Below are some ideas Group 1 came up with for the final class discussion, informal in nature. Please comment with additions, amendments, agreements and disagreements!
— Understanding nationalism and its effects are even more important in a globalizing world, not less. As financial systems, information technologies, and foreign policies become more intertwined in the global world, nations, their motivations and agendas are more, not less relevant. [Kate]
— At its broadest, nationalism is the study of identity. Despite the changing dynamics of the world order, the desire to belong to a specific community is never erased and always relevant. Nationalism studies provides a unique, interdisciplinary look at identity and its effects and the interrelationship between economics, politics, culture and religion in forming identities. [Kate]
— Nationalism is increasingly important and still the source of many conflicts throughout the world. If we are to understand these wars and conflicts it is important that we have a grasp of the specific forces which give rise to it [Katrina].
— Nationalism is pervasive and nearly universal; its negative connotation need not be completely eliminated – after all, negative forms of nationalism continue to exist – but rather this connotation should be complemented with a positive meaning, one that represents the nationalism that many see as a noble and just cause. This programme will show that nationalism as a field of study is not as specific as one might imagine, but instead it is a study broadly relevant to so many sociological, political, religious and economic issues that dominate today’s headlines [Brandon].
What are the new emerging issues that need to be addressed within the context of nationalism studies?
– Devolution, and the direction that nations within states like the UK are going. What is the best solution for scenarios like this, a federalist system, an uneven distribution of devolved powers as currently exists, or perhaps an eventual dissolution of the UK? [Brandon]
– Agreeing with Brandon, the study of nationalism will be focused less on the creation of new states (as it was with the dissolution of the Soviet Union), but rather how to handle multiple, complex national identities existing alongside each other in single states. [Kate]
– Macro- and micro-identities: Is a European identity competing against national (regional, local) identities, or can micro-identities simply be embedded in larger ones? [Chris]
– Going off what Chris said above, an interesting new element to nationalism is the use of large regional entities such as the EU by smaller stateless nations such as Wales/Scotland/Catalonia/Flanders in order to gain legitimacy in the international community. The irony that small nations are using a large regional actor to gain momentum for more autonomy should not be lost [Brandon].
– Nationalism and Religion. Following our lecture with Michael Rosie and the current growth of Islamic movements (and other religious groups) eg. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, it seems that religion and nationalism are becoming more intertwined in certain parts of the world. We have talked a lot about measures taken in France to preserve a secular state – this has a direct impact on how people conceptualize ‘Frenchness’ [Katrina].
Are there new ‘hot spots’, or neglected areas, either geographically, or theoretically?
– English nationalism? This is already being addressed as the so-called “dog that didn’t bark”, and I think the rise of Scottish and Welsh nationalism warrant additional research into the English response (or lack thereof) [Brandon].
– Disconnect / Dissonance between nationalism in Europe (West/North) and Africa. More attention could be paid to finding patterns and examining past and future of nationalism in Africa. [Kate]
– Nationalism studies became an academically relevant topic largely through the dissolution of the Soviet Union and rise of resulting new states. Middle East is and will remain geographical hot spot for what we think of as traditional nationalism for the foreseeable future. [Kate].
– Continuing what Kate said about Middle East and with the readings we’ve done for Middle Eastern class, it would be interesting to observe if the revolutions in those countries will lead to a more nationalist state structure or if they will be closer to a pan-Arabist movement. (Ceren)
– I think the article that Kate posted on the blog regarding nations without states deserves more academic attention eg. Kosovo. I also think the Kurdish question is an interesting one, especially given the instability in the Middle East [Katrina].
– As mentioned, the Middle East is a must for this century. It will most likely be the “century of the people” as Professor Saouli recently said. At the same time, Africa should not be ignored. As Hearn points out, the economic “south” has “remained relatively powerless in the global political economy”, leaving what I believe is a great opportunity to study emerging nationalisms within the continent. Specifically, more studies regarding the identity and nationalism of refugees would be interesting and relevant [Brandon].
What do you think we need to know more about and what kinds of interdisciplinary work might be especially fruitful?
– It would be beneficial to look at nationalism through an international relations lens, determining whether one must have a constructivist perspective when studying nationalism, or whether realism can accommodate the subject while still taking the role of identity seriously. [Brandon]
– Nationalism and economics: Assuming that the EU is more and more developing to a transfer union (in which economically stronger members finance weaker ones), what role plays a common identity in the willingness of specific groups to make (financial) concessions in favor of other ones? [Chris]
– The effect of different languages in the same state, i.e. can mulitlingual states maintain their stability or are they doomed to fail? (Ceren)
– Psychology – National identity is a powerful social construct and can be a highly emotive force. Anderson and others touch on this but there seems remarkably little interdisciplinary cooperation here given that it is such a fundamental part of personal and social identity for many people [Katrina].
– Social Anthropology. It was helpful to get a grass roots perspective when studying the indigenous cultures that form nations. Particularly interesting articles were ‘The Cult of Ataturk’, ‘The People’s Princess’ (Diana), the annual rituals of Francois Mitterand and concepts of sovereignty…etc. [Katrina].
– Postmodernism – As Hearn points out, postmodernists are skeptical of nations and nationalism, viewing them as “illusory”. I think theoretical research should be taken in order to prove that (my opinion) nations and nationalism are quite real phenomena. As Hearn says, though, they will be transformed over time [Brandon].