Reference Black Jacobinshttp://www.antislavery.org/english/slavery_today/what_is_modern_slavery.aspx
I think that each of these could be thought of as a nation state to some degree, some of the features I’m looking for are : Law, Tax, Army, Patriotism, Borders, Power over some territory, passport, head of state, currency, language, flag.
See “Imagined Communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism” Benedict AndersonImage from http://www.europeword.com/blog/europe/europe-flag/ Flag is South Sudan, became independent in July 2011
Different identities might matter at different times (e.g. Olympics, World cup, where I am).
“Humanity can be divided into groups in many ways:
by culture, by language and by race – which
usually means skin colour. Each division
depends to some extent on prejudice and,
because they do not overlap, can lead to
Steve Jones, 1991
Race is scientifically problematic
• genetic diversity between humans less than other animals (ie snails)
People look different, but little evidence that they are significantly different
• Cultural differences more important than genetic
But ‘race’ is clearly important and has real consequences as a concept
Race is socially constructed
Which physical characteristics matter?
Discuss the physical differences which people are classified based on your
experiences and the societies in which you are familiar
Morphology – size and shape of bodies
• Skin tone?
“Beauty” – notice ‘sneer’ marks!
Race and Slavery
Racial differences were used to justify slavery
Massive global movements (10mn) from Africa through Europe to US and
And yet racial distinctions were incredibly difficult to maintain (ie
Race is socially constructed
Slavery still exists
If not race, ethnicity?
• “Aspects of relationships between groups which
consider themselves, and are regarded by others, as
being culturally distinctive” (Eriksen)
• Ethnicities don’t exist in isolation
• Very often there is a hierarchy of ethnic groups within a society
• Material Rewards
• If cultural, what makes an ethnicity different from other cultural groups
(e.g. football fans)?
Thin and Thick ethnicity
Thick ethnicity (comprehensive): ethnic or
racial tie that organizes a great deal of
social life and both individual and collective
Thin ethnicity (less comprehensive): ethnic
or racial tie that organizes relatively little of
social life and action.
What is a nation?
Which of the following are nation states? Use your discussions to make a
list of the key features of a nation state
Sociology and the nation state
It is all about power
The nation state has a monopoly of violence over its citizens within a
certain border (Weber)
The nation is a key element of capitalism (Marx)
not only supporting the interests of the elite but also
undermining the interest of the global working class
The nation is an ‘imagined community’
• Imagined (you can’t know everyone)
• Limited (inclusion/ exclusion)
• Sovereign (independent)
Nationalism is relatively recent (5-600 years)
• Sometimes more recent…
Who am I?
depends who’s asking…
To an American I’m a European?
To the French I’m British
To a Scot I’m English
To a Geordie I’m a cockney
To a Londoner I’m an Essex boy
To an Essex boy I’m from Southend
To somebody from Southend I’m from Westcliff
How do you define yourselves?
• Which labels do you use?
– Which labels matter?
• What do these labels mean?
• Physical characteristics?
• Are these labels ascribed or achieved?
• Are they really important (thick) or not
very important (thin) identities?
On your poster paper draw a pair of axes, going from ascribed – achieved,
and thin and thick ethnic identity
Take your group answers from before and place yourselves in a quadrant
Now do the same for the following
Focus on values and norms
Immigrant – Host model
Assimilation - Multiculturalism
• Migration integral to international capitalist system
• Increases inequalities between rich and poorer countries
• Migrants usually young
• Rich countries haven’t paid for their health/ education
• ‘reserve army of labour’
• Prejudice against immigrants helps capitalists
• legitimates exploitation
• scapegoats (e.g. unemployment)
• Divides working class
• Importance of nationalism in relationship between coloniser and
• People in post-colonial societies have ambiguous identities
• Colonialism still an active force in today’s society
• Postcolonialism tries to give voice to the Other
“Race“ is a fiction, but has serious implications
Ethnicity encompasses culture
Nationality is a modern concept
Different theoretical viewpoints focus on different aspects
Next week – reading week