To what extent Nationalism can be identified as an ideology?

A dispute may rise from the very beginning of the story about nationalism, I. E. Its origin. Some scholars, like Anthony D. Smith, see nationalism as a perennial and natural phenomenon, dating back to the ancient nations of Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Greece, etc. (Smith, 2009). The other side of the argument is that nationalism began to emerge and be recognized as an ideology only after nationalist movements within the French Revolution and American Revolution in 18th -19th centuries.

The only fact that has been left more or less undeniable is the initial meaning or a term [from Latin nation means ‘belonging together by birth’, which is derived from masc. – to be born’ (Vincent, 2010)] that encourages the broad understanding of nationalism as a feel of community, unity and belonging to ‘me like’. Prior to the examination of the extent to which nationalism can be defined as an ideology, it has to be pointed out that the concept of ideology is as much complex and intricate as a concept of nationalism.

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Providing a description of social reality, ideologies embody a set of political ideas of how the social organization ought to be; but throughout the years it has been overloaded with a numerous variety of possible senses of an ‘ideal world’. Therefore, in order to assess nationalism from the respective of an ideology, it has to be taken into account that too many assumptions and interpretations already exist within the debate.

To simplify the analysis the essay will separate two main notions, where first will be concentrated on nationalism being a political doctrine or a natural belief; and second will express the view that nationalism is a political ideology, I. E. A set of ideas that inspire political activism and shape the political system. Until the French Revolution in the end of the eighteenth century, inhabitants of the country were taken as a “subjects” (Heywood, 2012), who were bounded more by misdoings, provinces or other territorial regions, rather then the nation.

However, the revolutionaries, being inspired by new notion of popular self-government, were standing on the side of the “French Nation” to be the “subject of the crown” (Heywood, 2012, p. 169). Even though during that time period the nationalist movements were highly restricted within the middle classes, its rise has been seen not only in France. Across the world from continental Europe to Latin America, multinational empires and territories under the colonial rule started to crack under the pressure of those who desired an independence of their own nation’.

B as so special about being separated from the other humankind’s that ACTA forced masses of people to fight for? How did people qualify themselves ‘did from those who could live right over the border? The Oxford Dictionary of English provides a definition of nation as “a large b people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting particular state or territory’ (Oxford dictionary, 2006, up. 1170).

So that Loki the perspective of primordial’s, all these defining factors are something t ‘given’ and stays unchanged throughout the time; and thus suggesting anti be considered as a doctrine rather than a political ideology. For example, SSH history subconsciously bounds people, as they know that they have gone the together and what their ancestry have done in order to have what they cur have. This is certainly the case in the modern world, when the whole nation remembering the nationalist glories, sincerely celebrates the significant mil victories or national independence.

Such events are usually full of patriotic which are visualized in flags, national anthems and public ceremonies. Sharing traditions and collective memories through myths, tails, lyrics, cloth cuisine and so on is another way to feel the unity; this is a unique identity t room generations to next generations in order to save its nation’s exclusive characteristics. Although cultural nationalism may be seen as an anti-mode element, in fact it is what saves nation in the modern globalizes world.

Eve Gibbering argues that compared to the traditional ideologies like Marxism liberalism that “requires the indoctrination of their followers”, cultural nation embodies the emotional attachment to one’s land or culture (Gibbering, 19 natural and intuitive feeling that people experience when sharing their me beliefs, builds the future of the strong solid nation; the tightest the relation thin the community, the more mutual welfare can be gained for the whole Language is considered to be another significant symbol of innate national Anderson states that nation is an ‘imagined community, because its member unknown to each other” (Anderson, 1983, p. 32), he also stresses on the IM of language in constructing and sustaining the nationhood and passing a c privacy to it. For example, despite the fact that historically Ukraine has been experiencing the lack of the independent statehood, national spirit has bee resisting the external political and cultural influence till recent days (Smith, Through folklore songs, itinerant musicians and poets the language has be preserved as a cultural identity that features Ukrainians from Russians, Poll Bulgarians and other members of East Slavic subgroup. Yet, one could rag citizens of America, England and New Zealand speak the same language, buy never will be considered to be one nation.

Or Switzerland, where French, G and Italian languages are spoken across the state, still has “enjoyed a subset measure of national unity’ (Heywood, 2012, p. 173). Therefore, it comes to the point when the definition of a nation becomes contradicted to itself. There is no such a state that could possess the unity of the people by all the components simultaneously, I. E. Culture, language, traditions, ethnicity, history, religion and a geographic territory. Such combination varies from case to case. Thus, nationalism, which promotes the idea of nation to be the natural center of the political organization, becomes more as an emotional and psychological factor.

Due to this factor, it can be recognized as a political doctrine, rather than to be a strictly stated or distinct political ideology. Another side to nationalism is when the love of the country transforms into the hate or all the other nations. Firstly, it seems natural for one to support and cheer for his national team when watching the Olympic games and at the same time have a harmless desire for the competitor to lose. Or for athletes to do their best seeing the only goal – to win and glorify their country. It is true that within the competition, both competitors and fans might experience hate or aggression, but it would never be to the same extent as nationalism may reach in this field.

Patriotic extremism may result in chauvinism (belligerent faith in national superiority), xenophobia (a fear of foreigners), conflicts and wars. Therefore, mass aggression can become a powerful tool that the state or its leader uses against its enemies or in favor of other self- interests. Most of the examples of such exaggerated nationalism were seen in 20th century Italy under Mussolini, Hitter’s Nazi Germany, through militarism in Japan, fascism in Spain and in some East European states (Barbuda, 2012). Nevertheless, a large number of activists supported such extreme ideas, despite severe measures. The propaganda of the legitimacy of the rule of German Nation over the other nations went to far.

The estimated number of Jewish people that were killed during the Holocaust is 4. To 6. 0 million and another 5-6 million of non-Jewish, I. E. Gypsies, East Europe civilians, disabled people, I. E. Everyone who, according to Hitler, were a threat for purity and strength of Aryan race (Holocaust-history, 2000). An idea to be a strong and successful unity in peaceful manner wasn’t the target. Far-right nationalism was used by Hitler to materialize his own dreams of the German Nation to dominate the world, which then resulted in the World War II. Another example of a dualistic feature of nationalism is argued to be movements for independence within colonies.

On the one hand, anti-colonial revolutions were presenting the desire of people for self-determination and freedom from the Mother country. In some cases, like Canada, Australia and New Zealand the transition towards the self-government went more or less smoothly, due to the British dominance and voluntary association in the Commonwealth of Nations. However the process of decentralization in Africa was accompanied by a number of uprisings and civil wars. This is due to the fact that during the nineteenth century “Scramble for Africa”, rival powers like Britain, Portugal and France, were simply drawing a straight line on the map, not caring about the consequences (Drove Poignant, 2003).

New territorial borders of colonies were set without a specific geographic or ethnic logic. Consequently, when the colonial system collapsed, newly establishing states faced the problem of religious, race, ethnic and other diversities. Nationalism was used as an ideology in order to unite the masses, bring people together and fight for independence, take part in liberationists movements and get the right for self-determination. The period of decentralization, industrialization and modernization all together have favored a lot to the establishment of new states around the world, which accepted the nation to become the only legitimate unit of lattice rule. That was the time when the term ‘nation-state’ started to gain its significance.

Gibbering, believes that “the political character of nationalism as an ideology defending the notion that state and the nation should be congruent” (Gibbering, 1996, p. 3). However, there is still a formal distinction between nation and nation- state. While nation represents the collaboration of people according to their ‘natural’ characteristics, nation-state is viewed more as a political association that possesses both cultural and political unity. Moreover, one of the most important features of the action-state is the existence of a link between sovereign people that forms the nation and the territory, since, as Hobnail argues “the structure and definition of states [are] now essentially territorial” (Hobbies, 1992, p. 9). Therefore, nations seem to evolve and adjust to modern society, where a state boundary plays a more important role than organic unity. A good example of civic or liberal nationalism is currently found in the United States. Historically it has been built on the base of immigrants and colonies with all sorts of race and religions, however all of them had a shared belief. The nation was noninsured to be a unity in the name of common goals, I. E. Equal rights, freedom of speech, liberty, gender equality and racial equality. Some people from different parts of the world could find more support and protection in the US, than in their native land.

The Thanksgiving Day annual celebration, which is supported by all ethnic groups, serves as a symbol of America being a haven for immigrants with different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Currently, the American sense of nationalism advocates as an ideology that is taught in schools, enshrined in the Constitution and strongly promoted under the status of democratic regime. Such approach to nationalism though, suggests that it serves as a significant ‘hand- made’ political instrument, used to insensibly manipulate people under the slogan ‘do the best for your nation’. Even though, civic nationalism promotes the voluntary joining of the political community and a notion popular self-government, it has an almost inconspicuous sign of control from ‘above’.

For instance, Hobnail believes that the concept of nation and nationalism has been artificially invented for the government’s self-interest. He stresses the attention to the nationalistic symbolic, like lags, anthems, which are supposed to be long established, in fact are considered to be a modern phenomenon in most countries. This is “designed to bring together large a number of people into a new kind of consciousness and collective identity for securing cohesion, legitimizing authority etc. ” (Hobnail, 1992, p. 30). How? Mass media, fashion and other modern advertisement techniques may be used as mass propaganda for national superiority that teaches people from an early age to protect its nation whatever happens.

Another method is education, which Giggler sees to be a part of nationalist ideology hat “provides the opportunity for people to participate in the economic and social life of the national society in which they reside” (Day and Thompson, 2004, p. 10). Nevertheless, the education system has to be approved by the government that may have its own self-interests and ‘norm’ of beliefs for what society should believe in. It is strongly seen in the case of totalitarian regimes, but even in democratic states it is certainly the case, but less extreme. Therefore, an interpretation of nationalism as a natural phenomenon is then considered to be wrong. Bilabial introduces the term fictive ethnicity’, which he applied to the community instituted by the nation-state (Bilabial and Weltering, 1991).

He argues that “the supply of security and protection of the nation is accompanied with extensive education, interfering into the private life, thus leading people to reproduce the nationalistic identity and origins that they have created by themselves” (Day and Thompson, 2004, p. 32). Additionally, following the modernist approach, national identity seems to loose its naturalness. The process of industrialization and modernization led the state to determine the culture and daily life of its inhabitants. The contrast between countries is strengthening within the international arena, whereas citizens of a single nation-state become more homogeneous. Identity cards and passports create the impression of national identity to be defined strictly according to the territory boundaries, drawn by the State.

The document possesses more value than the emotion of a belief in belonging to the nation, and as Giggler states, “men do not become nationalists from sentiment or sentimentality they become nationalists through genuine, objective, practical necessity, however obscurely recognized (Day ND Thompson, 2004, p. 1 1). Overall, nationalism is seen as one of the most contradicting and challenging doctrines among core political and social beliefs. Nationalism takes a large variety of forms, as well as practiced independently and used as a political tool for many purposes. But still, it certainly played a significant role during the past two centuries.

Peter Alter describes nationalism as “a political force, which has been more important in shaping the history of the world than the ideas of freedom, parliamentary democracy and communism” (Alert, 1994, p. L). Despite its importance, he argument on whether nationalism can be considered as an ideology hasn’t seen its end yet. Some scholars claim nationalism to be a distinct ideology; others believe that “it fails to meet the criteria of comprehensive ideology’ (Freedmen, 1998), others see nationalism as a part of most of the core ideologies like conservatism and socialism. But, in all fairness, it all comes down to the method of exploiting the nationalist idea of unity, shared values and beliefs.

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To what extent Nationalism can be identified as an ideology?. (2018, Jan 17). Retrieved from