NATONALISM REVISION – EXAM QUESTIONS
SMALL MARK QUESTIONS
- Why have nationalists viewed the nation-state as a political ideal?
The nation-state is a sovereign political association within which citizenship and nationality overlap. The boundaries of the nation therefore coincide with the borders of the state. Liberal nationalists in particular have viewed the nation-state as a political ideal. This has happened for a number of reasons. The first is that the nation-state embodies the goal of political freedom, giving expression to the principle of national self-determination. Democracy and self-government can therefore only operate within a nation-state. Second, nation-states are uniquely stable and cohesive, all other political forms being defective and impermanent. This is because nation-states are united by a combination of political allegiances (via citizenship) and a high level of cultural cohesion (via nationality). All members of such a state therefore 'belong' to it in a civic and a cultural sense. Third, nation-states are believed to be inherently peaceful, whereas multinational empires are restless and expansionist, nation-states tend to respect the sovereign independence of neighbouring states. This applies, if for no other reason, because the members of the nation-state do not want to sacrifice their civic and cultural cohesion through expansionism and conquest.
- Distinguish between nations & races, & explain why the 2 terms have been confused.
Nations are cultural entities, groups of people who share a common language, religion, traditions and culture generally. However, as no nation is culturally homogeneous, nations are ultimately defined subjectively through the existence of a national consciousness, reflected in patriotism or civic loyalty. Races by contrast, are defined genetically; they are groups of people who share a biological descent and so are characterised by physical similarities such as skin or hair colour. (Some deny that race is a meaningful or coherent social category.) Nations & races are confused when usually right-wing nationalists define the nation on organic rather than civic grounds, seeing nations as historically rooted and therefore as exclusive entities. This confusion may be implicit in conservative nationalism but is explicit in racial nationalism of National socialism
- Distinguish between the nation and the state, and explain why the two are often confused.
Nations are cultural entities, groups of people who share the same language, religion, traditions and so on. States are political associations that establish sovereign jurisdiction within defined territorial borders. The terms are confused for two reasons. First, national consciousness (a subjective awareness of national identity) is usually reflected in the desire to achieve or maintain statehood – the nation, in effect, seeks to become a state. This is especially the case with classical political nationalism. Second, as a consequence of the success of nationalism, most modern states are nation-states. This means that the boundaries of the nation usually coincide with the borders of the state. This explains common confusions, such as that the United Nations is really an organisation of states and not nations. You need sophisticated analysis of both the nature of the nation and the state and a clear explanation of the sources of confusion between the terms. Nations are, in their most basic sense, cultural entities, groups of people who share the same language, religion, traditions and so on. The state, on the other hand, is a political entity; it is a political association that establishes sovereign jurisdiction within defined territorial borders. Nations and states are often confused for two reasons, both linked to nationalism itself. First, thanks to the success of nationalism, nations and states tend to overlap in the modern world in the form of the nation-state. Organisations like the United Nations reflect this confusion, being an organisation of states rather than nations. Secondly, national identity has traditionally been expressed in the desire to establish or maintain sovereign statehood. In this sense, nations are nations because they seek to become states, thereby blurring the distinction between nations and states. Nations may thus be thought of as politico-cultural entities.
In answering this question, consider the following issues: • Understanding of the nation (AO1)
• Understanding of the state (AO1) • Analysis and explanation of confusion between the nation and thestate (AO2)
- Distinguish between nationalism and racialism.
Nationalism, broadly, is the belief that the nation is the central principle of political organisation. The nation is a collection of people bound together by shared values and traditions, common language, religion and history, and usually occupying the same geographical area. Nationalism is therefore based upon two core assumptions. First, humankind is naturally divided into discrete nations and, second, the nation is the most appropriate, and perhaps the only legitimate, unit of political rule. Classical political nationalism set out to bring the borders of the state into line with the boundaries of the nation, creating nation-states within which nationality and citizenship would coincide. Nationalism, in this sense, is associated with a principled belief in national self-determination. However, nationalism is a complex and highly diverse ideological phenomenon, encompassing a range of political manifestations as well as cultural and ethnic forms.
Racism, broadly, is the belief that political or social conclusions can be drawn from the idea that humankind is divided into biologically distinct ‘races’ whereas nations are cultural entities, races are genetic or biological entities. Strictly speaking, racial origin is irrelevant to national identity, at least for inclusive forms of nationalism. Racialist theories are based on two assumptions. First, there are fundamental genetic or species-type, differences amongst the peoples of the world and, second, these divisions are reflected in cultural, intellectual and moral differences. Politically, it either implies racial segregation (for instance, apartheid) or doctrines of racial superiority or inferiority. The idea of a racial hierarchy leads to the systematic subordination of peoples on the basis of their ethnic origin, sometimes also providing the justification for conquest and expansionism.
· In what ways is nationalism compatible with liberalism? (& as a separate question – ways it is not compatible)
Nationalism is compatible with liberalism in a number of ways, as demonstrated by the existence of liberal nationalism.
ü Liberal nationalism is based upon the transference to the nation of moral and political concerns that liberalism has traditionally associated with the individual. Nations are therefore regarded as moral entities entitled to certain rights, just like individuals.
ü The liberal concern with individual liberty is therefore embodied in the quest for national self-determination, with all nations being entitled to equal status and basic rights, reflecting the liberal commitment to formal equality. Self-determination, moreover, is taken to imply constitutional rule and political democracy on liberal lines.
ü The liberal belief in balance and harmony is also reflected in the Wilsonian liberal nationalist idea that a world of sovereign nation-states will be peaceful and stable.
- Distinguish between political nationalism and cultural nationalism.
ESSAY QUESTIONS – BASIC CONENT (you need to develop these points
- Is nationalism a progressive or a reactionary political doctrine?
Nationalism has both a progressive and a reactionary face. A progressive doctrine is one that is committed to change, based on the belief that history is marked by progress or improvement. Nationalism is progressive to the extent that it is orientated around projects of political change, aimed at liberating nations form subordination or oppression. Such forms of nationalism thus look forward to the construction of a nation-state, and thus take root within nations that have yet to gain self-government. The most prominent forms of progressive nationalism are liberal nationalism and anti-colonial nationalism. Reactionary doctrines are ones that look back to, and attempt to recreate, a lost past (strictly speaking reaction differs from tradition, in that the former attempts to ‘turn the clock back’). Nationalism is reactionary in that it is often based on historical images and symbols, a nation’s identity being defined by its common past. The most prominent forms of reactionary nationalism are conservative nationalism and expansionist nationalism. Conservatives are drawn to nationalism as a means of ensuring social stability and order often based on the notion of an idealised past. Expansionist nationalism has sometimes been explicitly reactionary; for instance, in the tendency of fascist nationalism to be orientated around the reestablishment of past national greatness. Arguably, though, fascist nationalism blends reactionary themes with progressive ones (linked, for example, to world domination). In answering this question, consider the following issues:
• Understanding of the progressive and reactionary political doctrines (AO1) • Analysis of the progressive features of nationalism (AO2) • Analysis of the reactionary features of nationalism (AO2)
• Evaluation of the significance of contrasting positions within nationalism (AO2)
- Does nationalism inevitably breed rivalry and conflict?
Nationalism has a variety of contrasting manifestations, some of which breed rivalry and conflict because of their tendency towards expansionism and destruction. Others, however, are dedicated, at least in theory, to peaceful co-existence and international understanding. The expansionist and destructive character of nationalism is evident in national chauvinism, a form of nationalism that emphasises the superiority or greatness of one nation over others. Chauvinism both stimulates and helps to legitimise expansion, conquest and empire, linking it to destruction. However, liberal nationalism and anti-colonial nationalism openly reject expansionism and destruction in this sense. Liberal nationalism, for example, holds that all nations are equally entitled to self-determination and implies that a world of sovereign nation-states would be ordered and peaceful as no nation would have an incentive to conquer and subordinate any other nation. In that sense, nationalism is not inherently expansionist or destructive. Some may argue, nevertheless, that since nationalism draws attention to divisions within humankind, it embodies a potential for expansionism and destruction whatever its theoretical character. There are two main perspectives on this question. Critics of nationalism often argue that its chief defect is that, in highlighting the differences between and amongst the peoples of the world, it inevitably breeds rivalry and conflict. In this view, the aggressive manifestations of nationalism found in its expansionist forms are merely the explicit face of features that are implicit in all forms of nationalism. On the other hand, liberal nationalist in particular argue that there are major differences between progressive and regressive forms of nationalism.
In this view, progressive nationalism id often associated with international cooperation and harmony, a world of independent nation-states being a recipe for peace not conflict. You need a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of breadth of nationalist traditions and of contrasting implications for rivalry and conflict. Sophisticated analysis of political information, arguments and explanations. Confident application of well-developed concepts and theories. Full and reliable evaluation of arguments in the light of the evidence available. Clear identification of parallel and connections or similarities and differences.
‘Nationalism looks to the past, not to the future.’ Discuss.
Nationalism has a complex political character. It has both progressive and reactionary characteristics, but these are emphasised to different degrees by different forms of nationalism.
It can be said that all forms of nationalism look to the past, rather than the future. This is because nations themselves are grounded in history, based on traditions, customs and established identities. In that sense, nationalism seeks to establish continuity with the past. However, such traditionalist and reactionary tendencies are most evident in conservative nationalism and in chauvinist or expansionist nationalism. Conservative nationalism is essentially nostalgic and backward-looking, providing a defence for traditional institutions and a traditional way of life. It often reflects on a past age of national glory or triumph. Similarly, it is often used to resist change, particularly to defend a sense of national identity that is felt to be threatened or in danger of being lost. This is evident in concerns about immigration and growing cultural diversity, as well as in trends towards supranationalism, as in the tendency of European integration to weaken British national identity. Expansionist nationalism is often overtly reactionary in drawing on myths of a past ‘golden age’ which exemplifies national glory or superiority. This is evident in fascist nationalism and the glorification of, for instance, Imperial Rome or the First or Second Reich.
However, other forms of nationalism look to the future rather than the past. Liberal nationalism, for instance, has often been associated with the quest for sovereign independence, involving either or both the overthrow of foreign domination and oppression and the establishment of self-government through constitutionalism and democracy. More widely, liberal nationalists have looked to the future in the sense that they have sought to forge a world of independent nation-states, thereby reordering international politics as well as domestic politics. Anti-colonial nationalism has a similarly progressive character in that it was typically characterised by quest for political independence and social development. Political independence involved the overthrow of colonial rule, while social development was often understood in terms of the collectivisation of wealth and the establishment of a rationally-based planning system. Other forms of nationalism can also be said to look to the future. For example, expansionist nationalism may draw inspiration from historical myths but it also has aspirations for the future, not least in terms of the creation of empires and even world domination. In some cases, the past and the future are brought together in myths about the cyclical regeneration of a particular nation.
‘Nationalism is inherently expansionist & destructive’. Discuss. Nat has a variety of contrasting manifestations some of which are clearly expansionist & destructive, while others are dedicated, at least in theory, to peaceful co existence & international understanding. The expansionist & destructive character of nationalism is evident in the national chauvinism, a form of nationalism that emphasis the superiority or greatness of one nation over others. Chauvinism both stimulates & helps legitimise expansion, conquest and empire, linking it to destruction. However LN & Anti-C openly reject expansionism & destruction in this sense. LN, for example, holds that all nations are entitled to self determination & implies that a world of sovereign nation states would be an ordered existence and peaceful as no nation would have an incentive to conquer & subordinate any other nation. Some may argue, nevertheless, that since Nat draws attention to divisions (& states that are contested) within humanity, it embodies a potential for expansionism & destruction whatever its theoretical character. Top marks = Full K&U of the different traditions, the significance of ‘inherently’ in the Q & full understanding of the contrasting character.
- To what extent is nationalism a single doctrine?
Nationalism is a single doctrine to the extent that all forms of nationalism treat the nation as the supreme principle of political organisation, nations being communities bound together by shared cultural characteristics such as a common language, religion, traditions and so on. However, in most other respects nationalism is characterised by significant divisions, making nationalism appear to be a collection of distinct, & in some respects, sharply conflicting traditions. Lib Nat is orientated around the goal of self determination and sovereign independence for all nations. nations being viewed as equal moral entities. This form of nationalism promises to deliver international peace & harmony and is compatible with cosmopolitanism and to some extent supranationalism. Con Nat stress the organic character of national identity, placing greater stress than LB Nats on national unity and cultural cohesion, even legitimising prejudice and perhaps harbouring implicit racism. This form of nationalism is essentially insular and implies that distrust and tension amongst nations is to some degree inevitable. Expansionist nat’s are characterised by chauvinism. The assertion of national superiority linked to myths of national greatness and plans for conquest and territorial expansion. This form of Nat clearly over laps with militarism & imperialism. Anti colonialism forms of nationalism have harnessed the liberal idea of independent sovereignty to the Marxist goal of social revolution. In post colonial countries, post colonialism have given way to non western or anti western creeds, most importantly associated with religious fundamentalism. You need the common features, the different approaches, an analysis of the differences