Nationalism – the doctrine and political practice, based on the idea that the basis of statehood, economic and cultural systems are integral communities – nations. Depending on the understanding of what a nation is, nationalism has two primary forms – civil, or state, and ethnic nationalism. Ethnic nationalism (more often just nationalism or ethnonationalism) suggests that the nation is the highest form of ethnic community, which has the exclusive right to possess statehood, including institutions, resources and the cultural system.

Civil, or state, nationalism arose in the era of the emergence of modern states, based on the concept of the nation and the people as citizenship, as a set of citizens who share a collective identity and common cultural elements while preserving ethnic, religious and racial diversity. This form of nationalism is aimed at justifying the legitimacy of the state, the consolidation of the civil nation, state expansion or isolationism. In its extreme forms, civil, or state, nationalism is close to the notion of patriotism, but as an antithesis to ethnonationalism, it is sometimes called internationalism. This form of nationalism is widely used by modern states through official symbols and ideological institutions (education, social sciences, mass media, etc.) with the aim of affirming general civil loyalty (“love of the motherland”, “respect for the country”, etc.) and the dissemination of nationwide legal norms and moral and cultural values.

The extent of the spread of nationalism in different states depends on the composition of the population, the form of public government, the social conditions of life, the historical tradition, the status and geopolitical situation of the country. States with a complex ethnocultural, racial and religious population pay particular attention and undertake concerted efforts to establish different forms of state (general) nationalism, even if they are stable and economically developed societies with a democratic form of government (eg, the USA, Spain, Canada). In large countries with weak or moderately developed economies, undeveloped democracy, large ethnic diversity and the presence of separatist movements, nationalism serves as one of the means of the central government to ensure public order and subordination of citizens to their will, to preserve the integrity of the state from internal and external threats (eg, India , China, the former USSR – in the form of Soviet patriotism and the doctrine of a single Soviet people). State nationalism (or patriotism) takes on a particular scope and extreme forms of chauvinism or expansionism during periods of regional wars and internal crises.

In modern conditions after the end of the Cold War, this is also observed in situations where the country claims the exclusive role of a world leader (the USA) or when the country is dominated by the position of resisting deep regional integration with the loss of partial state sovereignty (some countries in Western Europe, as well as Mexico and Canada). State nationalism is especially noticeable in the newly formed countries, where it functions as a distancing from the old dominant formations, political mobilization and a new “nation-building”. This is particularly noticeable in the post-Soviet states (except the Russian Federation), but in a specific form of symbiosis with ethnic nationalism.

Ethnic nationalism (ethnonationalism) is a historical phenomenon engendered in the conditions of multi-ethnic states, especially among representatives of non-dominant ethnic groups, and has become widespread with the end. 19th century, all regions of the world in the process of modernization of social and political states and development of local cultures and ethnopolitical particularism. In the modern era, it can be seen both as a reaction to the leveling influence of mass culture and also as a response to state nationalism on behalf of the dominant groups in the state (so-called chauvinism), which causes ethnic discrimination and assimilation of minorities.

In the end of 20 century, ethnonationalism was widely spread in the countries of the communist bloc, especially in the USSR, where the development of ethnic cultures was supported, and ethnonationalism was an element of official ideology and the basis of the so-called ” socialist federalism. A similar situation existed in the former Yugoslavia. The crisis of communist ideology, political liberalization and the collapse of the socialist system turned ethnonationalism into the most accessible basis for mass mobilization under the slogans of national revival and self-determination. Ethnonationalism played an vital role in the disintegration of multi-ethnic states with a unitary control system.

Depending on the purposes and forms of manifestation, ethnic nationalism has a cultural or political character. Cultural ethnonationalism, which is usually carried by the intellectual elite, is aimed at preserving the integrity and identity of the ethnic community, the development of the native language and education, and the propagation of historical heritage and traditions. It plays a positive role if it does not contain elements of cultural isolation, antimodernization installations and a negative orientation against cultures and representatives of other peoples. Politically oriented ethnonationalism is aimed at achieving advantages for representatives of one group in the sphere of power and government, state ideology and symbols. Ethnonationalism is based on simplified historical interpretations, the usurpation of cultural heritage in favor of one group, conflict-related territorial interpretations (“ethnic territory”, “ancestral lands”, “historical homeland”, etc.).

As a rule, it includes negative stereotypes against other peoples and anti-statist attitudes. For its existence, ethnic entrepreneurs (intellectuals and political activists) are always needed who pretend to speak on behalf of the “people” or “nation” and express its “will.” In its extreme forms, ethnonationalism on the part of dominant groups is discriminatory in relation to minorities, up to the denial of their cultural and political rights. It often links with state nationalism, because State institutions and ideology are usurped in favor of the so-called indigenous or state-forming nation. Radical ethnonationalism on behalf of minorities can acquire a separatist character with the demand to change internal borders or create a separate “national” state. He often demonstrates intolerance towards local minorities up to the expulsion of the ethnic population and causes the most protracted and destructive ethnic conflicts (Northern Ireland, Biafra, Katanga, Eritrea, Karabakh, Transnistria, Abkhazia, Chechnya). The armed recession is not recognized by international law and is condemned by the world community. In the modern world, the extremist form of ethnic nationalism is seen as one of the most serious threats to the national security of states and international stability, as the cause of massive violations of human rights.

There is a tradition of studying nationalism and an extensive literature on this issue. The leading position in it is occupied by the West European, especially Anglo-American, scientific tradition. A dominant view of nationalism can be defined as a Weberian or historical approach that views this phenomenon as a long-term process of development of the world-historical phenomenon or a kind of “ideal type” (see M. Weber). Within this approach, nationalism has its roots, origin, growth stages and time boundaries and coincides in the main characteristics, wherever it takes place (J. Armstrong, L. Greenfeld, E. Smith, E. Hobsbaugh, M. Hroch).

For supporters of the historical approach (methodologically it is a mixture of Weberian positivism and Marxist historical determinism) nationalism is generated by nations that appear to be a powerful social and historical reality. Depending on what is understood by the nation, there are two main types of nationalism; ethnonationalism is usually understood as a form of collectivist-authoritarian ideology and civilian nationalism as a form of nation-building. Recently, there has been an apology for ethnonationalism as “liberal nationalism” or as a form of national revival and self-determination (U. Konnor, M.Lind, J.Tamir).

The historical approach is adjoined by the interpretation of nationalism that links this phenomenon to the modernization process and treats it as a condition for modernization (E.Gellner) or as a result of failed modernization. A constructivist approach that interprets nationalism as a kind of mechanism for the reconceptualization of a political community that previously could be categorized as an empire, a colonial administration or a tribal formation (B.Anderson) is adjacent to this direction. Modern opponents of this approach are scholars of Asian and African countries who trace “indigenous” nationalism in their countries to the emergence of modern nations and civil nationalism, such as the Indian times, J. Nehru and I. Gandhi (P. Chatarji).

Changes in the interpretation of nationalism in the Western scientific tradition occurred under the influence of geopolitical transformations after the Cold War, gl.o. in the form of politicized concepts of the “collapse of the empire” and “triumph of nations” (E. Carrer d’Ancoss). Some political philosophers have made a radical revision of the doctrine of self-determination and the concept of “nationality” in favor of their ethnic meaning (D. Miller). In Russian social science, in the development of problems of nationalism, the tradition of studying “bourgeois” nationalism as an ideology and practice of subordination of some nations to others, like the preaching of national exclusivity and superiority, or numerous essays of a parascientific and even racist character, are being dominated by the development of nationalism problems. National elites, including representatives of Russian ethnonationalism. In general, the concept of “nationalism” demonstrates the nature of an elite political project and its operational significance for science is increasingly becoming doubtful. Nationalism can be regarded as a meta-category of “everyday” political and scientific thinking, as a certain discursive practice in the system of relations of power in modern states and the system of relations between power and knowledge.

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Tags: Western Philosophy
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