The nation is the central principle of political organisation.
The basis for identity can be broad and made up of c combination of a variety of factors such as language, history, ethnicity etc…
There can be conflicting views on what constitutes the basis for national identity. Primordial nationalists argue on basis common descent, common cultural bonds. However, civic nationalists accepting of diverse ethnic backgrounds argue on basis of civic consciousness- th willingness to share common values e.g. liberal democratic values- here a line is drawn separating the private sphere from the public.
Humankind is divided into a collection of nations, each possessing a distinctive character and separate identity.
National loyalties and ties are found in all societies and endure over time.
Primordialists argue that nations are rooted in shared culture, historical past. Anthony Smith in 1986 argued that there was continuity between modern nations and pre modern ethnic communities.
Situationalist theorists argue that nation identity is response to changing situations and historical circumstances, seeing a link between the emergence of the modern nation state and urbanisation/industrialisation. Even so, the situationalist Gellner argues that national community is deeprooted
All forms of nationalism address the issue of identity.
Nationalism informs people of who they are, forging social bonds and a collective spirit. It may take a variety of forms- for example cultural nationalism based on the romantic belief in the nation as a unique historical and organic whole drawing on popular rituals, traditions and legends.
The importance of distinctive national consciousness was first emphasised in Germany by Herder and Fichte C18 and C19. Herder (1744-1803) believed each nation possessed a volksgeist or national spirit which provided the people with its creative impulse.
Another form of identity politics which sometimes overlaps with cultural nationalism is ethnic nationalism. However, a sa form of nationalism it has an exclusive character.
Populist and linked to imperial expansion later C19. a form of jingoism- a mood of nationalist enthusiasm and public celebration provoked by military conquest and rivalry e.g. Europe on eve WW1..
It denies equality of nations- It believes that some nations are culturally superior and therefore have a duty to bring benefits of civilisation to less developed parts.
It is chauvinistic- belief in cultural superiority- forms include Pan Slavism the goal of which was Slavic unity among the peoples of south eastern Europe under Russian leadership late C19 and C20. German nationalism has roots in cultural superiority- volkisch nationalism. German chauvinistic nationalism reaches it fruition in the racialist volkist beliefs of National Socialism and Lebensraum policy 1930s/40s.
Chauvinist Nationalism is emotional rather than rational. All individual identity is submerges in interests of the nation- such extreme form of nationalism was termed by Charles Maurras as Integral Nationalism.
Such intense national feeling often springs from negative integration- the portrayal of another nation or race as the enemy- a them and us view of the world.
Influenced by the western nationalist views of the governing European powers- leaders of nationalist movements Africa and Asia heavily influenced by the ideas of liberal nationalism..
Clearly aware their economic backwardness in comparison with western powers, most sought economic as well as political liberation and were attracted to socialism. .
Socialism embodies the ideals of community and cooperation which were established in traditional pre industrial society. It also provided an analysis of inequality and exploitation through which the colonial experience could be understood and challenged.
Socialism in some post colonial societies became an appeal to a unifying national interest. African socialism embraced in Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Angola was based not on soviet style state socialism but traditional communitarian values and the desire to subordinate tribal rivalry to the need for economic progress.
Liberals fear an international ‘state of nature’. Or a state of international anarchy by which the stronger nations could dominate.
Internationalism promotes mutual cooperation and understanding. This explains liberal commitment to free trade. The ‘Manchester liberals’ richard Cobden 1804-65 and john bright 1811-89 free trade would lead to interdependence by encouraging nations to specialise and would promote mutual understanding.
Liberals accept the importance of supra national organisations such as the league of Nations and United Nations in creating an international order in which the absolute sovereignty of nation states is qualified to ensure the preservation of the national independence of all..
All human beings are of equal moral worth and that human rights are universal hence the UN Declaration of Human rights 1948 and the European Convention on human rights and fundamental freedoms 1956. Liberals also believe in international law enforceable by institutions such as the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.
Socialists reject nationalism as artificial and as denying that the true identity of people is based on social class. Nationalism has been used by elites to beguile the exploited by an appeal to a false sense of community with their exploiters.
Socialism is, however, intrinsically international. There is a belief in an international class struggle. Workers share common experience of exploitative relationships with workers in different countries.
Socialist Internationalism is based on the idea that humankind is bound together by mutual sympathy and compassion.
Socialist Internationalism can be a basis for international cooperation between nations or the dissolution of the nation and the recognition of one world and one people.
Economic and cultural globalisation- so called McDonaldisation of the world has undermined nation states.
However, the mergence of ethnically based and aggressive forms of nationalism in former USSR, Balkans and Africa- ethno cultural nationalism.
Centrifugal Nationalism in established nation states with rise of political parties and movements seeking recognition as nations either via greater autonomy within the nation states or independence.
As a reaction increasing movement and fluidity of society nations may reinvent themselves in order to establish a collective identity as a cohesive and unifying force to promote stability- Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.