What is Nationalism | Importance of Nationalism | Examples of Nationalisms in History
What is Nationalism?
Nationalism is an ideology and movement that maintains that the nation and the state should be compatible.
Nationalism as a movement tends to advance the interests of a particular nation (as in a group of people), particularly to establish and preserve the nation’s sovereignty (self-government) over its homeland.
Nationalism maintains that each nation should govern itself (self-determination), that a nation is a natural and ideal foundation for a polity, and that the nation is the sole legitimate source of political authority.
Additionally, it aims to establish and maintain a unified national identity based on shared social characteristics such as culture, ethnicity, geographic location, language, politics (or government), religion, traditions, and belief in a common singular history, as well as to promote national unity or solidarity.
Nationalism is concerned with preserving and promoting a country’s traditional cultures, and cultural revivals have historically been associated with nationalist movements.
Additionally, it fosters pride in national accomplishments and is inextricably related to patriotism.
Nationalism is compatible with a variety of political objectives and ideologies, including conservatism (national conservatism) and socialism (left-wing nationalism)
Different Types of Nationalism
Numerous scholars claim that there are multiple varieties of nationalism. Nationalism can take the form of an official state ideology or a popular non-state movement, and it can be represented along civic, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, religious, or ideological lines.
These self-definitions of the nation serve as a basis for categorizing various forms of nationalism. However, these classifications are not mutually exclusive, and numerous nationalist movements incorporate some or all of these elements to varying degrees.
Other criteria, such as scale and location, can classify nationalist movements.
According to certain political theorists, any distinction between kinds of nationalism is erroneous. In all forms of nationalism, the populace believes in the existence of a shared culture.
A primary reason for such a typology being deemed false is that it attempts to bend the relatively simple concept of nationalism to account for its numerous manifestations or interpretations.
Possibly, all forms of nationalism simply allude to the various ways in which academics have attempted to define nationalism over the years.
This school of thinking recognizes that nationalism is merely a desire for self-determination on the part of a nation.
Ethnic nationalism identifies the nation in terms of ethnicity, which must always include an element of ancestry, i.e., genophilia.
Additionally, it encompasses shared cultural ideas between group members and their forefathers and a common language.
The nation’s membership is hereditary. The state derives political legitimacy from its status as the ethnic group’s homeland and its obligation to collectively protect and facilitate the partially national group’s family and social life.
Although concepts of ethnicity are ancient, modern ethnic nationalism was heavily influenced by Johann Gottfried von Herder, who popularized the Volk concept, and Johann Gottlieb Fichte.
Theorist Anthony D. Smith coined the phrase ‘ethnic nationalism’ to refer to non-Western conceptions of nationalism in contrast to Western ideas of a nation defined by its geographical boundaries.
The term “ethnonationalism” is normally reserved for nationalists who embrace an explicit ideology along these lines; the more generic phrase “ethnic nationalism” refers to nationalists who hold these beliefs in an informal, instinctive, or unsystematic manner.
Both terms are derogatory, while “tribal nationalism” can positively connotate African, Native American, or other nationalisms that publicly assert a tribal identity.
Expansionist nationalism is a militant form of nationalism or ethnic nationalism (ethnonationalism) that combines autonomous, enhanced ethnic consciousness and patriotic sentiments with atavistic fears and hatreds directed at “other” or foreign peoples, framing a belief in territorial expansion or recovery through militaristic means.
Romantic nationalism often called organic nationalism or identity nationalism, is a form of ethnic nationalism. The state derives political legitimacy as a natural or “organic” consequence and the manifestation of the nation, race, or ethnicity.
It mirrored Romantic aspirations and stood in opposition to Enlightenment rationalism. Romantic nationalism placed a premium on past ethnic cultures that adhered to the Romantic Ideal; folklore originated as a romantic nationalist notion.
The Brothers Grimm were inspired by Herder’s works to produce an idealized collection of tales they dubbed ethno-German. Jules Michelet epitomizes the romantic-nationalist history of France.
Cultural nationalism conceptualizes the nation as a collection of shared cultures. Membership in a nation (the status of being a member) is neither wholly voluntary nor entirely hereditary.
However, traditional culture can be more easily integrated into an individual’s life, particularly if the individual is permitted to acquire the necessary abilities early.
Cultural nationalism has been defined as a kind of nationalism that is neither civic nor exclusively ethnic.
Corsican nationalists occasionally spray or shot at traffic signs, obliterating the French translations of names.
Religious nationalism refers to nationalism’s association with a certain religious belief, church, or allegiance.
This relationship can be divided into two categories: the politicization of religion and religion’s influence on politics. In the former case, a common religion might be perceived as contributing to a sense of national unity; a shared link between the nation’s citizens.
Another political dimension of religion is promoting national identity, comparable to shared ethnic origins, language, or culture.
Religion’s influence on politics is more ideological in that contemporary interpretations of religious concepts motivate political involvement and action; for example, laws are created to promote stricter religious observance.
After World War II’s decolonization process, there has been a growth in Third World nationalism.
Third-world nationalism exist in conquered and exploited nations. These nations’ nationalisms were created in a furnace where survival necessitated opposition to colonial oppression.
As such, resistance is inextricably linked to such nationalisms, and their very existence is an act of defiance against imperialist incursions.
Third World nationalism seeks to ensure that Third World peoples’ identities are predominantly authored by themselves, not by colonial powers.
Civic nationalism is a form of nationalism in which the state derives political legitimacy from the active engagement of its citizens, from the extent to which the state reflects the “will of the people.”
Civic nationalism is rooted in the traditions of rationality and liberalism, although it is distinguished from ethnic nationalism as a sort of nationalism. Membership in the civic nation is a voluntary commitment.
In countries such as the United States and France, civic-national principles inspired the formation of representative democracy.
State nationalism is a kind of civic nationalism that is sometimes (though not always) associated with ethnic nationalism. This suggests that the nation is a community of individuals who contribute to the state’s maintenance and strength and that the individual exists to do so. I
Liberal nationalism is a brand of nationalism that has recently been defended by political theorists who feel that a non-xenophobic brand of nationalism is consistent with liberal principles such as liberty, tolerance, equality, and individual rights.
Revolutionary nationalism is a wide term that refers to a variety of various nationalist political movements that seek to achieve their objectives by revolt against the established order.
National conservatism is a subset of conservatism that is prevalent in Europe and Asia. It emphasizes the preservation of national and cultural identity, frequently combining this concern with conservative attitudes favoring traditional values.
Given the three varieties’ emphasis on preservation and tradition, it shares similarities with traditionalist conservatism and social conservatism.
While national conservatism is concerned with safeguarding national interests, traditional conservatism is concerned with preserving ancestral institutions.
Additionally, social conservatism places a premium on a patriarchal, restricting attitude toward moral behavior in order to maintain one’s established social rank.
Numerous nationalist organizations throughout the world are dedicated to national liberation, believing that their nations are being persecuted by other nations and hence want self-determination through liberation from the alleged persecutors.
Anti-revisionist Marxism–Leninism is inextricably linked to this ideology, as demonstrated by Stalin’s early work Marxism and the National Question and his Socialism in One Country edict, which asserts that nationalism may be utilized in an internationalist setting.
Left-wing nationalism, or socialist nationalism on occasion, refers to any political movement that blends left-wing politics or socialism with nationalism.
Notable examples include Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement, which kicked off the Cuban Revolution in 1959 by deposing the American-backed Fulgencio Batista.
Importance of Nationalism: Reasons as to Why Nationalism is Important.
- Nationalism preserves and promotes Culture and Traditions
Nationalism is concerned with preserving and promoting a country’s traditional cultures, and cultural revivals have historically been associated with nationalist movements.
Additionally, it fosters pride in national accomplishments and relates to patriotism.
- Nationalism provides a sense of belonging.
It can be viewed as a necessary factor in establishing a strong and unique identity that is relevant to each nationality.
Identity factors can be critical, especially when the nation faces hard times (such as wars, natural disasters, or economic or health crises).
- Nationalism is an aspect of civic-mindedness.
Proponents of nationalism argue that it helps promote positive collective behavior. People with a sense of belonging are more prone to investing their time and money in productive activities for the public good.
- Nationalism can prevent the formation of oppressive central government
Nationalism is often viewed as a counterbalance to the formation of an oppressive state government. Proponents argue that it helps promote patriotism, motivating people to monitor their country’s actions and preventing political corruption and/or other abuses.
- Nationalism can help promote national identity in a globalized world
In a highly interconnected world, where ideas and information are transmitted across countries instantly, each country must have a unique identity. Such an identity can be fostered from the local and national levels.
- Nationalism is a rallying point for political discourse and activity
The debate of whether or not to be nationally involved politically is considered a valid question of debate to have within any country.
The debate can be considered a discussion in which people discuss why nationalism is important to them and their role within their own country.
However, it can also become an argument of political disagreement as people decide whether or not their country is appropriate for being involved in the international scene.
- Nationalism separates countries from other states.
It can be stated that nationalism aims to separate countries from other states and create a strong national identity within colonies and even when independent. Nationalism is meant to unite people by creating a sense of community.
- Nationalism helps unify formerly fragmented societies such as post-colonial countries.
Nationalism can be created, changed, or even destroyed depending on the current political climate of any country.
This is because national identity can often change over time since circumstances (for example, in the form of wars) change over time and require new kinds of unity within a people.
National unity can be questioned by local and/or global concerns, such as international economy and politics.
- Nationalism promotes a sense of belonging and belief in a country’s character and capabilities.
Nationalism promotes the idea (or sometimes the belief) that people have the right (or even obligation) to speak for themselves.
Proponents argue that countries must promote such cultures, values, and traditions when there are threats from starvation (and poor economy).
- Nationalism can prevent government-based oppression.
Proponents of nationalism argue that it helps prevent governments from gaining too much power over their people.
They argue that the government is there to serve its people, and its nationalism helps prevent it from abusing its power over its own people.
- Nationalism is an important aspect of international relations; it demonstrates the existence of nations.
Nationalism can also be considered an aspect of international relations since it demonstrates to other countries that people within a state unite under a common identity.
Many cases of international cooperation have occurred due to shared nationalistic ideas among states.
- Nationalism can promote positive nationalism within a country
Nationalism can be claimed to be a necessary aspect in developing a nation-based identity. This is most importantly prominent in developing countries where they may be left without their own identity or people who identify themselves as such (for example, from the motherland).
Proponents argue that it promotes positive nationalism since it allows people to connect and work together towards their collective goals. It fosters stronger ties among people than those who lack common cultures, values, and traditions.
- Nationalism creates a sense of equality among the people
Nationalism can promote equality between people of different ethnic backgrounds, diverse cultures, and different socio-economic statuses.
They promote an equal common identity among all of the nation’s people based on them being a part of that nation.
- Nationalism creates a sense of unity within the country.
Proponents of nationalism argue that it creates a sense of unity within the country and amongst its people. It can be argued that this is necessary for countries to promote healthy development, especially under harsh conditions (for example facing war or a devastating natural disaster). Such national unity can be very beneficial to people’s well-being.
- Nationalism encourages people to be civic-minded.
Civic-minded people demonstrate more interest in helping people and the community in question.
Proponents of nationalism argue that it is a necessary aspect of patriotic behavior (as demonstrated above) that requires such civic-mindedness from people.
- Nationalism makes patriotism an important aspect of national identity
Nationalism promotes patriotism by uniting people within the same state and nation so that they can work to construct their own country on a large scale.
It creates a sense of love and belonging to their country, which requires a sense of loyalty and patriotism.
- Nationalism promotes the idea that each state has its own government
Nationalism can be argued to promote the idea that each state has its own government. Proponents argue that states must have their own governments to remain sovereign over their land and resources.
The most important benefit is that it allows states to express themselves politically through their own government, which often results in better politics and policies.
- Nationalism can prevent the mistakes of the motherland from affecting the state.
Another positive aspect of nationalism is that it can prevent the mistakes of the motherland from affecting another state. This is especially prominent among countries that are once belonging to each other.
For example, breaking away from another country (for example, the former USSR) allows countries to distance themselves from such political and economic problems or mistakes made by their previous government. This also includes countries that were colonies.
- Nationalism encourages equality between rich and poor
Nationalism can be argued to promote equality between rich and poor (even though there are some drawbacks).
This is especially prominent in developing countries where countries attempt to gain independence, reach a higher standard of living, and/or develop their own identity.
Modernization can set people apart from one another since it encourages the development of a new middle class or even wealthy upper class, creating inequality amongst the population.
- Nationalism is a necessary aspect of modern political culture
Proponents of nationalism argue that it is a necessary aspect of modern political culture by promoting national identity, pride, and patriotism.
Modernism can also be promoted through the means and goals of nationalism (such as forming nations by one’s own state to provide its people with greater liberty and pride).
- Nationalism fosters positive international relations by promoting cooperation among nations.
Proponents argue that it facilitates international cooperation through the promotion of nationalistic ideals among nations. It can be argued that this is necessary to gain mutual understanding and cooperation between states worldwide.
- Nationalism can improve international relations by promoting peace
Nationalism can be argued to promote peace since it promotes the self-regulation of states that prevent them from engaging in violent conflicts with other countries.
It also encourages mutual respect for other countries, which is encouraged by its peaceful ideals. It can be claimed because nationalism is based on the idea of a nation, it promotes the peaceful intentions of groups within a state, including ethnic groups.