Peri Pamir Introduction The subject of nationalism is extremely complex, not the least because of the many different sources and manifestations of the phenomenon.
This paper will deal essentially with certain contemporary forms of nationalism which have emerged or intensified in Europe and the former Soviet Union during the s. In order to place this discussion in perspective, a brief background of the historical experience is provided at the outset as well as a consideration of some of the basic concepts relating to this phenomenon.
As the ensuing discussion will show, it is almost impossible to come up with a uniform definition of nationalism. In its historical context, it is an ideological movement aimed at attaining and maintaining the identity, unity through social cohesion and autonomy through national self-determination of a "nation," or a peoples united under a "national" banner Smith, In other words, it is the most potent ideology in nation state building and consolidation.
However, as we will seek to illustrate, nationalism, particularly in the contemporary era, has also been a vehicle for disaffected ethnic or cultural communities to voice their dissatisfaction with the status quo.
The sources of discontent may be related to a variety of factors such as denial of cultural identity, political discrimination, repression, or economic deprivation. In these cases, it is a movement of minority groups which springs up in reaction to the policies or performance of the central state.
At other times, it is a counter-reaction, either on the part of the political authorities, or of threatened social groups, in response to the political authorities, and therefore embodies different objectives.
But in most cases, the central state, whether directly or indirectly, plays a key role in manipulating or being the target of nationalist sentiments. Hence, in this paper, nationalism has a broad meaning ranging from being the defining ideology of political movements seeking some form of autonomy or independent statehood; of groups striving to achieve or to improve their cultural, political, social and economic rights within a given state; of protest movements on the part An analysis of the maturity essay cheeseburger subversive communities threatened by either state policies or by other social groups; to the core ideology employed by the state to galvanize public support for its policies or to reaffirm its legitimacy.
The typology offered attempts to distinguish between these various contemporary manifestations of nationalist sentiment and discusses their impact on democracy as a means of distinguishing between the progressive and reactionary forms of nationalism.
Historical and Conceptual Background The historical paradoxes of nationalism To understand the contemporary forms of nationalism, it is useful to keep in mind the paradoxical goals which this ideology has served in the historical process of nation state building. Eighteenth and nineteenth century European nationalism was a unifying force which brought together people of diverse backgrounds at the price of subordinating their ethnic identities to the larger territorial unit dominated by the secular state.
The background to this evolution went back to the emergence of the secular state following the decline of the feudal and the rise of the industrial system, when effective power shifted from the unity of Church and State to that of Nation and State.
Consequently, ethnic loyalties, which sometimes transcended the boundaries of these states, were seen to be subversive and every attempt was made to suppress them. The dominant ideology became that of nationalism, which idealized the secular state and deprecated the maintenance of any linguistic, religious or other sentiments that might conflict with loyalty to it.
Nationalism became synonymous with patriotism Richmond, A similar trend followed the creation of nation states after the collapse of the multinational Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires in the aftermath of World War I. In the Balkans, in particular, nation states were created often with little or no regard for the rights and aspirations of the substantial ethnic groups trapped within their borders.
The principle of state sovereignty, which evolved from the legitimization of national self determination made these new nation states as unsympathetic to demands for self determination from dissatisfied groups within their jurisdiction as were the Romanov, Habsburg and Ottoman rulers to the national claims that were advanced against their rule in the 19th century.
The aftermath of the decolonization process and the creation of nation states in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific after followed a similar pattern.
Those states which achieved their independence through the principle of self determination held the view that a broader definition of the concept could become counterproductive. Hence the paradoxical qualities of nationalism in its modern historical expression reside in the fact that it has served several conflicting purposes.
It has acted as the principal ideology which enabled nations to seek self determination and political statehood.
It also provided the subsequently created states with the ideological justification for holding "the nation" together. And third, it has enabled dissatisfied minority or ethnic groups within the nation states to challenge state authority by questioning its claim to legitimacy which, in a democratic system, formally rests on the doctrine of self determination and popular sovereignty.
Hence, nationalism, in this sense, has ironically contributed to the formation, and survival as well as to the dismemberment of nation states. The relationship between each of these concepts as they relate to nationalism are discussed below.
Self determination, national sovereignty and international responsibility The concept of self determination, as articulated in the Charter of the United Nations Art.
Consequently, the principle of territorial integrity and respect for existing frontiers or the preservation of the unitary state as a major factor of international stability predominated over the right to self determination where this implied the dismemberment of existing states and secession. However, advances in the field of democracy and fundamental freedoms over the last decades, accompanied by the growing consensus that the use of force is neither desirable nor effective in stifling aspirations for self determination, have led to situations where conflicts between the concept of self determination and the unitary state have become increasingly more difficult to resolve.
The experience of the Kurds, the Slovenes, the Croats and the Bosnians has demonstrated that separatist pressures can no longer be regarded as strictly internal affairs, especially since the resistance to their struggle has had the effect of invalidating the fundamental assumption linking territorial inviolability - and, implicitly, the denial of self determination - to international peace and stability.
Consequently, the human rights performance of a state, including its treatment of its minorities, is steadily becoming a matter of legitimate international concern.
Embodied in this attitude is the developing consensus, strengthened since the Gulf war experience, that state sovereignty can no longer provide governments immunity in cases of violations of human rights, particularly in its repression of its minorities.
Another related issue is the changed world environment since the end of the cold war in Europe. Whereas before the cause of ethnic minorities was often exploited by the superpowers or their allies as a way of obtaining geopolitical leverage e. While this may be the case, there is also much confusion as to who has right to self determination, where the limits of national sovereignty and unity lie, and whether and when the territorial integrity of nation states should remain unconditionally unchallenged.And in some cases the analysis takes a recognizably dialectical turn, as in Hua Hsu’s essay, for Grantland, on Kanye West and Jay-Z’s album “Watch the Throne.”.
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