A nation is a stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, history, ethnicity, or psychological make-up manifested in a common culture.
A community is a social unit with commonality such as norms, religion, values, customs, or identity. Communities may share a sense of place situated in a given geographical area or in virtual space through communication platforms. Durable relations that extend beyond immediate genealogical ties also define a sense of community, important to their identity, practice, and roles in social institutions such as family, home, work, government, society, or humanity at large. Although communities are usually small relative to personal social ties, "community" may also refer to large group affiliations such as national communities, international communities, and virtual communities.
Culture is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior, and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities and habits of the individuals in these groups.
A nation is more overtly political than an ethnic group;it has been described as "a fully mobilized or institutionalized ethnic group". Some nations are ethnic groups (see ethnic nationalism) and some are not (see civic nationalism and multiculturalism).
An ethnic group or ethnicity is a category of people who identify with each other, usually on the basis of a presumed common genealogy or ancestry or on similarities such as common language or dialect, history, society, culture or nation. Ethnicity is often used synonymously with the term nation, particularly in cases of ethnic nationalism, and is separate from but related to the concept of races.
Ethnic nationalism, also known as ethnonationalism, is a form of nationalism wherein the nation is defined in terms of ethnicity.
Civic nationalism, also known as liberal nationalism, is a form of nationalism identified by political philosophers who believe in an inclusive form of nationalism that adheres with traditional liberal values of freedom, tolerance, equality, and individual rights.
It is a cultural-political community that has become conscious of its autonomy, unity, and particular interests.
Benedict Anderson has characterised a nation as an "imagined community"and Paul James sees it as an "abstract community". A nation is an imagined community in the sense that the material conditions exist for imagining extended and shared connections. It is an abstract community in the sense that it is objectively impersonal, even if each individual in the nation experiences him or herself as subjectively part of an embodied unity with others. For the most part, members of a nation remain strangers to each other and will likely never meet. Hence the phrase, "a nation of strangers" used by such writers as Vance Packard.
Benedict Richard O'Gorman Anderson was an Irish political scientist and historian, best known for his 1983 book Imagined Communities, which explored the origins of nationalism. Anderson was the Aaron L. Binenkorb Professor Emeritus of International Studies, Government & Asian Studies at Cornell University; he was a polyglot with an interest in southeast Asia. His work on the Cornell Paper, which debunked the official story of Indonesia's 30 September Movement and the subsequent anti-Communist purges of 1965–1966, led to his expulsion from that country. He was the brother of historian Perry Anderson.
Paul James, is Professor of Globalization and Cultural Diversity at Western Sydney University, and Director of the Institute for Culture and Society where he has been since 2014. He is a writer on global politics, globalization, sustainability, and social theory.
Vance Oakley Packard was an American journalist and social critic. He was the author of several books, including The Hidden Persuaders, and The Naked Society. He was a critic of consumerism.
The word nation came from the Old French word nacion – meaning "birth" (naissance), "place of origin" -, which in turn originates from the Latin word natio (nātĭō) literally meaning "birth".
Old French was the language spoken in Northern France from the 8th century to the 14th century. In the 14th century, these dialects came to be collectively known as the langue d'oïl, contrasting with the langue d'oc or Occitan language in the south of France. The mid-14th century is taken as the transitional period to Middle French, the language of the French Renaissance, specifically based on the dialect of the Île-de-France region.
Black's Law Dictionary defines a nation as follows:
Black's Law is the most widely used law dictionary in the United States. It was founded by Henry Campbell Black (1860–1927). It is the reference of choice for terms in legal briefs and court opinions and has been cited as a secondary legal authority in many U.S. Supreme Court cases.
nation, n. (14c) 1. A large group of people having a common origin, language, and tradition and usu. constituting a political entity. • When a nation is coincident with a state, the term nation-state is often used....
2. A community of people inhabiting a defined territory and organized under an independent government; a sovereign political state....
The word "nation" is sometimes used as synonym for:
Thus the phrase "nations of the world" could be referring to the top-level governments (as in the name for the United Nations), various large geographical territories, or various large ethnic groups of the planet.
Depending on the meaning of "nation" used, the term "nation state" could be used to distinguish larger states from small city states, or could be used to distinguish multinational states from those with a single ethnic group.
In her book Kingdoms and Communities in Western Europe 900–1300, Susan Reynolds argues that many European medieval kingdoms were nations in the modern sense except that political participation in nationalism was available only to a limited prosperous and literate class.In his book The Construction of Nationhood: Ethnicity, Religion and Nationalism, Adrian Hastings argues that England's Anglo Saxon kings mobilized mass nationalism in their struggle to repel Norse invasions. Hastings argues that Alfred the Great, in particular, drew on biblical nationalism, using biblical language in his law code and that during his reign selected books of the Bible were translated into Old English to inspire Englishmen to fight to turn back the Norse invaders. Hastings argues for a strong renewal of English nationalism (following a hiatus after the Norman conquest) beginning with the translation of the complete bible into English by the Wycliffe circle in the 1380s, arguing that English nationalism and the English nation have been continuous since that time.
Another prudent example of Medieval nationalism is the Declaration of Arbroath, a document produced by Scottish nobles and clergy during the Scottish Wars of Independence. The purpose of the document was to demonstrate to the Pope that Scotland was indeed a nation of its own, with its own unique culture, history and language and that it was indeed an older nation than England. The document went on to justify the actions of Robert the Bruce and his forces in resisting the occupation and to chastise the English for having violated Scottish sovereignty without justification. The propaganda campaign supplemented a military campaign on the part of the Bruce, which after the Battle of Bannockburn was successful and eventually resulted in the end of England's occupation and recognition of Scottish independence on the part of the English crown. The document is widely seen as an early example of both Scottish nationalism and popular sovereignty.
Anthony Kaldellis affirms in Hellenism in Byzantium (2008) that what is called the Byzantine Empire was the Roman Empire transformed into a nation-state in Middle Ages.
Azar Gat is among the scholars who argue that China, Korea and Japan were nations by the time of the European Middle Ages.
A significant early use of the term nation, as natio, occurred at Medieval universitiesto describe the colleagues in a college or students, above all at the University of Paris, who were all born within a pays, spoke the same language and expected to be ruled by their own familiar law. In 1383 and 1384, while studying theology at Paris, Jean Gerson was elected twice as a procurator for the French natio. The University of Prague adopted the division of students into nationes: from its opening in 1349 the studium generale which consisted of Bohemian, Bavarian, Saxon and Silesian nations.
In a similar way, the nationes were segregated by the Knights Hospitaller of Jerusalem, who maintained at Rhodes the hostels from which they took their name "where foreigners eat and have their places of meeting, each nation apart from the others, and a Knight has charge of each one of these hostels, and provides for the necessities of the inmates according to their religion", as the Spanish traveller Pedro Tafur noted in 1436.
In his article, "The Mosaic Moment: An Early Modernist Critique of the Modernist Theory of Nationalism", Philip S. Gorski argues that the first modern nation was the Dutch Republic, created by a fully modern political nationalism rooted in the model of biblical nationalism.In a 2013 article "Biblical nationalism and the sixteenth-century states", Diana Muir Appelbaum expands Gorski's argument to apply to a series of new, Protestant, sixteenth-century nation states. A similar, albeit broader, argument was made by Anthony D. Smith in his books, Chosen Peoples: Sacred Sources of National Identity and Myths and Memories of the Nation.
In her book Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity, Liah Greenfeld argued that nationalism was invented in England by 1600. According to Greenfeld, England was “the first nation in the world".
In the late 20th century, many social scientists argued that there were two types of nations, the civic nation of which France was the principal example and the ethnic nation exemplified by the German peoples. The German tradition was conceptualized as originating with early 19th-century philosophers, like Johann Gottlieb Fichte, and referred to people sharing a common language, religion, culture, history, and ethnic origins, that differentiate them from people of other nations.On the other hand, the civic nation was traced to the French Revolution and ideas deriving from 18th-century French philosophers. It was understood as being centered in a willingness to "live together", this producing a nation that results from an act of affirmation. This is the vision, among others, of Ernest Renan.
Present day analysis tend to be based in socio-historical studies about the building of national identity sentiments, trying to identify the individual and collective mechanisms, either conscient or non-conscient, intended or un-intended. According to some of these studies, it seems that the State often plays a significant role, and communications, particularly of economic content, also have a high significance.
There is an ongoing debate about the future of nations − about whether this framework will persist as is and whether there are viable or developing alternatives.
The theory of the clash of civilizations lies in direct contrast to cosmopolitan theories about an ever more-connected world that no longer requires nation states. According to political scientist Samuel P. Huntington, people's cultural and religious identities will be the primary source of conflict in the post–Cold War world.
The theory was originally formulated in a 1992 lectureat the American Enterprise Institute, which was then developed in a 1993 Foreign Affairs article titled "The Clash of Civilizations?", in response to Francis Fukuyama's 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man . Huntington later expanded his thesis in a 1996 book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.
Huntington began his thinking by surveying the diverse theories about the nature of global politics in the post–Cold War period. Some theorists and writers argued that human rights, liberal democracy and capitalist free market economics had become the only remaining ideological alternative for nations in the post–Cold War world. Specifically, Francis Fukuyama, in The End of History and the Last Man , argued that the world had reached a Hegelian "end of history".
Huntington believed that while the age of ideology had ended, the world had reverted only to a normal state of affairs characterized by cultural conflict. In his thesis, he argued that the primary axis of conflict in the future will be along cultural and religious lines. Postnationalism is the process or trend by which nation states and national identities lose their importance relative to supranational and global entities. Several factors contribute to its aspects including economic globalization, a rise in importance of multinational corporations, the internationalization of financial markets, the transfer of socio-political power from national authorities to supernational entities, such as multinational corporations, the United Nations and the European Union and the advent of new information and culture technologies such as the Internet. However attachment to citizenship and national identities often remains important.
Jan Zielonka of the University of Oxford states that "the future structure and exercise of political power will resemble the medieval model more than the Westphalian one" with the latter being about "concentration of power, sovereignty and clear-cut identity" and neo-medievalism meaning "overlapping authorities, divided sovereignty, multiple identities and governing institutions, and fuzzy borders".
A nation state is a state in which the great majority shares the same culture and is conscious of it. The nation state is an ideal in which cultural boundaries match up with political ones. According to one definition, "a nation state is a sovereign state of which most of its subjects are united also by factors which defined a nation such as language or common descent." It is a more precise concept than "country", since a country does not need to have a predominant ethnic group.
Nationalism is an ideology and movement characterized by the promotion of the interests of a particular nation,, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations, with the aim of gaining and maintaining the nation's sovereignty (self-governance) over its homeland. Nationalism holds that each nation should govern itself, free from outside interference (self-determination), that a nation is a natural and ideal basis for a polity, and that the nation is the only rightful source of political power. It further aims to build and maintain a single national identity—based on shared social characteristics such as culture, language, religion, politics, and belief in a shared singular history—and to promote national unity or solidarity. Nationalism, therefore, seeks to preserve and foster a nation's traditional culture, and cultural revivals have been associated with nationalist movements. It also encourages pride in national achievements, and is closely linked to patriotism. Nationalism is often combined with other ideologies, such as conservatism or socialism for example.
Patriotism or national pride is the feeling of love, devotion and sense of attachment to a homeland and alliance with other citizens who share the same sentiment. This attachment can be a combination of many different feelings relating to one's own homeland, including ethnic, cultural, political or historical aspects. It encompasses a set of concepts closely related to nationalism.
Nation-building is constructing or structuring a national identity using the power of the state. Nation-building aims at the unification of the people within the state so that it remains politically stable and viable in the long run. According to Harris Mylonas, "Legitimate authority in modern national states is connected to popular rule, to majorities. Nation-building is the process through which these majorities are constructed."
National identity is a person's identity or sense of belonging to one state or to one nation. It is the sense of a nation as a cohesive whole, as represented by distinctive traditions, culture, language and politics. National identity may refer to the subjective feeling one shares with a group of people about a nation, regardless of one's legal citizenship status. National identity is viewed in psychological terms as "an awareness of difference", a "feeling and recognition of 'we' and 'they'".
Historiography is the study of how history is written. One pervasive influence upon the writing of history has been nationalism, a set of beliefs about political legitimacy and cultural identity. Nationalism has provided a significant framework for historical writing in Europe and in those former colonies influenced by Europe since the nineteenth century. According to the medieval historian Patrick J. Geary:
[The] modern [study of] history was born in the nineteenth century, conceived and developed as an instrument of European nationalism. As a tool of nationalist ideology, the history of Europe's nations was a great success, but it has turned our understanding of the past into a toxic waste dump, filled with the poison of ethnic nationalism, and the poison has seeped deep into popular consciousness.
Liah Greenfeld, "the great historian of nationalism", is an Israeli-American Russian-Jewish interdisciplinary scholar engaged in the scientific explanation of human social reality on various levels, beginning with the individual mind and ending with the level of civilization. She has been called “the most iconoclastic” of contemporary sociologists and her approach represents the major alternative to the mainstream approaches in social science. Throughout her analyses, she emphasizes the empirical foundation of claims that she makes about human thought and action, underlining the importance of logical consistency between different sources of evidence as well as between the many interrelated hypotheses that come together to help us explain complex human phenomena. Because our thought and action are rarely limited to one, conveniently isolated sphere of human existence but rather occur within the context of more than one area of our reality at the same time Greenfeld highlights the fact that an empirical study of humanity must necessarily be interdisciplinary.
Anthony David Stephen Smith was a British historical sociologist who, at the time of his death, was Professor Emeritus of Nationalism and Ethnicity at the London School of Economics. He is considered one of the founders of the interdisciplinary field of nationalism studies.
Walker Connor was Distinguished Visiting Professor of Political Science at Middlebury College. Connor is best known for his work on nationalism, and is considered one of the founders of the interdisciplinary field of nationalism studies.
Postnationalism or non-nationalism is the process or trend by which nation states and national identities lose their importance relative to cross nation and self organized or supranational and global entities. Although postnationalism is not strictly considered the antonym of nationalism, the two terms and their associated assumptions are antithetic as postnationalism is an internationalistic process. There are several factors that contribute to aspects of postnationalism, including economic, political, and cultural elements. Increasing globalization of economic factors have shifted emphasis from national economies to global ones. At the same time, socio-political power is partially transferred from national authorities to supernational entities, such as multinational corporations, the United Nations, the European Union, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and NATO. In addition, media and entertainment industries are becoming increasingly global and facilitate the formation of trends and opinions on a supranational scale. Migration of individuals or groups between countries contributes to the formation of postnational identities and beliefs, even though attachment to citizenship and national identities often remains important.
Nationalism studies is an interdisciplinary academic field devoted to the study of nationalism and related issues. While nationalism has been the subject of scholarly discussion since at least the late eighteenth century, it is only since the early 1990s that it has received enough attention for a distinct field to emerge.
Many scholars argue that there is more than one type of nationalism. Nationalism may manifest itself as part of official state ideology or as a popular non-state movement and may be expressed along civic, ethnic, cultural, religious or ideological lines. These self-definitions of the nation are used to classify types of nationalism. However, such categories are not mutually exclusive and many nationalist movements combine some or all of these elements to varying degrees. Nationalist movements can also be classified by other criteria, such as scale and location.
John Hutchinson is a British academic. He is a reader in nationalism at the London School of Economics (LSE), in the Department of Government.
Ethnosymbolism is a school of thought in the study of nationalism that stresses the importance of symbols, myths, values and traditions in the formation and persistence of the modern nation state.
Engaged theory is a methodological framework for understanding social complexity. It takes social life or social relations as its base category, with 'the social' always understood as grounded in 'the natural', including humans as embodied beings. Engaged theory provides a framework that moves from detailed empirical analysis about things, people and processes in the world to abstract theory about the constitution and social framing of those things, people and processes.
Gerard Delanty is a British sociologist and Professor of Sociology and Social & Political Thought at the University of Sussex. He is also the editor of European Journal of Social Theory.
A nation is at once an objectively abstract society of strangers, usually connected by a state, and a subjectively embodied community whose members experience themselves as an integrated group of compatriots.
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