on nationalism...

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on nationalism...

Unread postby willow » Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:11 am

had to do 500ish words as part of a midterm, thought i would post it.
7. What is the good of nationalism and what are some of the dangers of nationalism?
Nationalism comes in many forms and has both positive and negative aspects as well. The most common forms of nationalism are 'ethnic nationalism' and 'civic nationalism'. Civic nationalism is the belief in the uniqueness of ones nation, and is akin to patriotism. Civic nationalism is perhaps the most desirable form, since it is rarely expressed in a violent way. There are exceptions to this pacifism however when the state believes it is superior to its neighbours rather then distinct. Civic nationalism can be used to unify a disparate group of communities or ethnicities into a unified whole or 'nation' built around a shared history and group experience. This kind of positive expression can be seen in Canadian society with our vast array of ethnic groups who all identify as 'Canadian' and share a love of Canadian ideals and values despite cultural differences.
Ethnic nationalism, is the belief in the uniqueness, and or superiority, of ones ethnic group. Ethnic nationalism can exist within a nation, but is not defined by the state, rather the community. Ethnic nationalism provides a source of cohesion for ethnic communities that may otherwise be marginalized by society, this is evident in Canada with our vibrant ethnic communities, who draw a source of identity through their shared language, culture and region of origin. This sense of community provides a source of support and
Nationalism, both ethnic and civic, can be used in a negative way when nationalism is used to support the belief in unique entitlements, such as Israeli views on Jerusalem, or the superiority of ones race or nation as exemplified by Nazi Germany.
Margaret MacMillan warns in her book Dangerous Games: The Uses and Abuses of History against the use of nationalisms ability to cause factionalization in societies as well. When a people develope a unique cultural identity, such as in the case of Quebec, that sense of identity can come to emphasise the differences between groups which can polarize an otherwise largely similar community.
Civic nationalism can also be used to subvert the individual to the community as with the need in Nazi Germany to serve the will of the state, this is also evident in Japanese kamikaze pilots and the belief found in many eastern societies in their community based rather then individual centred social practicies
When applied forcefully ethnic nationalism is the more destructive of the two forces as it leads to the dehumanization of the 'other' which exists outside your group. This sense of otherness against ones perception of uniqueness or superiority, especially when possessed by two or more competing ethnicities, has led to the division of nations such as India and Pakistan, or more recently Sudan and South Sudan. In its worst forms ethnic nationalism leads to a need to rid the region of the 'other' and a society engages in ethnic cleansing. Such was the case in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia where groups and militias, largely comprised of civilians, engaged in acts of genocide in order to ensure ethnic purity in a region.
dirty work... the right google key words...
-willow 07/22/09
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Re: on nationalism...

Unread postby Intercourseman72 » Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:12 pm

A few minor points I have make is that I don't think civic and ethnic nationalism as you define them are at all mutually exclusive. I think people of a certain ethnicity will be genetically predisposed to be different in all kinds of ways, not excluding civic values. I think they are highly compatible but separate categories.

Second is that I don't think one is necessarily more likely to lead to violence than the other. The American doctrine of "spreading freedom and democracy around the world" is not at all an ethnic issue, but an issue based on political values. I think either nationalistic ideology can be usurped and corrupted to great degrees, but not different degrees. People of different ethnicities often have different political values and will be apt to use ethnic differences as a wedge to drive between differing peoples for the sake of advancing opposing civic values.

Third is that I don't think ethnic nationalism necessitates a feeling of superiority. Rather, it necessitates a recognition of preference based on the amalgamation genetic characteristics we use to categorize people into different elasticities. I don't think that my racial ancestry is superior in an abstract sense, but rather, I prefer to be around western Europeans as opposed to East Asians or whatever. It's a matter of personal preference, and like you said, can be good for social cohesion. I live in an area where I can barely understand about 1/5th of the people when they talk to me. It's not fun to have to guess what a big chunk of people is saying, especially when you are the native born.

Overall, I think nationalism is good for purposes of having an identity that is compatible with your own personal values and being able to share those values with like minded people. It's probably an evolutionary adaptation among humans to have this instinctive desire to be around those who share your values. Like anything, it can be commandeered by people with nefarious motives and used for disgusting purposes.
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