Nation and nationalism is maybe one of the most difficult terms to define in political sciences

Nation and nationalism is maybe one of the most difficult terms to define in political sciences. The term nation is a fairly new concept, and this is paradoxical because most nationalisms consider nations to be a very old reality narrating a common historical memory. Nations are based on the fact that they exist on themselves: the self-affirmative quality of nations explains why they do not have to justify their existence outside the concept of nation (Renan, X) – an idea also developed by famous Anderson’s imagined communities (Anderson, X) highlighting the will, conception and desire as integral parts of nations. But what, then, is nationalism? Many authors ask themselves is nationalism is just a mere reflection of national feeling (or the national feeling itself) or if indeed should be studied as something that goes beyond that (Kecmanovic, 1996). Authors have tried to define it going from Hayes’ original nationalism, Kohn’s political rational nationalism, Royce’s open nationalism, to Berke’s destructive nationalism, Smith’s civic-territorial nationalism and Nodia’s ethnic nationalism, among an infinite amount of approaches and definitions of the term. Trying to find some common ground is difficult, but some general conclusions will attempt to be reached at the end of this part.

First, Hayes (1960) defines nationalism as a synthesis of patriotism with a realization and awareness of nationality. Haas has described it as a civil religion that defines a core set of values and that thus creates predictability in society (Haas, 1986), while Smith (1971) has focused on how nationalism is ‘fraternity and equality among citizens’, a sense of unity and uniqueness as compared to otherness, and as an attempt to gain international power and expand the territorial limits of the nation state. Plamenatz (1975) strengthens this idea by stating nationalism is something to preserve uniqueness in a time of threat. This goes in line with the understanding that a fundamental key property of any social category (i.e. nationalism) is that it is exclusory by nature (Kecmanovic, 1996), and unless there is an ‘other’, any distinction is meaningless (Bhabha, X; Hegel, X).

Second, Both Kohn (1961) and Snyder (1964) agree that nationalism did not appear before the eighteenth century. According to them, it was born in a moment of need to strengthen sovereignty and unity, to build rationales for nation states under common values of freedom, would overthrow illegitimate, ‘divine’ governments (Kohn, 1972). Nationalism is modern, according to Haas (1986), because it highlights concepts of identity and individuality, strengthening connections with others in a context of impersonality, guided by common acceptance of values, which permits some degrees of stability, harmony and peaceful transformation and change. However, although on the one side nationalism builds a common sense of unity and purpose, uniqueness and proudness of a community, it has also been widely used to misinterpret, and rewrite history for the purpose of political gain (Kamenka, 1975). It is meaningful and important to establish differences between civil nationalisms (based on voluntaristic citizenry) and ethnic nationalism (which is inherent, and usually qualifies as integral, negative and thus in Kaemanka’s lines), and the distinctions between democratic (that is, based on the individual person and its freedom) and authoritarian nationalisms (highlighting collective and state rights), this latter heavily contrasting Kohn’s, Snyder’s and Haas’ stress on individuality and freedom in the western revolutionary context.

Third, Snyder (1964) highlights the importance of the mind, and the fact that nationalism is a feeling or a sentiment between a group of people that share some common attributes or loyalties (i.e. geographical area, literature, language, tradition and even origin). But yielding on such concepts, although used by certain types of nationalism, is extremely dangerous. Nationalism can be understood as an ideology, a political and historical process, based on mass phycology. If we were to find common ground among other scholars, the view that nationalism is a sense of collectiveness that draws people together to be more loyal to the nation, overriding other loyalties, would be the most fundamental trait of nationalism (Alter, 1989; Dogan, 1994; Emerson, 1960; Morgenthau, 1948). Nationalism would be, therefore, a mental, cognitive artifact used to describe or limit an intellectual universe. Indeed, nationalism is the conjunction of territorial and regime loyalty irrespective of other competing associations, such as language, religion, labour class, ethnicity or kindship (Haas, 1986).

From the short paragraphs above, it is possible to reach 3 preliminary common grounds:
• A first general approach to nationalism would be to understand it a sense of uniqueness and unity in front of otherness. Nationalism isolates and creates mutually exclusive societies thus seemingly creating a more bellicose world (Haas, 1986) or, at least, a predisposition for self-interest in international affairs.
• Second, it is difficult or impossible to generalize nationalism as drawing from values of individuality, freedom and emancipation from ‘divine’ governments, as this heavily contrasts with other types of nationalisms. Nationalism is, therefore, highly context sensitive, and the best way to understand it (and the problems it creates) is through understanding how societies interact with the inside and outside world (Haymes, 1997).
• Third, if we were to find common ground, nationalism is a sense of collectiveness that draws people to be more loyal to the nation irrespective of other competing loyalties (although these other loyalties can be defined and strengthened by ethnic nationalisms, the most powerful one is always the national one).


Is globalization a new point of view or a new process of human kind? Globalization has long history, ranging from the Greeks and the Romans, to interconnections between Europe and Asia through the silk road in the pre-capitalist world, periods of exploration and colonization (most notably, the British Empire) and the spread of industrialization and the development of new technologies (such as the train, steamships and telegraphs). But, why globalization now? Changes in the political sphere after the end of the Cold War in the 1990s; technological changes related to the Third Industrial Revolution and the Information Age (the network society described by Castells, 2000); a new economic order based on post-Fordist forms of production, a new international division of labour and new international hierarchies; the condition of postmodernity (Harvey, 1991); and new cultural and social realities (such as the homogenization of food, customs, habits and behaviour, together with global media and new migration flows and transnational populations) all explain why there is a greater sense of globalization now. However, what is globalization?

Globalization has been widely defined by a broad range of authors, and has had many different approaches based on distinctive theoretical perspectives (Marxism, Weberianism, functionalism, postmodernism, critical and feminist theory). For Robertson (1992), for example, ‘globalization is a concept that refers to the compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole’. Some common ground can be found in describing globalization as a process that alters, quickens the pace of transformation and social change in the world, and that increasingly connects people’s from all over the world. This is very well exemplified by David Harvey’s ‘time-space compression’ in The Condition of Postmodernity. As a whole, and taking into account the differences in scope and domains distinctive definitions possess, globalization can be most commonly described increased connectivity on cultural, economic, social and political relations across borders.

How globalization relates to nationalism is an issue of inquiry, complex and ambiguous. Questions arise to understand if globalization is weakening nationalism, if they are mutually reinforcing processes, or if globalization has increased nationalism. Kilminster (1997) defines globalization as a ‘process whereby the population of the world is increasingly bonded into a single society’. If this definition holds true, it would be under the framework of the first argument: globalization diminishes the role of nationalism in domestic politics. After the end of the Cold War, many have celebrated the end of a nation state centric international system (that of the Treaty of Westphalia) and praised the emergence of a new world led by forces of globalization and regionalization. Arguments stress both, the ineffectiveness and obsoletness of states in a globalized world. As a result of neoliberal practices, globalization has led states to be ‘indifferent’ in front of forces of globalization, ‘captive in the networks of the global market’ (Kacowicz, 1999). Moreover, it may look like the state is obsolete: nation-states have proven not to be able to solve transnational, global issues such as a climate change and terrorism, not to be prepared by greater global interconnectedness (global economic crisis) and further diluted with the rise of transnational and global civil societies and identifications between peoples across different borders (Kacowicz, 1999).. Is the state useful in the contemporary environment of world politics?

A second argument would be to study and understand them as mixed, mutually reinforcing processes. The state has become sandwiched from both, internal forces (domestic politics) and international realities led by globalization forces. Nonetheless, in front of the global economy, transnational movements and a rising global civil society, greater interdependence and rising global issues that transcend borders and the rights of sovereignty, the state is still the only international actor capable at regulating social, political and economic realities at both, the state level and internationally (with its obvious complexities) (Kacowicz, 1999). All these issues are certainly posing challenges and eroding the state role of international affairs, but also provide some opportunities for states to take the lead and become the solution for current global problems, thus maintaining their privileged position. The argument holds that globalization is a result of nation states themselves, increasing cooperation with the exterior world, and that different forms of national formation and nationalism have been strengthened (i.e. globalized) because of globalization.

Lastly, some authors believe globalization may be leading the emergence of new nationalistic politics. Within a world based on nation-states, nations have a more pronounced tendency to become worlds in their own, searching lines of distinctiveness and differentiation built in new global conditions (Arnason, 1990). External conditions, thus, may affect the dynamics of nationalism. Can global processes such as the possible de-stabilizing effects of a capitalist global economy in local environments and increased migration flows and exposure to cultures increase nationalism? May globalization itself be a force for de-globalization? (Halikiopoulou, Vasilopoulou, 2011). In different experiments, authors showed how citizens that are exposed to products that are from foreign cultures not only increase their awareness about cultural differences, but also their sensitivities of cultural irreconcilability, even reacting defensively (Torelli et al, 2011). This goes in line with Mark Movsesian (2016) argument that neo nationalism fight against global liberal forces were the most important, rising ideology in politics in 2016, exemplified by Bolsonari in Brazil, Brexit, President Trump in the United States, Duterte in the Philipinnes, Conte in Italy, and Orbán in Hungary, and Xi Jinping in China as some examples.