Nationalism In The West Research Paper

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This research paper starts from the premise that nationalism has be to studied in relation to nation: an historical aspect of nationalism is the formation of a modern nation and the creation of nation-states in Europe. The study of the phenomenon, however, is complicated by disparate use of the concept nationalism by various researchers. ‘Nationalism’ has thus become a hazy and not very suitable tool for analysis, which is also reflected in numerous misunderstandings in evaluations of both the positive and the negative roles of nation and nationalism in history. This research paper documents that, despite the considerable differences in terminology and evaluation, there are roughly five fundamental causal relations which the various research schools consider crucial for nation—and nationalism—forming: (a) state-political historical foundations; (b) ethnic roots; (c) processes of modernization, including industrialization, institutional education, and social communication; (d) nationally relevant conflicts of interest and unevenness of development; and (e) psychological and emotional manipulation.

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The complicated process of the modern-nation-forming and the onset of the manifestations of nationalism has been, quite understandably, a subject of scholarly research ever since the nineteenth century. This research has had to struggle with a number of theoretical and semantic problems, and has not achieved consensus over the fundamental issues of terminology. The question of what role was played by ‘nationalism’ has been answered differently by different authors, primarily depending on how they defined nationalism, nation, nationality, national identity, ethnic group—and relations between these categories. Therefore, it is most important to investigate through what terms the authors analyzed the processes and how they defined the terms.

1. The Problem Of Definition

The fundamental problem of terminology derives from the fact that it concerns a process resulting in the formation of new communities, and that these communities used a term for themselves which had already originated in the Middle Ages, but was given a different content in different political and cultural conditions. On the one hand, ‘nation’ in English included all inhabitants living under one government and ruled by the same laws. The first edition of Grande encyclopedie also defined ‘la nation’ in similar terms, but later the use of a common language was added to this characterization. On the other hand, ‘nation’ in German was traditionally primarily associated with language, culture, and also sometimes with a shared past. That is why anglophone researchers find it hard to accept speaking about a fully fledged nation in cases where there is no nation-state (Kemilainan 1964).

Another difficulty comes from the fact that ‘nationalism’ entered the academic vocabulary quite late: it was a neologism originally used in politics and, therefore, laden with political connotations. Nevertheless, the term is also derived from ‘nation,’ which means that it becomes related to the linguistic connotations mentioned. It follows that anglophone literature will associated nationalism, one way or other, with a state and/or a struggle toward statehood.

1.1 Views On Nation, Nationality, And Nationalism In The Nineteenth Century

The study of nation and national consciousness developed alongside the nation-forming processes at least form the mid-nineteenth century and was influenced by the following circumstances: (a) the previous linguistic tradition; (b) the axiom of primordiality, that is by the idea that the nation an sich had existed since the Middle Ages and that people gradually realized their objective belonging to it; (c) the degree of nation-forming of a given nation: English and French researchers presumed the existence of a nation as a state-nation, while for German, Italian, and ‘East-European’ writers a nation was not commonplace and they were still looking for a suitable definition. It is not a coincidence that the largest numbers of the studies of nation can be found in the German-speaking territory. It needs to be added that English and later American authors also looked for a definition of a nonstate community. For the most part, they used the words ‘nationality’ or ‘peoples.’

The large number of studies written up until World War II can be divided into two main streams:

(a) Nation was defined by objective, empirically researchable, characteristics. These usually included, first of all, cultural and linguistic characteristics in combination with various other features—from political ties to territorial, economic, and ‘blood’ relations. Nevertheless, already at the beginning of the twentieth century some authors concluded that it was impossible to find a universally applicable combination of characteristics, including all entities considered nations at the time. That is why a differentiation between a state and a cultural nation gained support (Meinecke 1907). The criterion was whether the community which called itself a nation was a state or not. Another approach was to define nation as a ‘community with a shared past,’ which originally applied only to the members of the ruling classes and elites, but which integrated the entire population in the course of historical development since the Middle Ages (Bauer 1907).

(b) Nation was defined subjectively—its members were aware of their belonging to the nation and wanted to belong to it. This concept could be expressed in terms of agitation—as a will to form a nation—or existentially, as a sort of a ‘plebiscite’—as a decision to belong to an existing national community (Renan 1888). Typically, the subjectivist concept of nation originally appeared in essays rather than in empirically researched studies.

The dividing line between both concepts is not clear cut. On the one hand, supporters of the objectivist definition realized more and more strongly that a nation could not exist without national consciousness. On the other hand, the subjectivist definition did not preclude a primordialist concept of a nation.

It is symptomatic that national consciousness, ‘nationalism,’ became a tool of scholarly analysis as late as in the period between the two World Wars. The pioneer of the study of nationalism, Carlton J. Hayes (1926), presumed that it was necessary to define the object of nationalism, and attempted to define both nation and nationality through objective features.

1.2 The Definition Of Nation And Nationalism In The Second Half Of The Twentieth Century

The sad experience with nationalism during World War II for Europe effected the approaches of historians and social scientists to the study of nation. The political acuteness of this study increased and also with it the political commitment of the authors. Although opinions continued to vary, most researchers agreed on a number of points in setting priorities in research and in discarding insupportable views:

(a) An overwhelming majority of researchers more or less distanced themselves from the view that nation is a timeless category and a blood-related community;

(b) Agreement was also reached concerning the impossibility of defining nation only through cultural and linguistic characteristics;

(c) Nation was usually accepted as a distinct community only if evidence was available that the members of the community (or at least the prevailing majority of them) considered themselves a nation;

(d) Hence the growing emphasis on the study of ‘nationalism,’ as a subjective manifestation or as a precondition for an objective existence of a nation.

Nevertheless, conservative historians perpetuated for a while the traditional idea that a modern nation was a continuation of a medieval nation. After all, studies of national (or proto-national) identities in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Age are a fairly common occurrence in Europe.

In the conditions of political bias against German nazism and Italian fascism, the atmosphere in Europe was not favorable for applications of the term nationalism as a neutral tool for historical analysis as it was developed by Hayes (1931). On the contrary, the numbers and importance of authors who considered nationalism as a negative extravagance which needed to be overcome increased. According to authors such as Friedrich Hertz (1945), Edward H. Carr (1945), and later also Elie Kedourie (1960) and Kenneth Minogue (1967), nationalism was invented by irresponsible educated individuals, spread by equally irresponsible demagogues and politicians, and should be eradicated as a dangerous legacy of the past.

A polarized and modified variant of this concept as promoted by Hans Kohn in his numerous publications became more influential. In his view, two kinds of nationalism were to be distinguished: ‘western,’ which was rationalist, constitutional, liberal, democratic, and developed in France and the UK; and ‘eastern,’ which was irrational, mythical, racist, and reactionary. Although this ‘dichotomy’ (Snyder 1954) was persuasively criticized many times (Kemilainen 1964), it had a number of adherents.

Most historians and social scientists sought acceptable ways of defining nation as an objectively existing social group during the postwar decades. The approach that it was possible to develop an authoritative set of ‘features’ every nation had to have survived only as the official (although not Stalinist) doctrine of Soviet research. On the other hand, a number of authors were trying to find a more free definition by combining several kinds of relations. Among these relations, Boyd Shafer (1955) distinguished ‘illusions,’ such as economic needs, language, shared history, and objective relations, such as shared government, shared cultural, and social institutions. The sociologist Pitrim Sorokin (1947) saw nation as a ‘multibound group’ formed by a set of individuals ‘linked by two or more unibound ties.’ These could be a territory, a language, a religion, and/or physical conditions. A similar view among sociologists is held by Smith (1991) who characterized nation as a population set sharing the same myths, same historical territory, mass culture, and economy. Another variant of this perspective was a concept of nation as a social group bound by a changing combination of several kinds of historically strengthened, mutually substitutable relations, while civic equality of all members of the group and the consciousness of their shared history were necessary and non-substitutable ties (Hroch 1985).

The problems with finding a common, generally acceptable definition of nation also lead to giving up such a definition and favoring the subjective definition of nation: ‘a nation exists when a significant number of people in a community consider themselves to form a nation’ (Seton-Watson 1977). This change was often associated with the ‘discovery’ of Renan’s concept of nation. The result was an increased frequency of use of the term nationalism. The object of this nationalism was often not defined, or it was characterized as ‘super-personal entity’ towards which a nationalist individual feels ‘unconditional loyalty’ (Eugen Lemberg 1964).

This view gradually radicalized: nationalism began to be considered a given reality, while nation was regarded a construct, a myth, or an invention. The theoretical authority became Benedict Anderson (1983)—through no initiative of his own. He called nations ‘imagined communities,’ by which he meant that a nation as a group could only exist if its members were able to imagine that they belonged to a community of people, of whom the majority they did not know, and would never know. This view, however, can also be interpreted that nation is just an illusion and an invention, therefore, the ‘necessity’ of its formation can be doubted. The constructivist concepts of nation do not solve the problem of definition, they merely move it to another perspective: they also have to explain the term nationalism in its historical context. Equally as in the case of nation, there is not a consensus among researchers on the term nationalism either. Quite the contrary, the terminological confusion is augmented by the haphazard use of the term nationalism by researchers and without attempts at definition.

However, we can also find important exceptions. John Breuilly (1982) defines nationalism as a politics based on the premise that a nation exists, and which identifies itself with this nation. It demands political autonomy for the nation, usually in the form of a state. Gellner’s authoritative definition of nationalism as an effort to obtain the attributes of a state for own ethnic entity appears around the same time. Later, Gellner substantially modified his definition: ‘Nationalism is a political principle which maintains that similarity of culture is the basic social bond’ (Gellner 1997). His preference for the term nationalism does not mean a denial of an objective existence of a nation: his attitude is a mediating one between a subjectivist and an objectivist notion of nation.

Attention will now be paid to those authors who considered nation as objectively existing, ‘essential.’ Karl W. Deutsch (1953) made the first significant attempt at a new approach. He defined nation as ‘a community of complementary habits of communication.’ This communication community then forms a basis for a shared national culture and also nationalism. This approach was later more precisely defined as a group of people capable of better mutual than ‘outward’ communication and co-operation, and which is politically organized and autonomous. Members of the nation then associate community consciousness with certain values and with culture. Thus a foundation was created for the development of nationalism. Another step in this direction is the definition of nation as a ‘social formation’ which is ‘integrated through the means and relations of communication, production, organization, and exchange’ (James 1996). It needs to be mentioned that the majority of these authors did not know that they were drawing on a concept of Bauer (1907).

The view that nation is primarily defined by statehood is widespread mainly among anglophone authors. J. Breuilly, Stein Rokkan, and Charles Tilly should be mentioned, and also Louis Snyder, and Anthony Giddens, who maintains that a nation only exists ‘when a state has a unified administrative reach over the territory over which its sovereignty is claimed’ (Giddens 1987). Similarly, Eric Hobsbawm concludes that nation is ‘a social entity only insofar as it relates to a certain kind of modern territorial state’ (Hobsbawm 1989). In these schools of thought, nationalism was closely connected with the state.

Defining nation by statehood runs against an important empirical fact that communities which have had a long way to go to statehood, and sometimes have not even sought it, call themselves ‘nations.’ Especially in English there is a problem with finding an adequate term for this case.

1.3 Debate Over The Evaluation Of Nationalism

As mentioned in Sect. 1.2, the term nationalism had been a political term until the inter-war period. It was used in both negative and positive senses: referring either to a negative and an anti-social attitude (especially in the political language of the socialist movement), or to a commendable and noble love for one’s nation (in the political language of some rightwing movements).

Some authors writing within the Marxist tradition associated nationalism with negative social phenomena. E. Hobsbawm and, less distinctly, B. Anderson are examples of this perspective. It is also true, however, that this same tradition made the important attempt to characterize the ‘Janus-face’ of nationalism: as a phenomenon which could have a negative and oppressive impact on the one hand, and a positive impact as a liberating force in the struggle against national or colonial oppression on the other (Nairn 1981).

The distinction between the two kinds of nationalism is typical for a large number of researchers, and it is foreshadowed by Hans Kohn’s dichotomy mentioned above. The distinction between nationalisms according to the country or the national context was also used later.

Another dichotomy is a distinction between nationalisms according to time periods. In 1956, the influential German historian Theodor Schieder (1991) evaluated nineteenth-century nationalism as a progressive and creative factor, while he criticized the manifestations of the destructive side of nationalism, especially in the first half of the twentieth century. This distinction was later repeated by other authors. Ironically, the official Soviet scholarship also recognized two similar phases, although it did not explicitly use the term nationalism.

A majority of contemporary authors recognize the double-face of nationalism in history. For example, Louis Snyder (1976) considered nationalism as moral, as well as immoral, human as well as inhuman—according to these criteria, it could be evaluated as positive in some cases and as negative in others. He saw the main danger of nationalism in its association with collectivism against individualism. The French philosopher Etienne Balibar (1991) sees the ‘good’ side of nationalism in that it contributes to the development of state and a community of citizens in general, it derives from the love of people, and it is tolerant. In contrast, the ‘bad’ side of nationalism is in its expansiveness, hatred, and intolerance. Another French scholar, the political scientist Jean Leca, considered the distinction between the varying impacts of nationalism to be a matter of definition. It is symptomatic that the positive potential of nationalism is mostly appreciated by non-Anglo-American authors: apart from the French mentioned, also the Catalunian historian Josep Llobera (1994) and the Israeli historian Hedva Ben-Israel can be mentioned.

Another group of authors considers the broad meaning of the term nationalism to be a source of imprecisions and misunderstandings, and recommends the use of the term only to refer to national egoism, preference of own nation over others, and placing one’s own national interest over the interests of an individual (Peter Sugar, Leonard Doob, Otto Dann). Some recommended the use of other terms, such as patriotism (Doob, Samuel 1989), love for one’s country, national consciousness, and national feelings for the positive manifestations of national identity. Another variant is the recommendation to preserve nationalism as the neutral term and find other terms, such as ethnocentrism L. Le Vine, D. Cambell, ethnonationalism Martijn Roessingh, xenophobia or chauvinism, for the negative manifestations.

A real terminological potential can come from those researchers who take the historical, that is developmental, perspective. They follow from the fact that attitudes called nationalism developed from certain previous, developmentally ‘lower’ attitudes, perceptions, and relations, which are sometimes called identities, at other times loyalty, or primordial sentiments. The term loyalty is rarely used in historic research, but it belongs to the terminology of cultural anthropology. It is characterized as ‘a relation of an individual towards pre-existing given groups, phenomena values—in the social reality in which the individual lives’ (Geertz 1973).

The term identity now belongs to the common terminology of a number of historical analyses. It is used most consistently by Anthony Smith, who maintains that nationalism needs to be studied as a certain consequence, or as another phase in the development of national identity. At the same time the conscious- ness of each individual is determined by multiple identities, which are more or less interrelated. Unlike the term nationalism, the term national identity is not laden or obscured with superficial journalism in the vocabulary of historic analysis. A number of con- temporary scholars and projects promote the term. For example, the Swedish historian Sven Tagil (1984) suggests a distinction between ‘identity,’ referring to the simple consciousness of belonging to a group, and ‘identification,’ referring to the active and committed participation in the work for the nation.

The debate over definitions and evaluation should not be seen as mere academic disputes or noncommittal intellectual exercises. The debate is not self-serving, it is a discussion over whether and how, a particular term or concept is suitable for explaining the fact that after 200 years of dramatic and controversial development in Europe, in most cases, the nation-forming process resulted in mono-ethnic nation-states.

2. Why Nation And Nationalism? Attempts At A Historical Explanation

Every survey of views on the genesis of nations and nationalism is confronted with the contradiction between those who consider nation an invention or a construct—and therefore the product of nationalism—and those who see nation as a result of objective nation-forming processes. Judging from the verbal expressions, the conflict is irreconcilable. However, is that really so, or is the conflict not so fundamental—as Paul James (1996) argues?

The work of Ernest Gellner illustrates the productivity of the approach which tries to see reality behind words and aphoristic statements. His apodictic statement about nationalism creating nations is often cited and made absolute by ‘modernists.’ Few of them realized that Gellner’s definition only moved the causal explanation to a different level: the point was to explain why nationalism had gained such a response. At this level, Gellner works mostly with objective social and cultural factors. Similarly, it clearly follows from the statements of Benedict Anderson that nations as ‘imagined communities’ could only be formed thanks to particular objective social preconditions.

Therefore, a causal interpretation, does not necessarily have to dramatically contrast the nation-forming process with nationalism. That is especially true in light of the vast differences in the understanding of the term nationalism by the various authors. The flood of ‘theories of nationalism’ seems quite justly confusing at first sight, but a closer examination will reveal that most accounts attempting historical explanations of nationalism repeat the same basic relations and factors, although using different vocabulary and concepts. The differences between the authors are then mostly in the emphasis on a particular kind of relation. This research paper will therefore not deal with the authors but rather it will characterize their evaluation of the relevance of the particular relations and contexts: (a) historical background; (b) ethnic and cultural ‘roots’ and, within these, also denominational relations; (c) the process of modernization, that is, particularly industrialization—and the ensuing changes of social structure, social communication, and the unevenness of the modernization process; (d) conflicts of interests; and (e) psychological relations.

2.1 Historical Preconditions Or The Legacy Of The Past

The view that nation-forming was an inevitable result of the historical conditions of the past centuries is now considered a traditionalist residue. Despite that, historians as well as social scientists still consider the past to be an important component of the causal interpretation of the nation-forming process and nationalism. They differ in the strength of the influence they ascribe to history and, particularly, in the analytical perspective. To put it simply, the importance of history is seen from two perspectives: from the perspective of institutions or other objectively operating results of the past development, and from the perspective of ‘collective memory’ or the construct of national history.

In the former the issue is how institutions, relations, and stereotypes surviving from the past influenced nation-forming: it refers to the state, legislation, and also estates, judiciary, borders, internal administration, the extent of centralism and others. The notion that the ‘right’ to the recognition of national existence is conditioned by the existence of a ‘national’ state from the Middle Ages gave rise to the nineteenth century distinction between ‘historical’ and ‘nonhistorical’ nations, that is, nations with or without their own (political) history. Although this distinction is no longer considered relevant, a number of authors still work implicitly with the idea that some nations (such as the French, the Dutch, and the Portuguese) are a given, ‘natural,’ and organic part of the state system, while others formed somewhat by ‘accident’ (the Estonians, the Slovenes, the Bulgarians, and many others). Authors (for example, Shafer, Breuilly, Hobsbawm, Rokkan, Llobera, Tilly, and Barth) who define nation by statehood or understand nationalism as a struggle for statehood, usually assign an important role to political or state history.

A particular problem in analyzing the role of history is that people expressed views and stereotypes which many researchers would today call ‘nationalist’—that is, manifestations of national consciousness—already in the Middle Ages and especially in the Early Modern Period—a long time before the modern nation-forming processes. Modern historians agree that the pre-Modern manifestations of national consciousness did not include the entire community but only the privileged classes—the nobility and also sometimes the higher burgher categories (Hagen Schulze, Norbert Elias, and others). Bauer was already aware of this in his periodization of national development.

‘Collective memory’ is the other perspective on the effects of the past on nation-forming. Authors working within discourse analysis particularly emphasize that the strength of past statehood is not important, but the way the past was understood, interpreted, and worked with—and therefore also manipulated in the national interest. Hobsbawm’s phrase ‘invented tradition’ (1983) is usually quoted in this context, and it usually refers to skepticism toward any real historical continuity. At the same time, it is unthinkable to invent the past without any real evidence. On the other hand, it is important to study the creating of the image, the construct of ‘national history’ under the conditions of nation-forming.

2.2 Ethnic Roots Of Nationalism

It is understandable that most authors who associate nation and nationalism with state do not ascribe much importance to the ethnic and cultural component of the nation-forming process. Some even consider ethnic consciousness neutral, and not automatically a source of nationalism.

On the other hand, a number of authors consider ethnic identities and cultural particulars an important, if not a key precondition of a development toward a modern nation. Anthony Smith (1991, 1986) paid the greatest attention to this relation. He differentiated between the degrees of ethnic identity and considered that an ‘ethnie’ could also develop its collective memory. Ethnic groups could also enter into conflictual relations, which in many aspects forestalled national conflicts (Horowitz 1985). A number of other authors considered ethnic roots of national existence important, despite their differences in terminology: sometimes they spoke of ethnonationalism, sometimes of nationality, and at other times of primordiality or primordial ethnicity.

Unlike the general role of ethnicity, religion is only mentioned in concrete cases (the Balkans, Ireland), and it is not listed among the necessary preconditions of the nation-forming processes. Nevertheless, several authors acknowledge the indirect role of religion as a modernizing factor in education and communication, particularly as an agent of reformation and counterreformation (Anderson (1983), Armstrong (1982) and others). The significance of overcoming religiosity with the rise of secularism is also acknowledged. At the same time, some authors see nationalism as a ‘national,’ secularized religion.

2.3 Nation And Nationalism As Manifestations Or Consequences Of Modernization

The modern nation-forming doubtlessly occurred during the period of civil revolutions, industrializations, and the beginnings of the free market. That is, during the period called modernization by some, overcoming of traditional society by others, and the transition from feudal to capitalist society by other authors. Most authors (unlike, for example, Kohn) consider this simultaneous occurrence more than a coincidence, but they construct the causal relations in different contexts. Already in 1953, Deutsch saw the industrial revolution and the onset of the free market as crucial for the spread of nationalism. Later, he considered nationalism a response of people, on the one hand, to the possibilities of improving their status thanks to social mobility, and on the other hand, to the loss of ties to the traditional lordships and settlements. Gellner’s thesis (1983) about industrialization as the fundamental impulse for the birth of nationalism cannot therefore be seen as original. Gellner, however, does not conceive of industrialization in the literal sense referred to by historians, that is, as the introduction of the industrial mode of production. Rather, he means market economy and social mobility in general as factors opening the way for the principles of equality of citizens and their new role in the transformation of culture. Michael Mann (1988) and other authors, such as Etienne Balibar and Immanuel Wallerstein (1991) work with a similar, although more differentiated, thesis. Carolyne M. Vogler (1985) also shares this perspective when she maintains that the ‘disjunction between economics and politics’ occurred, and that significantly contributed to the dissolution of multinational states and the creation of nation-states. In contrast to the thesis of the role of industralization, other authors emphasize general modernization changes ensuing from the progressing liberation of the market and people (Hroch (1985), Llobera (1994)).

The emergence of the new forms of enterprise (that is, capitalist enterprise) and the related social mobility are specifically reflected in increasing social communication, that is, a system of an increasing amount of information being exchanged among an increasing number of people. As mentioned, Karl W. Deutsch ascribed the key importance to this circumstance on the formation of nation and nationalism, but his one-sided emphasis on communication was not generally accepted. His views were, nevertheless, confirmed within another terminological framework: the thesis about the crucial role of education in the people’s ability to accept the notion of a nation as an abstract community became the central argument of Anderson. It was already advocated earlier by Gale Stokes (1974) who proposed that the acceptance of such a notion depended not only on elementary literacy, but also on schooling until the age when a child developed the ability of abstract thinking. The German sociologist Berndt Giesen (1991) connected both of these perspectives: in the conditions of the new type of communication between addressees who did not know each other, a new style of communication and new coding was necessary. The idea of nation became such a code for encoding the new living conditions of modern society.

Numerous researchers argue that the spread of nationalism was boosted by the deepening of the unevenness of development—another consequence of modernization and ‘industrialization.’ A specific form of unevenness was a ‘cultural division of labor between the core and the periphery,’ which resulted in the inferior social role of the periphery. This led to the ‘internal colonialism’ as a breeding ground of national and regional movements opposing the ‘center’ (Hechter 1975). Mann (1988) and Nairn (1981) also considered uneven development and the associated sentiments of oppression, important factors of nationforming processes. The view of the nation-mobilizing role of unevenness (‘backwardness’) has been criticized frequently and its general validity has been rejected.

2.4 Nationally Relevant Conflicts Of Interests

This brings the discussion to the factor which—again veiled by the various terms—plays an important role for perhaps still the majority of approaches seeking the explanation of nation-forming and also of the spread of nationalism in objective social changes. The thesis of internal colonialism alone suggested that the conflict between the falling-behind periphery and the center could be expressed in the categories of national interest. In other words, uneven development could be counted among nationally relevant conflicts.

A whole range of conflicts from wars to socially and status-motivated tensions can be seen as conflicts of interest. This fact makes any generalization difficult, but it also allows for different interpretations. The most frequently listed conflict in the explanations of nationalism is the conflict ensuing from uneven development. A social conflict between groups or classes which, at the same time, belonged to different ethnicities is theorized relatively seldom in contemporary research (Miroslav Hroch, Paul James, Tom Nairn, Eric Hobsbawm), as is the idea of the struggle against an old society in the national interest (Boyd Shafer).

2.5 Nationalism As A Result Of Psychological, Cultural, And Emotional Manipulation

Most researchers working on the explanations of nationalism also look for its sources in the realm of psychology and emotions. The individual models, however, differ significantly according to which aspect of human psyche they consider important. Insecurity of a human individual, the need to belong to a group and to identify with it, are some of the most frequently quoted aspects. The insecurity is then seen as being caused by perceived (or real) endangerment, while the source of endangerment can be either external danger or internal insecurity resulting from the perception of uprootedness, dissolution of old securities, old faith, etc. (Miroslav Hroch, Gale Stokes, Anthony Smith, Bernd Giesen, Ernest Gellner). Nationalism is sometimes considered a sick, pathological reaction to such perceived endangerment (Committee on International Relations 1987), and at other times a response to the inferiority complex (Lemberg 1964). Anderson speaks of the need to overcome the fear of an individual death by identifying with an immortal nation.

Following partially from Geertz’s primordial ties, some researchers tried to apply biological research on animal behavior to nationalism, and explain nationalist attitudes as the ‘territorial imperative’ (Snyder 1975). Nevertheless, this approach has remained marginal in the overall context.

‘All the stronger’ has recently become the effort to explain nationalism as a cultural construct deriving from the activities aiming at the emotional mobilization of human psyche. Thus national rituals are becoming a subject of intense research (George Mosse, 1973), as well as symbols, celebrations in the name of nation, and pilgrimages to places commemorating the national past (Nora 1986)—in short, activities deliberately aimed at the emotional element of the human psyche.

Overall, differences in the explanations of nationformation are not as fundamental as it may appear on the surface from the different terminology and the verbal radicalism of some authors. The understandable efforts for originality and impressive contribution are often a facade of new expressions repeating older conclusions and findings.

Most of the studies on the historical origins of nationalism are flawed in that they ignore the fact that the process of nation-forming was present in two basic types in Europe: the first started with state-nations which had existed since the Middle Ages and began to transform into modern nations at the end of the eighteenth century or later. The point of departure of the second type were non-dominant ethnic groups which inhabited the territories of large multi-ethnic empires, did not have ruling elites, had their own cultural traditions in a codified language, and had either disrupted or no tradition of statehood. That is why it is important to distinguish between nationalism (whether considered as a part of national identity or merely as its nationally egoistic variant) developed in the conditions of state-nations and the kind of nationalism known from national movements. The latter type again differs depending on whether it developed under conditions of national agitation or a mass national movement. In any case, nationalism should never be viewed as a theoretically sound ‘ideology’ comparable to liberalism, clericalism, or socialism. It has always been a mixture of variously structured stereotypes which, in the environment of forming a fully fledged nation, had the ability to attach itself to any political ideology and live with it in a symbiotic or parasitic relationship. (Translated by Libora Oates-Indruchova)


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