Nationalism (Concepts in Social Thought) by Craig Calhoun

By Craig Calhoun

Nationalism is likely one of the such a lot urgent of worldwide difficulties. Drawing on examples from world wide, Craig Calhoun considers nationalism's different manifestations, its background, and its dating to imperialism and colonialism. He additionally demanding situations makes an attempt to "debunk" nationalism that fail to understand why it nonetheless has such strength and centrality in glossy existence.

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The idea of self-determination is thus a product of a specifically historical consciousness. And this consciousness, which was eventu­ ally codified into the principle of popular sovereignty, did not develop overnight. According to Jose Ortega y Gasset, it was only in the aftermath of the First World War that it became firmly established, even in Europe. In The Revolt of the Masses, which was published in 1932, he describes the process in the following way (the self, it is true, is not mentioned but the whole argument clearly depends on its existence): In the 18th Century certain minority groups discovered that every human being, by the mere fact of birth, and without requiring any special qualification whatsoever, possessed certain fundamental political rights, the so-called rights of man and the citizen; and further that, strictly speaking, these rights, common to all, are the only ones that exist .

But the boundary problem to which the concept of individual human rights inevitably gives rise does not stop there . The traditional defence for subordinating women to men was not that they did not possess fundamental rights but that, like children, criminals and lunatics, they were not fitted by nature or education or both to exercise them. Few people perhaps will ever want to deny this proposition with respect to criminals or lunatics, although even here the ideal of egalitarian individualism notoriously undermines confidence in the 39 NATIONALISM AND I NTERNATIONAL S O C IETY conventional definitions o f these two social categories.

The break-up of the European multi-national empires The diffusion of nationalist doctrine, that is, the deliberate exploitation of national and/or ethnic sentiment for political ends, is generally viewed by historians as part of the reaction to Napoleon's invasions. The nationalist reaction started in Germany and Italy and spread eastwards. The principles of the Revolution of 1789 had been couched in universal language (that was and remains their appeal); now they were nationalised and put at the service of a specifically French imperial order .

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