Saturday, August 24, 2019

'Nationalism has done more to shape the modern world system than Essay

'Nationalism has done more to shape the modern world system than anything else' Discuss - Essay Example The last section of this paper deals with the anti-colonial nationalism and the different forms of nationalism in both the new and old nation-states; finally, the paper draws a conclusion that nationalism has exerted a huge amount of influence on the modern world political system, in terms of both opposition and a claim to the modern state, which, however, shouldn’t be overestimated. Introduction Breuilly writes that the term ‘nationalism’ is used to denote a political movement seeking or exercising state power and justifying its actions with nationalist arguments, where the latter are seen as a political doctrine â€Å"built upon three basic assertions† (2). Thus, in the first place, there should be a nation with an explicit character, which is peculiar to that nation; secondly, the nation’s values and interests should take priority over all other suchlike; and last but not least, the attainment of political sovereignty is required (Breuilly 2). And erson, in turn, considers nationalism, along with nation and nationality, rather difficult for one to define let alone to analyze, and suggests that nationality and nationalism are cultural artifacts which have been transplanted to a variety of social terrains as well as merged with a corresponding variety of political and ideological constellations (3-4). On the other hand, as Seton-Watson points out, the ‘nation’ phenomenon â€Å"has existed and exists†, insofar as a significant number of people in a community possess national consciousness, i.e. consider themselves to have formed a nation, or behave as such. Hence, if a nationally conscious elite succeeded in creating a nation, it would be able to remain in power on the basis of that nation, and conversely (5). So, however one may go into nationalism – whether as a state of mind, the search for some sort of national identity or the expression of certain national consciousness – there’s no doubt that, as Breuilly put it, nationalism is, above and beyond anything else, about politics (1). Since politics is infinitely, if not exclusively, concerned with power and power, in the modern world, is mainly about the control of the state, nationalism, besides its cultural, ideological, class, etc. dimensions, is inevitably related to the objectives of obtaining and using the state power (Breuilly 1). Thus, the modern state, hence the modern state system and nationalism appear far too intertwined with each other, insofar as nationalist politics have given rise to the creation of many present-day nation-states, and could be held responsible for certain developments in others; and not surprisingly therefore, the modern state would offer â€Å"the key to an understanding of nationalism† (Breuilly 2). Origins of Nationalism - Prelude to Nationalism in Early Modern Europe The roots of modern nationalism could be traced back to the monarchical states of Western Europe in the e arly modern period (Breuilly 75; Seton-Watson 19-22). With the dramatic increase of state power by that time, the opposition to the state also increased and consolidated; as the state extended its authority over its subjects and diminished that of other institutions, like guilds, churches, etc., the idea of the ‘nation’ could be deemed to have achieved certain political relevance (Breuilly 75). This idea, however,

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