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PS1101


                Introduction to Political Science
                        2008/2009 Semester 1
                  ...
Nationalism has attracted much controversy as a defining term, due to the difficulty in

objectively determining it as a c...
An ethnic group is defined as those who share a common culture and historical

identity, thus united by such emotional bon...
favours the majority and discriminates others, leads to the loss of confidence in the state‟s

institutions by the minorit...
group rising up in control of the state.14 This would prove to be advantageous in a

multicultural state in the creation o...
demands if their sense of own identity is being imposed upon. Thus, there is no standard,

one-size-fits-all solution to t...
I thus restate my theme in which I seek to assert the mutual exclusion between

nationalism in a multicultural society and...
Bibliography


Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. New York: Verso, 1983.

Armes, Keith; Martin, Kate; Mesner, Maria...
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Nationalism is exclusionary by definition

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Transcript of "Nationalism is exclusionary by definition"

  1. 1. PS1101 Introduction to Political Science 2008/2009 Semester 1 Tutor: Dr. Reuben Wong Nationalism is exclusionary by definition. Compare the positive and negative effects of nationalism within a multicultural/multiethnic society. Discuss the problems that a multicultural society poses to the formation of a national identity and why you do or do not believe that nationalism is compatible with the liberal state‟s emphasis upon individual rights and freedoms. Page | 1
  2. 2. Nationalism has attracted much controversy as a defining term, due to the difficulty in objectively determining it as a concept. This is due to the different perceptions by various group identities on what they perceive as a nation. According to Heywood, Nationalism is regarded as an ideology that puts the nation as the central pillar that holds up a political organization, although it is subject to differing goals.1 The definition, thus, is subjective as it places emphasis on promotion of culture and/or interests by its members as opposed to other nations or supranational groups. Thus, it could be regarded as exclusionary in such terms. However, I propose to qualify the statement, as I argue that Nationalism is not conclusively exclusionary, due to another factor: The key difference of nationalism between that of cultural and political communities. Cultural nationalism is exclusionary in the sense that it subscribes to the membership of ethnic identity which is inherited, such that of being German or Irish, thus excluding other ethnic groups.2 Political nationalism, on the other hand, looks toward ideals of shared citizenship and civic loyalties of an “Imagined community”3 , building upon a focus on popular sovereignty and general will, doctrines which originated from the French Revolution 1789, and which is apparent in the constitution of nations such as United States and France. This seems to suggest an inclusionary stance of a common acceptance of principles and goals for members within the state itself, no matter the cultural identity, thus not restricting membership. In practice however, ideals are difficult to achieve. Thus, I seek to argue the increasing mutual exclusion between formation of national identity in a multicultural society, with that of the liberal ideals of freedom and rights. 1 Andrew Heywood, Politics: Third Edition (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), p110. 2 Stephen Iwan Griffiths, Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), pp12-13 3 Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (New York: Verso, 1983) Page | 2
  3. 3. An ethnic group is defined as those who share a common culture and historical identity, thus united by such emotional bonds.4 This would thus pose a risk if certain types of nationalism are developed in such a multiethnic society, one of them being ethnic nationalism. A situation where a multiethnic state derives its legitimacy as a homeland for the dominant ethnic group would provide various avenues for conflict, due to the fundamental incompatibility between such nationalism and multiethnic community building5 .The idea of Staatsvolk, where a particular ethnic group constitutes the bulk of the elite and dominates the interest of a state,6 would create a somewhat ethnocentric belittling of minority ethnic groups. This certain hegemony, if imposed upon as a formation of a “national identity” according to their ethnocentric terms, would lead to the threatening of the minority‟s existence, pushing them to resorting to conflict if left unabated.7 Examples abound in the international context, with the current sub-state nationalism issue of Basque nationalist terrorist group ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna) demanding self-determination from Spain via violent means, and also the terrorist LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) in Sri Lanka, a classic example of ethnocentricity gone violent. The Official Language Act of Sinhala- Only 1956 was widely regarded as a goal to enhance the socioeconomic possibilities of the Sinhalese majority vis-à- vis the deprivation of minorities, especially the Tamils.8 That precipitated into the 1983 riots targeted at Tamils, leading to the struggle for a separate Tamil state, with so far 70,000 deaths.9 This type of ethnocentrism of “Tyranny of the Majority”, where politics blatantly 4 ‘Capotorti Report’. U.N. Document E/CN 4 (Sub. 2/L. 564, June 19, 1972, cited in Uri Ra’anan, Maria Mesner, Keith Armes and Kate Martin, State and Nation in Multi-ethnic Societies (Oxford: Manchester University Press, 1991) p 79. 5 Etienne Balibar and Immanuel Wallerstein, Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities. Translated by Chris Turner (New York: Verso, 1991) 6 Ra’anen, Mesner, Armes, Martin, State and Nation in Multi-ethnic Societies, pp. 7-9 7 Robert Hudson and Fred Reno, Migrants and Minorities in Multicultural States (London: Macmillan Press, 2000) Intro. 8 Neil Devotta, Blowback: Linguistic Nationalism Institutional Decay and Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka (California: Stanford University Press, 2004) pp73-91 9 Ibid., p.157-62 Page | 3
  4. 4. favours the majority and discriminates others, leads to the loss of confidence in the state‟s institutions by the minority.10 Another negative manifestation of such could be expansionist nationalism, where exaggerated ideals of national prestige or ethnic or social superiority11 would prove to be disastrous in a multiethnic society. The myth of a past glory of an expanded Reich resulted in the precipitation of Nazism and consequent anti-Semitic persecution of Jews during Hitler‟s reign. In a more contemporary context, the ethnic conflict in the Balkan States, predominantly in former Yugoslavia, led to atrocities of ethnic cleansing by Serbians over Bosnian and Croats due to their views on creating an expansionist Greater Serbia.12 Why did it happen? If traced back in history, it could be pointed out that the lumping of a dozen major ethnic groups as a “Land of Slavs” during the Versailles Treaty could be a myopic view of the actual realities of differences between the “Slavs” and could be seen as a reason for precipitation of Serbian “superiority”. This could also relate as being one of the problems in creating a national identity, in which the imposition of it in a multiethnic state could lead to its eventual break-up. There are however, also some positive effects of nationalism, in the form of civic nationalism. Such a form is based on a common citizenship according to united set of political values, rather than culture.13 Such is seen as a direct contrast to ethnic nationalism, in which civic membership is voluntary and which influenced and facilitated the creation of representative governments of America and France. With such, it creates a common perception of the legitimacy of a state without much likelihood of a single dominant ethnic 10 Samuel P. Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968) p.191 11 Heywood, Politics: Third Edition, p.119-21 12 Iwan Griffiths, Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict, p.38-42 13 David Brown, Contemporary Nationalism: Civic, Ethnocultural and Multicultural Politics (London : Routledge, 2000) p.52 Page | 4
  5. 5. group rising up in control of the state.14 This would prove to be advantageous in a multicultural state in the creation of a shared ideology, thus eliminating conflict and also presenting avenues in social mobility for people of differing backgrounds to pass on the basis of individual achievement. The Swiss principle of neutrality and co-existence as a basis for nationalistic ideals could be a useful case study of an ideal example of positive results of consensual multiethnicity. Swiss political terminology of Konkordanz (consociation), recognition and cohabitation of the German, Italian, French and Romansh groups, is an ideal example of proportionality, where differences are settled via compromise and not the imposition of majority determination.15 The protection of minorities is apparent in the recognition of Rhaeto-Romansch, spoken by only 0.9% of the population, as the 4th national language16. Over the course of history, states have often resorted to collective identity tools of state in consolidation of power17. However, the identity tools vary in the sense that different created national identities exist, with widely differentiated cultural and civil components18, proving to be even so more difficult in a multicultural society. National identity, if espoused as a universal form across a multicultural state, as often advocated by some liberal nationalists, would only serve to be a highly romanticized and myopic view of the inherent nationalist aspects of different ethnic groups19, and could even drive them to secessionist 14 Sandra F. Joireman, Nationalism and Political Identity (New York: Continuum, 2003) p.50 15 Theodor Hanf, Reducing of Conflict Through Cultural Autonomy: Karl Renner’s Contribution in Ra’anen, Mesner, Armes, Martin, State and Nation in Multi-ethnic Societies pp.41-42 16 Kurt R. Spillmann, Ethnic Coexistence and Cooperation in Switzerland, in Andreas Klinke, Ortwin Renn and Jean-Paul Lehners, Ethnic Conflicts and Civil Society: Proposals for a New Era in Eastern Europe (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1997) p.212 17 Hubert Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow , Michel Foucault, The Subject and Power : Afterward to Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983) 18 M. Lane Brumer, Strategies of Remembrance: The Rhetorical Dimensions of National Identity Construction (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2002) pp.1-6 19 Heywood, Politics: Third Edition, p.116-117 Page | 5
  6. 6. demands if their sense of own identity is being imposed upon. Thus, there is no standard, one-size-fits-all solution to the subjective issue of such creation of national identity. I argue that Nationalism is mutually exclusive with the liberal state‟s individual rights and freedoms due to a few concerns. The idea that liberalism looks beyond identity politics as a collective20, thus places a strong emphasis on human equality of rights and an ethos of universalism. Thus, Liberalism looks beyond the nation in the sense of the belief of a right to violate the national sovereignty of a state if human rights are abused21. Examples of such could be seen in the pressure on white South African nationalism to discard their policy of apartheid through U.N. sanctions and economic boycotts in 1970s and 80s. Nationalism in a multicultural society poses an even bigger obstacle to liberal ideals on the issue of tolerance. Tolerance in practising one‟s culture is advocated, thus amplifying the minority‟s belief in their own practices.22 However, herein lies the discourse: What if such cultural belief compromises the fundamental aspect of human rights itself? (eg. customs of arranged/forced marriages). The liberal state also views nationalism as “liberating”. 23. However, their views of nationalism do not take into account those of “expansionist and integral”, where the power of such emotions can commit individuals to a collective movement in fighting for their nationalist cause no matter the morality (Nazism), especially if there are cultural aliens in their own state. Such incompatibility thus undermines the rights of the individuals of the ethnic group regarded as the „other‟, who are subject to subjugation or even atrocities. 20 Ibid., 21 Andrew Vincent, Nationalism and Particularity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002) pp.6-87 22 Heywood, Politics: Third Edition, p.215 23 Ibid., Page | 6
  7. 7. I thus restate my theme in which I seek to assert the mutual exclusion between nationalism in a multicultural society and the liberal state‟s emphasis on human rights and freedom, and also propose to qualify the statement in which I argue that nationalism is not fully exclusionary by definition, with my abovementioned arguments. Page | 7
  8. 8. Bibliography Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. New York: Verso, 1983. Armes, Keith; Martin, Kate; Mesner, Maria and Ra‟anan, Uri. State and Nation in Multi- ethnic Societies. Oxford: Manchester University Press, 1991. Balibar, Etienne and Wallerstein, Immanuel. Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities. Translated by Chris Turner. New York: Verso, 1991. Brown, David. Contemporary Nationalism: Civic, Ethnocultural and Multicultural Politics. London : Routledge, 2000 Brumer, M. Lane. Strategies of Remembrance: The Rhetorical Dimensions of National Identity Construction. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2002. Devotta, Neil. Blowback: Linguistic Nationalism Institutional Decay and Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka. California: Stanford University Press, 2004. Dreyfus, Hubert and Rabinow, Paul. Michel Foucault, The Subject and Power: Afterward to Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983. Hanf , Theodor. Reducing of Conflict Through Cultural Autonomy: Karl Renner’s Contribution in Ra‟anen, Mesner, Armes, Martin, State and Nation in Multi-ethnic Societies. Oxford: Manchester University Press, 1991. Heywood, Andrew. Politics: Third Edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Hudson, Robert and Reno, Fred. Migrants and Minorities in Multicultural States. London: Macmillan Press, 2000. Huntington, Samuel P. Political Order in Changing Societies. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968. Iwan Griffiths, Stephen. Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. Joireman, Sandra F. Nationalism and Political Identity. New York: Continuum, 2003 Spillmann, Kurt R. Ethnic Coexistence and Cooperation in Switzerland, in Andreas Klinke, Ortwin Renn and Jean-Paul Lehners, Ethnic Conflicts and Civil Society: Proposals for a New Era in Eastern Europe. Aldershot: Ashgate, 1997. Vincent, Andrew. Nationalism and Particularity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Page | 8

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