Political ideology in which a nation claims the right to a state

- boundaries of the nation should be the boundaries of the state


Should we distinguish “ethnic group” from a “nation”? 

-         nation: a collective united by shared cultural features and a belief in the right to territorial self-determination (L.W. Barrington)

-         ethnic group: collective united by shared cultural features

-         ethnic communities (ethnies):  “named human populations with shared ancestry myths, histories and cultures, having an association with a specific territory, and a sense of solidarity” (A.D. Smith)


Nations as imagined but not imaginary communities (B. Anderson)

-         a nation exists if people believe it exists



Two Types of Nationalism

-         Ethnic nationalism

-         Civic nationalism

-         Distinction is fuzzy in practice

o      Formal civic nationalism may mask de facto ethnic nationalism (e.g., Turkey)

Ethnic nationalism

Shared ethnicity as basis for national identity

-         Common, ancestry, language, culture (dress, cuisine, customs, history), or religion  


States with ethnic nationalist identities

-         Not always formal (e.g., Turkey is formally civic)

-         Sri Lanka (Sinhalese nationalism); Rwanda (Hutu nationalism); Egypt; Iran; Turkey;

o      Citizenship often exclusionary (jus sanguinis v. jus soli)


Civic Nationalism

Shared political values, principles, or beliefs as basis for membership in the nation

-         “Civic religion”

-         liberal and authoritarian forms


Multi-ethnic or multi-national states

-         India, Pakistan, Nigeria, South Africa

-         citizenship usually inclusive (voluntary and open in principle)


Is the division absolute?

-         Formal civic nationalism often entails language requirements and acceptance of core constitutional principles

-         language politics may generate ethnic nationalist divisions in formally civic state



Origins of Nationalism


Modernist account

-         industrialization and states created mass nationalism

-         nationalism is modern (late 18th century onward)

-         class and political community can replace ethnic nation

Primordial account

-         ethnic identities are real and ancient

-         reflect socio-psychological drive for community

-         class and political community cannot replace ethnic nation

Ethno-symbolist account:

-         ethnies have pre-modern roots

-         political salience varies over time

-         e.g., Arab nationalism v. Egyptian nationalism



Political Role of Nationalism


-         mobilizing ideology to acquire a state

-         legitimating ideology for the state or rulers

-         resistance ideology to oppose state demands


Nationalism and the Sov. Terr. State


-         autonomy movements within state (Tamils in Sri Lanka; Kurds in Iraq)

-         secession movements from state (Kurds in Turkey; Bengali in Pakistan;  Sahari in Morocco/Spanish Sahara; Igbo in Nigeria [Biafra])