evolutionary forces that might lead to nationalism. The
primordialist perspective is based upon evolutionary theory.
This approach has been popular with the general public but is
typically rejected by experts. Laland and Brown report that "the vast
majority of professional academics in the social sciences not only ...
ignore evolutionary methods but in many cases [are] extremely hostile
to the arguments" that draw vast generalizations from rather limited
The evolutionary theory of nationalism perceives nationalism to be the
result of the evolution of human beings into identifying with groups,
such as ethnic groups, or other groups that form the foundation of a
nation. Roger Masters in The Nature of Politics describes the
primordial explanation of the origin of ethnic and national groups as
recognizing group attachments that are thought to be unique,
emotional, intense, and durable because they are based upon kinship
and promoted along lines of common ancestry.
The primordialist evolutionary views of nationalism often reference
the evolutionary theories of
Charles Darwin as well as Social
Darwinist views of the late nineteenth century. Thinkers like Herbert
Walter Bagehot reinterpreted Darwin's theory of natural
selection "often in ways inconsistent with Charles Darwin’s theory
of evolution" by making unsupported claims of biological difference
among groups, ethnicities, races, and nations. Modern evolutionary
sciences have distanced themselves from such views, but notions of
long-term evolutionary change remain foundational to the work of
evolutionary psychologists like
John Tooby and Leda Cosmides.
Approached through the primordialist perspective, the example of
seeing the mobilization of a foreign military force on the nation's
borders may provoke members of a national group to unify and mobilize
themselves in response. There are proximate environments where
individuals identify nonimmediate real or imagined situations in
combination with immediate situations that make individuals confront a
common situation of both subjective and objective components that
affect their decisions. As such proximate environments cause
people to make decisions based on existing situations and anticipated
Nationalist and liberal pressure led to the European revolutions of
Critics argue that primordial models relying on evolutionary
psychology are based not on historical evidence but on assumptions of
unobserved changes over thousands of years and assume stable genetic
composition of the population living in a specific area, and are
incapable of handling the contingencies that characterize every known
historical process. Robert Hislope argues:
the articulation of cultural evolutionary theory represents
theoretical progress over sociobiology, but its explanatory payoff
remains limited due to the role of contingency in human affairs and
the significance of non-evolutionary, proximate causal factors. While
evolutionary theory undoubtedly elucidates the development of all
organic life, it would seem to operate best at macro-levels of
analysis, "distal" points of explanation, and from the perspective of
the long-term. Hence, it is bound to display shortcomings at
micro-level events that are highly contingent in nature.
G. P. Gooch
G. P. Gooch in 1920 argued that "While patriotism is
as old as human association and has gradually widened its sphere from
the clan and the tribe to the city and the state, nationalism as an
operative principle and an articulate creed only made its appearance
among the more complicated intellectual processes of the modern
Marx and Engels declared that 'the working men have no country'.
They saw nationalism as a 'false consciousness', which prevented the
working class from rising up and ending their oppression by the
Lenin supported the concept of self-determination.
Marxism and the National Question
Marxism and the National Question (1913) declares that
"a nation is not a racial or tribal, but a historically constituted
community of people;" "a nation is not a casual or ephemeral
conglomeration, but a stable community of people"; "a nation is formed
only as a result of lengthy and systematic intercourse, as a result of
people living together generation after generation"; and, in its
entirety: "a nation is a historically constituted, stable community of
people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic
life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture."
See also: Types of nationalism
Historians, sociologists, and anthropologists have debated different
types of nationalism since at least the 1930s. Generally, the most
common way of classifying nationalism has been to describe movements
as having either "civic" or "ethnic" nationalist characteristics. This
distinction was popularized in the 1950s by Hans Kohn who described
"civic" nationalism as "Western" and more democratic while depicting
"ethnic" nationalism as "Eastern" and undemocratic. Since the
1980s, however, scholars of nationalism have pointed out numerous
flaws in this rigid division and proposed more specific
classifications and numerous varieties.
Benito Mussolini and the
Führer Adolf Hitler.
Civic nationalism and liberal nationalism
Main article: Civic nationalism
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
Civic nationalism is a kind of non-xenophobic nationalism that is
claimed to be 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 to lead
meaningful, autonomous lives, and that liberal democratic
polities need national identity 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 must be voluntary, as in
Ernest Renan's classic definition of the nation in What is a Nation?
(1882). Renan argued that factors such as ethnicity, language,
religion, economics, geography, ruling dynasty and historic military
deeds were important but not sufficient. Needed was a spiritual soul
that allowed as a "daily referendum" among the people.
Civic-national ideals influenced the development of representative
democracy in countries such as the United States and France.
German philosopher Monika Kirloskar-Steinbach does not think
liberalism and nationalism are compatible, but she points out there
are many liberals who think they are. She states:
Justifications of nationalism seem to be making a headway in political
philosophy. Its proponents contend that liberalism and nationalism are
not necessarily mutually exclusive and that they can in fact be made
compatible. Liberal nationalists urge one to consider nationalism not
as the pathology of modernity but as an answer to its malaise. For
them, nationalism is more than an infantile disease, more than "the
measles of mankind" as Einstein once proclaimed it to be. They argue
that nationalism is a legitimate way of understanding one's role and
place in life. They strive for a normative justification of
nationalism which lies within liberal limits. The main claim which
seems to be involved here is that as long as a nationalism abhors
violence and propagates liberal rights and equal citizenship for all
citizens of its state, its philosophical credentials can be considered
to be sound.
Ukrainian nationalists carry portraits of
Stepan Bandera and flags of
the Ukrainian Insurgent Army
See also: Ethnic nationalism
Nationalism kills" in Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian is a recognizable
UDIK's motto against nationalism in
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia
Ethnic nationalism, also known as ethno-nationalism, is a form of
nationalism wherein the "nation" is defined in terms of
ethnicity. The central theme of ethnic nationalists is that
"nations are defined by a shared heritage, which usually includes a
common language, a common faith, and a common ethnic ancestry".
It also includes ideas of a culture shared between members of the
group, and with their ancestors. However, it is different from a
purely cultural definition of "the nation," which allows people to
become members of a nation by cultural assimilation; and from a purely
linguistic definition, according to which "the nation" consists of all
speakers of a specific language.
Whereas nationalism in and of itself does not necessarily imply a
belief in the superiority of one ethnicity or country over others,
some nationalists support ethnocentric supremacy or protectionism.
Main article: Religious nationalism
Religious nationalism is the relationship of nationalism to a
particular religious belief, dogma, or affiliation where a shared
religion can be seen to contribute to a sense of national unity, a
common bond among the citizens of the nation.
Pakistani nationalism (Two-Nation Theory), are some
A political mural in
Caracas featuring an anti-American and
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
Marxism and the National Question and his
Socialism in One Country
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 in 1959, Cornwall's
Mebyon Kernow, Ireland's Sinn Féin, Wales's Plaid Cymru, the Awami
League in Bangladesh, the
African National Congress
African National Congress in South Africa
and numerous movements in Eastern Europe.
Main article: Territorial nationalism
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.
Nationalist slogan "Brazil, love it or leave it", used during the
Brazilian military dictatorship
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
Citizenship is idealized by territorial nationalists. A
criterion of a territorial nationalism is the establishment of a mass,
public culture based on common values, codes and traditions of the
Integral nationalism, Irredentism, and Pan-nationalism
Main articles: Integral nationalism, Irredentism, and Pan-nationalism
There are different types of nationalism including Risorgimento
nationalism and Integral nationalism. Whereas risorgimento
nationalism applies to a nation seeking to establish a liberal state
(for example the
Risorgimento in Italy and similar movements in
Poland during the 19th century or the civic American
nationalism), integral nationalism results after a nation has achieved
independence and has established a state. Fascist Italy and Nazi
Germany, according to Alter and Brown, were examples of integral
Some of the qualities that characterize integral nationalism are
anti-individualism, statism, radical extremism, and
aggressive-expansionist militarism. The term Integral Nationalism
often overlaps with fascism, although many natural points of
Integral nationalism arises in countries where a
strong military ethos has become entrenched through the independence
struggle, when, once independence is achieved, it is believed that a
strong military is required to ensure the security and viability of
the new state. Also, the success of such a liberation struggle results
in feelings of national superiority that may lead to extreme
Pan-nationalism is unique in that it covers a large area span.
Pan-nationalism focuses more on "clusters" of ethnic groups.
Pan-Slavism is one example of Pan-nationalism. The goal is to unite
Slavic people into one country. They did succeed by uniting
Slavic people into
Yugoslavia in 1918.
Crowd demonstrates against Britain in
Cairo on 23 October 1951 as
tension continued to mount in the dispute between
Egypt and Britain
over control of the
Suez Canal and Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.
This form of nationalism came about during the decolonization of the
post war periods. It was a reaction mainly in Africa and Asia against
being subdued by foreign powers. It also appeared in the non-Russian
territories of the Tsarist empire and later, the USSR, where
Ukrainianists and Islamic Marxists condemned Russian Bolshevik rule in
their territories as a renewed Russian imperialism. This form of
nationalism took many guises, including the peaceful passive
resistance movement led by
Mahatma Gandhi in the Indian
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
Main article: Racial nationalism
Racial nationalism is an ideology that advocates a racial definition
of national identity.
Racial nationalism seeks to preserve a given
race through policies such as banning race mixing and the immigration
of other races. Specific examples are black nationalism and white
Nationalism and sport
Sport spectacles like football's World Cup command worldwide audiences
as nations battle for supremacy and the fans invest intense support
for their national team. Increasingly people have tied their loyalties
and even their cultural identity to national teams. The
globalization of audiences through television and other media has
generated revenues from advertisers and subscribers in the billions of
dollars, as the FIFA Scandals of 2015 revealed. Jeff Kingston
looks at football, the Commonwealth Games, baseball, cricket, and the
Olympics and finds that, "The capacity of sports to ignite and amplify
nationalist passions and prejudices is as extraordinary as is their
power to console, unify, uplift and generate goodwill." The
phenomenon is evident across most of the world. The
British Empire strongly emphasized sports among its soldiers and
agents across the world, and often the locals joined in
enthusiastically. It established a high prestige competition in
1930, named the
British Empire Games from 1930–50, the British
Commonwealth Games from 1954–66, British Commonwealth
Games from 1970–74 and since then the Commonwealth Games.
The French Empire was not far behind the British in the use of sports
to strengthen colonial solidarity with France. Colonial officials
promoted and subsidized gymnastics, table games, and dance and helped
football spread to French colonies.
Gendered and Muscular nationalism
Feminist critique interprets nationalism as a mechanism through which
sexual control and repression are justified and legitimised, often by
a dominant masculine power. The gendering of nationalism through
socially constructed notions of masculinity and femininity not only
shapes what masculine and feminine participation in the building of
that nation will look like, but also how the nation will be imagined
by nationalists. A nation having its own identity is viewed as
necessary, and often inevitable, and these identities are
gendered. The physical land itself is often gendered as female
(i.e. "Motherland"), with a body in constant danger of violation by
foreign males, while national pride and protectiveness of "her"
borders is gendered as masculine.
World War 2 United States Patriotic Army Recruiting Poster
History, political ideologies, and religions place most nations along
a continuum of muscular nationalism. Muscular nationalism
conceptualises a nation’s identity as being derived from muscular or
masculine attributes that are unique to a particular country. If
definitions of nationalism and gender are understood as socially and
culturally constructed, the two may be constructed in conjunction by
invoking an "us" versus "them" dichotomy for the purpose of the
exclusion of the so-called "other," who is used to reinforce the
unifying ties of the nation. The empowerment of one gender,
nation or sexuality tends to occur at the expense and disempowerment
of another; in this way, nationalism can be used as an instrument to
perpetuate heteronormative structures of power. The gendered
manner in which dominant nationalism has been imagined in most states
in the world has had important implications on not only individual’s
lived experience, but on international relations.
heavily connected to muscular nationalism, from research linking
British hegemonic masculinity and empire-building, to
intersectional oppression being justified by colonialist images of
“others”, a practice integral in the formation of Western
identity. This “othering” may come in the form of
orientalism, whereby the East is feminized and sexualized by the West.
The imagined feminine East, or “other,” exists in contrast to the
The status of conquered nations can become a causality dilemma: the
nation was “conquered because they were effeminate and seen as
effeminate because they were conquered.” In defeat they are
considered militaristically unskilled, not aggressive, and thus not
muscular. In order for a nation to be considered “proper”, it must
possess the male-gendered characteristics of virility, as opposed to
the stereotypically female characteristics of subservience and
dependency. Muscular nationalism is often inseparable from the
concept of a warrior, which shares ideological commonalities across
many nations; they are defined by the masculine notions of aggression,
willingness to engage in war, decisiveness, and muscular strength, as
opposed to the feminine notions of peacefulness, weakness,
non-violence, and compassion. This masculinized image of a
warrior has been theorised to be “the culmination of a series of
gendered historical and social processes" played out in a national and
international context. Ideas of cultural dualism—of a martial
man and chaste woman—which are implicit in muscular nationalism,
underline the raced, classed, gendered, and heteronormative nature of
dominant national identity.
Nations and gender systems are mutually supportive constructions: the
nation fulfils the masculine ideals of comradeship and
Masculinity has been cited as a notable factor in
producing political militancy. A common feature of national
crisis is a drastic shift in the socially acceptable ways of being a
man, which then helps to shape the gendered perception of the
nation as a whole.
Internationalism (politics) and Anti-nationalism
Critics of nationalism have argued that it is often unclear what
constitutes a "nation", or whether a nation is a legitimate unit of
political rule. Nationalists hold that the boundaries of a nation and
a state should coincide with one another, thus nationalism tends to
oppose multiculturalism. In doing so, nationalism serves to
marginalize minorities who live within a nation-state but do not share
the necessary characteristics to be considered part of the
nation. It can also lead to conflict when more than one
national group finds itself claiming rights to a particular territory
or seeking to take control of the state.
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".
A snack bar sign advertising "American" fries at Knott's Berry Farm.
The sign formerly read "French".
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 Internationalism
and anti-nationalism in the western world. The
Islamic revival of the
20th century also produced an Islamist critique of the nation-state.
At the end of the 19th century, Marxists and other socialists and
communists (such as Rosa Luxemburg) produced political analysis that
were critical of the nationalist movements then active in central and
eastern Europe, although a variety of other contemporary socialists
and communists, from
Vladimir Lenin (a communist) to Józef Piłsudski
(a socialist), were more sympathetic to national
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 was mostly a negative
attitude toward nationalism as a dangerous force and a cause of
conflict and war between nation-states. The historian
Lord Acton put
the case against "nationalism as insanity" in 1862. He argued that
nationalism suppresses minorities, it places country above moral
principles and especially it creates a dangerous individual attachment
to the state. However Acton opposed democracy and was trying to defend
the pope from Italian nationalism. Since the late 20th century
liberals have been increasingly divided, with some philosophers such
as Michael Walzer, Isaiah Berlin, Charles Taylor and David Miller
emphasizing that a liberal society needed to be based in a stable
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. British
Bertrand Russell criticizes nationalism for diminishing the
individual's capacity to judge his or her fatherland's foreign
Albert Einstein stated that "
Nationalism is an infantile
disease. It is the measles of mankind."
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Symbols of national identity.
Gellner's theory of nationalism
Historiography and nationalism
List of figures in nationalism
List of historical autonomist and secessionist movements
List of nationalism in countries and regions
List of nationalist organizations
List of active nationalist parties in Europe
Lists of active separatist movements
Nationalism studies, an interdisciplinary academic field devoted to
the study of nationalism
^ a b Triandafyllidou, Anna (1998). "
National identity and the other".
Ethnic and Racial Studies. 21 (4): 593–612.
^ Smith, A.D. (1981). The Ethnic Revival in the Modern World.
Cambridge University Press.
^ Nairn, Tom; James, Paul (2005). Global Matrix: Nationalism,
Globalism and State-Terrorism. London and New York: Pluto
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Abstract Community. London: Sage Publications.
^ Smith, Anthony (2012).
Nationalism (2nd ed.). Cambridge: polity.
^ Kymlicka 1995, p. 16.
^ a b c Motyl 2001, p. 262.
^ Billig 1995, p. 72.
^ Gellner, Ernest (2005). Nations and
Nationalism (2nd ed.).
Blackwell. ISBN 1-4051-3442-9.
^ Canovan, Margaret (1996). Nationhood and Political Theory.
Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. ISBN 1-85278-852-6.
^ Miller 1995, p. 160
^ Gat, Azar (2012). Nations: The Long History and Deep Roots of
Ethnicity and Nationalism. Cambridge University Press.
^ "Nationalism". merriam-webster.com.
^ See Norman Rich, The age of nationalism and reform, 1850–1890
^ Glenda Sluga, Internationalism in the Age of
of Pennsylvania Press, 2013) ch 1
^ Hans Kohn, The idea of nationalism: A study in its origins and
^ Gregorio F. Zaide (1965). World History. . p. 274.
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