Archive for November, 2009

An interesting report on rising nationalist sentiments in China, especially among younger people,  was heard today on the Radio 4 Today show.  A small sample gives the flavour:

It is the sound of China’s stirring underground. Li Xin and his group Ordinance are at the radical edge of Chinese music. Their latest album, Rock City, has been banned from the airwaves.

The lyrics criticise the government, they tell of democracy, corruption. They say: “Taiwan is ours, Tibet is ours. Compromising with the United States and Japan is a disgrace”.

“Our lyrics are aimed at our government,” says Li Xin.

The piece is written from a perspective of ‘western’ anxiety about these developments, but the phenomenon is none the less real and interesting.  For more go to:

China’s rising nationalism troubles West


On the same page you can find a video clip link in which: “Action hero Jackie Chan has appeared in a TV campaign to boost feelings of Chinese nationalism in Hong Kong.”

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Liah Greenfeld’s approach to nationalism looks at the processes of modernisation, specifically the construction and reproduction of ideas and symbols as a driving force of nationalism, pinpointing its origins in the economic and democratic development of English society. She argues it is often an elite project which strives to achieve popular sovereignty and equality.

An interesting case study is Quebec, which was recently recognized by the Canadian government as ‘a nation within a united Canada’.

The area now known as Quebec was first settled by the French and later came under English rule. The Quebec Act of 1774 allowed the French living under the English Empire to practice their religion, speak the French language and implement French Civil Law.

Quebec nationalism has a history almost as long as the province itself, developing in opposition to English Canada and its growing influence and power. The link below provides an interesting background on the development and history of Quebec nationalism.


Between 1960 and 1966, Quebec underwent a process of modernisation, moving away from its traditional conservative and religious roots to a more open, liberal and secular society. This social and economic transformation, called the Quiet Revolution, sparked the modern nationalist movement in Quebec that has had both violent and political manifestations, as well as calls for a sovereign independent Quebec state.  The attached link provides a good overview of the Quiet Revolution and its impact on Quebec nationalism.


The Quiet Revolution can be seen as an example of a rapid process of modernisation, in which symbols and images of Quebec as a distinct and sovereign nation separate from the rest of Canada were developed and politicised. Elements of Greenfeld’s concepts of ethnic, civic and collective nationalism can be seen within the example of Quebec. Is then the next step, following Greenfeld, the establishment of a popular sovereign state?

In 2006, the Canadian Parliament passed a bill recognizing Quebec as a nation within Canada.


What is the significance of this recognition of Quebecers as a nation? Can you have a distinct nation within a state?

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Walker Connor has said that Nationalism and Patriotism are often confused. We want to use the examples of Castilla and England to evoke some class discussion on the topic.

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What it means to be English: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Hai2oKlaxw&feature=related

Walker Connor  has acknowledged the difficulty in pin-pointing with accuracy the emergence of a National Consciousness and indeed it may be fruitless to try and do so. For Connor what is important is the shared Psychological bond that occurs between members of a Nation. This shared idea of a Nation gives the nation its existence.  History, culture, language etc. are only importent in the way they enhance this feeling.

For More information on English Nationalism click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_nationalism

For an historical account of the English as an ethnic group and a nation click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_people

There has been a revival of English National Consciousness since the latter part of the  20th Century. This has been due in large part to increased National awareness on the part of the other Brittish Nations. In a recent poll although six out of ten English voters say they feel Brittish, fifty nine percent would say they are English if asked by a foreigner. This must point to some notion of kinship or identification with the English people.  Nearly Sixty percent of those asked feel the Brittish union will be gone within fifty years. Can this account for the increasing identification with Englishness? This poll shows that although the majority of English people asked feel the Brittish Union should stay, they still identify with being English.

To see an article on this poll click here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1571971/We-love-Britain-but-Unions-future-is-uncertain.html

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Walker Connor clearly makes the distinction between nationalism and patriotism.  The former is defined as a “loyalty to one’s national group” while the latter is “[loyalty] to one’s state and its institutions” (Connor, 1994). He also states that one nation only exists when people within a community define themselves as so. Accordingly, the consciousness of being a nation is the most important factor of nationhood. Likewise, tangible elements – language, religion, culture,… – are only used to strengthen the sense of common ancestry. Furthermore, Connor claims that nationalism is a mass movement.

With this theoretical framework, we want to approach the Castilian nationalism this week. Castile is one of the ancient nations within the Spanish state.  Back in the early 16th century, the Castilian Kingdom was ruled by Charles I, who had also become the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Then he moved to Central Europe and he left a Flemish regent to rule the Castilian Kingdom. This fact and also the increase of taxes led to a revolt of the Castilian peasants against the foreign rule. This is the main historical episode in which Castilian nationalism is based on.


As in all the other nations within the Spanish state, there is a nationalist movement which claims the independence of Castile. Moreover, they also insist that Spain is only a state and not a nation. In this video you can watch some examples of Castilian nationalist slogans such as “Free Castile”, “Madrid is Castile” or “Independence”. You can also hear the Castilian national anthem.

castilla erase
(Join the fight, do not let them erase your identity)

Further knowledge about Castilian nationalism can be found here

However, Castilian nationalism has very few supporters. In fact, most of the Castilian people feel themselves only as Spanish. So, they believe that their nation is Spain. But, according to Connor, who considers Castile a nation (Connor 1994), this loyalty that most Castilians have towards Spain is actually patriotism. So, if Castilians feel that they belong to the Spanish nation, are they Spanish nationalists or Spanish patriots?

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