Encounters With Nationalism by Ernest Gellner

By Ernest Gellner

The forecast dying of nationalism below the recent ethical orders of communism and internationalism has proved illusory. within the current century, to an volume better possibly than in all others, nationalism has been the dominant strength within the affairs of humankind. Why should still this were? Why is it nationwide identification should still remain the aspiration of just about all peoples with out one and, whilst, the justification - within the strategy of acquiring, securing and increasing it- for casting apart each hint and culture of civility? In Encounters with Nationalism Ernest Gellner seeks a few answers.His technique is to contemplate first the tips of the most glossy thinkers at the topic, from Marx, checklist, Malinowski and Carr, to Masaryk, Heidegger, Patocka, Hroch, Havel and acknowledged. He examines the origins, topics and context in their writings, their interactions with tradition and politics, and their impact - either on idea and on occasions. the diversity is broad, overlaying japanese, Western and Islamic societies, and comprises huge discussions of the similar topics of civil society, theocracy, communism, imperialism, capitalism and liberalism.Professor Gellner isn't below trenchant. he's involved the following not just to appreciate, yet to criticize. He confronts numerous robust and classy notions that gasoline and/or try and clarify modern nationalism - between them postcolonialism. at the one hand he exposes their incoherence and irresponsibility; at the different he areas them along principles of actual foreign money. Nor does he sidestep the debate surrounding the character of judgement itself: the reader also will locate right here concise and penetrating discussions of relativism, pluralism, objectivity and the opportunity of common values.

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It is an impressive record, and given his capacity for both, incisive thought and elegant prose even whilst politically engaged, one approaches-this book with-the highest-expectations. - - „ These, expectations are fulfilled only in part. This is unquestionably an interesting book, a n d in parts also a very amusing * Conor Cruise O'Brien (1988) GodLand: Reflections on Religion and Nationalism. Harvard ^University Press:: Cambridge, Mass. 60 T H E SACRED AND THE NATIONAL one. But it is also seriously flawed.

Or if, on the other hand, we did indeed arrive in our present impasse by so tortuous a path, t h e n surely there rriust have been . taken t h e m . - so that our options must be that m u c h more numerous. I h a p p e n to believe, that the T o r t u o u s Path approach is inherendy misguided. T h e argument by Elimination just happens to be mistaken. 70 T H E SACRED AND THE NATIONAL This methodological difficulty really comes h o m e to roost in the final chapter, though it is mentioned m u c h earlier (p.

O n all these assumptions, the setting u p 44 F R O M KINSHIP TO ETHNICITY of a separate political unit linked to its own standardized educational system and hence its own cultural symbolism and image, is attractive and will be attempted whenever circumstances are favourable. This, then, is our overall scenario of the transition from preindustrial non-nationalistic societies to industrial nationalist ones: in the former, a great wealth of cultural differentiations, often cutting across each other, does n o t on the whole give rise to political turbulence..

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