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Archive for October, 2014

First of all, we’d like to remind you that next Tuesday we welcome Marc di Tommasi from History here at Edinburgh who will give a talk entitled: Beyond the ghetto narrative: Migrant housing in Edinburgh before the First World War (see abstract below).

Date: 4 Nov. 2014, 12:30-14:00
Venue: Chrystal Macmillan Building, Seminar room 5

Secondly we’re pleased to announce that Laura Jeffery, lecturer and ESRC research fellow in Social Anthropology (UoE), will give a seminar on 2 December, entitled: ‘We don’t want to be sent back and forth all the time’: Chagossian reflections on compulsion and choice in a context of forced displacement, onward migration, and prospective return

Date: 2 December 2014, 12:30-14:00
Venue: Chrystal Macmillan Building, Seminar Room 5

All are welcome at both seminars, and we look forward to seeing you there.

Best wishes,

Alistair and Sophia,
Coordinators, Migration & Citizenship Research Group

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About Marc di Tommasi’s talk:

Focusing on the city of Edinburgh this research re-evaluates the impact of migrants using a comparative, quantitative and spatial approach. Using 1911 census data, migrant households have been reconstructed providing a new estimation of the effective number of migrants. Rather than focusing on a single community, this research compares all the different migrant groups giving context and weight to the analysis. Moreover, using a Geographic Information System (GIS), patterns of settlement are reconstructed and compared to the migrants’ social conditions.

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Liah Greenfeld- Week 7

Introduction on Greenfeld

In The Spirit of Capitalism, Liah Greenfeld seeks an explanation for the economic consciousness central in modern societies. Just like Weber, Greenfeld sees the permanent hunger of economic growth as one of the main characteristics of the economic consciousness in modern societies.

As the title of her book suggests, Greenfeld takes a Weberian approach to explain this. However, she disagrees with Weber and alters his theory of the Protestant Ethic in a fundamental way. It is not ascetic Protestantism and its ethic but nationalism that has been the driving force behind the take-off of modern capitalism (Greenfeld 2001). In an eloquent and interdisciplinary way Greenfeld elaborately investigates the link between the emergence of nationalism and the modern economy in England and the subsequent spread of nationalism and modernity throughout the World.

According to Greenfeld, nationalism explains the commitment to economic growth because it promotes international competition. Members of a nation feel invested in the dignity of the nation and want contribute to the nation’s prestige (Greenfeld 2001:23). This prestige is “necessarily assessed in relation to the status of other nations”, making competitiveness with other nations central to nationalism (ibidem). Greenfeld accordingly sees economic growth as a race between nations with a ‘forever receding finish line’ (ibid.).

This view on economic nationalism could shed an interesting light on the Eurosceptic rhetoric being used in British media and among Eurosceptic parties.

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CASE STUDY 1!!!

The Bill from Brussels

As you might have read in the news last week, some European leaders were unpleasantly surprised by a bill from the European Commission considering their contribution to the EU budget (Guardian Online 2014). EU contribution is based on the growth and size of the member states’ national economies. New measurement techniques approved by representatives of all EU member state have recently been implemented and used by Eurostat to measure national economies (ibid.).

Some member states’ economies turned out to be considerately bigger or smaller than hitherto thought. Accordingly, the European Commission corrected the contribution member states have to pay in arrears. It appears some states including Britain and the Netherlands have not been paying their fair share to the EU budget, while others, most notably, France and Germany have been paying too much. As a result, the UK has been presented a 2.1 billion euros bill, due to be paid by the 1st of December with the Netherlands and Italy facing bills of about 600 million and 340 million euros respectively. Meanwhile, France and Germany get rebates of up to 1 billion euros (BBC News 2014).

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The tabloid media and politicians in the UK framed this issue in an economical nationalist fashion. The Daily Mail reported that Britain paying for the ‘struggling French economy’ is ‘madness’, displaying how national success is being measured by economic growth in an economic nationalist tone (Daily Mail 2014a,b). The Daily Express too reported that France gets a rebate “because it’s economy has performed so poorly” (Express Online 2014). Even the BBC spoke of “winners” and “losers” among European nations (BBC News 2014). The British media use a competitive economical tone by juxtaposing the growing British economy with the ‘struggling’ French economy. This tone has been common in Eurosceptic discourse, especially during the Eurocrisis. Eurosceptic politicians in the North of Europe have often argued that the North is paying for the struggling economies of the South, thereby using economical nationalist rhetoric (Deutsche Welle, 2014). Another economic nationalist example is the demand of Eurosceptic parties to revert back to their pre-Euro currency (de Volkskrant, 2012). The UKIP logo with its Pound Sterling symbol is also interesting in this respect.

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There are two discussion points springing from this. The first is that we might see a reflection of economic nationalism in Eurosceptic rhetoric, with last week’s anger in the British tabloids as a prime example. The second point following this, is that the EU’s competitiveness might be harmed by the fact that there is a lack of a European identity. Just like Greenfeld argued that the economically hegemonic Dutch republic in the seventeenth century could not take-off into modernity because Dutch identity was too diffuse (Greenfeld, 2001: 97), we might argue that the EU cannot successfully economically compete with the US, China and Japan because of a lack of European identity. People are not willing to contribute to the prestige of the EU, but rather work for the prestige of their own nation. This leads to competition with other European nations, instead of effective European competition with other world powers.

Q: Is economic nationalism an impediment to the formation of a European identity? And is economic nationalism hindering a competitive European economic policy?

References:

Literature:
Greenfeld, L. (1993) ‘Transcending the Nation’s Worth’ Daedalus 122(3): 47-62.

Greenfeld, L. (2001) The Spirit of Capitalism, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

Media

BBC News (2014). “UK caught up in new EU budget row”, October 24th. Date accessed: 27th of October 2014. Link: http://bbc.in/1tBIaTM

Daily Mail (2014a) “Furious Cameron warns Britain is closer to leaving the EU after Brussels ‘thumps’ UK with ‘appalling’ bill for an extra £1.7billion to prop up struggling European nations”, October 23rd Date accessed: 27th of October 2014. Link: http://dailym.ai/1rsC3M0

Daily Mail (2014b), “ Making Britain pay £1.7billion for France’s economic failure is ‘madness’, says a former FRENCH trade minister”, October 26th. Date accessed: 27th of October 2014. Link: http://dailym.ai/ZYdJLv

Deutsche Welle (2014) “Euroskeptic AfD cements place in German politics, for now” September 15th. Date accessed: 27th of October 2014. Link: http://bit.ly/1szvFmh

De Volkskrant (2012) “Wilders: Het kán, Nederland kan terug naar de gulden”, March 4th. Date accessed: 27th of October 2014. Link: http://bit.ly/1szxdwP

 Express Online (2014) “’Completely unacceptable’: David Cameron REFUSES to pay £1.7bn to boost EU coffers”, October 24th. Date accessed: 27th of October 2014. Link: http://dexpr.es/ZYbI1H

Guardian Online (2014) “David Cameron refuses to pay £1.7bn EU bill by 1 December deadline” October 24th. Date accessed: 27th of October 2014. Link: http://bit.ly/1FSDePB

CASE STUDY 2!!!

Liah Greenfeld, in the first page of the introduction to her book “The Spirit of Capitalism”, immediately highlights this: “My central thesis is that the factor responsible for the reorientation of economic activity toward growth is nationalism, and that the unprecedented position of the economic sphere in the modern consciousness is a product of the dynamics of American society, in turn shaped by the singular characteristics of American nationalism.”. She posits this thesis in opposition to the structuralist approach, which according to her has been dominant in the last half century, which holds in great value economical processes, such as industrialization and the growth of capitalism, leaving in shadows or labeling as secondary every other aspect, such as social relations, political institutions and especially culture, which, as Greenfeld states, is by the structuralists “believed to be the farthest removed from the material objectivity of economics, and therefore the least important”.

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To show how culture, nationalism and a shared identity can provide the motivations to start and fuel a social and prominently economical revolution, the process leading to Meiji Restoration in Japan, and its effects in the immediate future, appears to be one of the best examples. The historical and cultural shock of seeing the four technologically advanced American warships commanded by commodore Perry in the bay of Edo in 1853, and the humiliation of not being able to fight them back, is often identified as one of the main causes of Japanese uprising nationalist pride which lead to the Meiji restoration, and the moment in which the Japanese people realized it was time to develop a modern capitalist economy to be able to compete with the more advanced western countries.

The Japanese nationalism is therefore born in reaction to this sense of powerlessness when compared to the American military and economic power, and can be related to what Rostow calls “reactive nationalism”. The only way to be able to compete against the West and gain power in the Asian area was to eliminate the obsolete Tokugawa shogunate, and develop a modern capitalist economy, able to sustain a powerful army to enable the Japanese people to obtain what they were aiming for, international recognition and dignity, and a predominant role in East Asia.

Until then, the Japanese people had a shared identity as “the people leaving in Japan” and opposed to others, as we can see in the myth of the Kamikaze (literally “divine wind”), that blew away the Mongolian army in thirteenth century, but was still socially and politically divided in feudal domains ruled by different daimyos. It’s not a case that the two domains that lead the restoration were Choshu, probably the richest one, and Satsuma, another domain which flourished trading with the Europeans and had a big weapons importer from Scotland, Thomas Glover, which guaranteed them wealth and military power, not to mention contact with European culture.

After a surprisingly quick war, the shogun was defeated in 1868 and the new Japanese state was on one hand built around the restored Emperor’s prestige, seen as a God leading its people towards their destiny, retaining therefore strong cultural roots digging deep in national history, on the other hand, remarkable efforts were made under any point of view, a new constitution was wrote following the German Bismarckian example, and the old rural economy was converted in an extremely functional capitalist system, a powerful army was built on the model of western ones, with technologically advanced ships and weapons, and in 1905 Japan was already able to clearly defeat Russia, imposing itself to the world as the first non-western military and economical power with no fear of competing with Europe and America.

The prestige gained defeating the Russian army wasn’t only economical, but more importantly cultural, as it washed away the shame and the inferiority complex from 1853, and projected Japan towards the future that was felt like natural by its people and the divine Emperor.

This culture-led revolution clearly shows how social and cultural elements of nationalism can inspire economical changes and growth, and economical and especially military power can later on become elements of pride for a nation, making nationalist identity stronger. Japan’s example endorse Greenfeld’s thesis, and is by herself used: the Meiji spirit is identified as the “spirit” of Japanese identity and capitalism, it’s not a case that we can find the same pride and will to work hard at the basis of the post-war Japanese economic miracle, it has its roots in Japanese national culture.

CASE STUDY 3!!!

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Liah Greenfeld argues in Mind, Modernity, Madness that people are more likely to have mental diseases such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression (beyond an individual’s biological and genetic pre-disposition) caused by early-modern nationalism. Greenfeld, a well known early-modernist, states that during the wake of modernity, “God became defunct; with God defunct, man becomes the ruler of the universe.” Therefore the anxiety of man’s success and outcomes are in his own control and not of a higher power- creating more stress, self-responsibility and a new social construct of what the individual should be. Greenfeld also states that she conceptualized her theoretical framework in reference to Durkheim’s concept of “anomie” which was his term for when “the inability of a culture to provide individuals within it with consistent guidance.” This is referring to the lack of consistent guidance people had once they stopped being entirely reliant on God. Further, she defines ambition and love as two central examples of this new found sovereignty that man suddenly had available to him in the modern era.

She describes the progression of ‘madness’ (the terms used for mental illness during 17th century and until late 20th century) beginning to occur in England and France during the 16th century. At this point in history the concept of “social climbers” arose and qualifiers such as “good”, “bad,” “success” and “failure” were starting to be used in describing individuals. Greenfeld explains that English colonists who traveled to America transplanted this ‘madness’ and their concept of individualism and ‘the self’ during America’s gestation when it was still colonies and through out it’s process of establishing itself as it’s own, separate country.

Without any surprise my case study is mental illness, with a specific focus on depression, in America.

In spite of the United States being one of the world’s most developed and economically thriving countries (and some of it residents claiming it to be the most superior country in the world), it is the world’s most depressed country. Yes, more depressed than countries experiencing major wars, disease and famine! So why are Americans so depressed? Do doctors agree with Greenfeld that it’s a nasty case of pre-modernist nationalism?

Dr. Mel Schwartz, psychotherapist says “Many of us live dulled lives, somewhat robotic in nature and devoid of deeper meaning and purpose. Our lives, often become visionless and passionless. We live in an intensely competitive culture that rewards achievement and success. Our identity and esteem become reflections of these external markers of achievement. Our pursuit of happiness and well-being become terribly misdirected. The demands of our intensely and neurotically driven culture strain our emotional and psychological balance well beyond its comfortable balance.”

His analysis does reflect Greenfeld’s theoretical framework in terms of acknowledging people’s feelings of anomie in regards to extreme individualistic social culture, America’s focus on ambition and the social construction of failure and success acting as an agent that spread the plague of ‘madness’ in America.

Additionally, with 50% of first marriages, 67% of second marriages and 74% of third marriages ending in divorce in America, it is no surprise that relationships (LOVE) is a stressor; though it may not be active agent in causing depression. Moreover, 8 out of 10 Americans also feel stressed because of their jobs; this may vary in some degree regarding low paying income, fear of being let go or heavier work loads than they find manageable. There are even studies conducted that reveal which career paths in America are associated the highest rates of depression (AMBITION).

In concluding this case study I have one crucial question for all of you…This question being: Does the historical event of early-modern nationalism first affecting England and later on making its way to US really explain Americans’ depression or are they simply correlated???

LINKS:

http://www.divorcepad.com/rate/

http://www.alastairhumphreys.com/worlds-depressed-nation/

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20428990,00.html

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shift-mind/201203/is-our-society-manufacturing-depressed-people

http://globenewswire.com/news-release/2013/04/09/536945/10027728/en/Workplace-Stress-on-the-Rise-With-83-of-Americans-Frazzled-by-Something-at-Work.html

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Week 6: Benedict Anderson

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Introduction to Benedict Anderson

In one of Benedict Anderson’s most well known and well circulated texts, Imagined Communities he puts forth the following definition of the nation, in the context of nationalism: “it is an imagined political community – and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign (page 6).” The key concept here is the imagined community, which Anderson conceptualizes as a population of people who identify as being part of a nation but cannot possibly all know each other.

It is important to note as well his inclusion of the term limited. He uses this terminology because “even the largest of them, encompassing perhaps a billion living human beings, has finite, if elastic, boundaries, beyond which lie other nations. No nation imagines itself coterminous with mankind (page 7).” In this sense there lies an important concept of the ‘other’ or ‘outsider’ who are decidedly not part of the nation.

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Following these basic principles Anderson argues that the basis for nationalism lies in the emergence of the following:

  • Print & Print-Capitalism: Created a connectivity based on reading the same texts, publications and vernacular print despite not knowing others who speak the same fixed language there is solidarity.
  • Communication and technology: The spread of ideas unified the mass public, this has only expanded since the days of publications as mass media – specifically Anderson points to radio as described in Exodus (page 321).
  • Language and linguistic nationalism: The shift to vernacular speech in print allowed for the early 19th century European nations to subscribe to what Anderson describes in Western Nationalism and Eastern Nationalism as: “The underlying belief was that each true nation was marked off by its own peculiar language and literary culture, which together expressed that people’s historical genius (page 40).”
  • Long distance nationalism: The idea that areas outside of ones state boundaries can be part of their nation, this is best examined by looking at Mary Rowlandson’s description of missing what she called England (in Massachusetts), page 60 of Long-Distance Nationalism by Benedict Anderson.

Through these concepts we can see that Anderson’s descriptions of the emergence of nationalism are based off of a core set of ideas that encompass a wide variety of intertwined topics, from capitalism to print to language. Our group has come up with three cases where we show the strengths and weaknesses of Anderson’s theory.

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 The Gulf as Imagined Communities

a) How is nationalism sustained where it has been created?

The Arab Gulf states could be applicable to Anderson’s theory of imagined communities and Gellner’s concept of creating a nation where it does not exist. These states flourished into being as a reaction the British colonial campaign. The Middle East was sliced amongst the European colonial states, and when it was time to turn to the Arab Gulf, the British had been too distraught from the war debts to delve into the process of full colonisation. Therefore, the states saw it as an opportunity to unite, there were multiple negotiations which included forging Bahrain and the Trucial states into one nation and also to include Qatar, but no result was ever satisfactory to suit all. Finally, it was decided the Trucial states would become the United Arab Emirates, while Bahrain and Qatar proceeded to declare their own states. Since these states don’t rely much on historical myths and pre-modern existence (the western definition of modern, since it could be argued that tangible modernity did not effectively begin in this region until the 20th century) it could be argued that the national narratives of an imagined community and the sheer necessity to maintain peace in a region that is continuously under threat is precisely how they sustain nationalism.

b) Threats against boundaries

To begin with, in order to establish the state, the threat of colonisation had already been recognised and reacted upon. The drive to unite the smaller units that had been previously installed by the British was imperative in order to declare a nation with a united front that could face the colonialists. Till today, the threat to its boundaries from the neighbouring Middle Eastern countries brings forth the need to maintain a nationality that is uniting and solidifying, not simply between a single state and its people, but even among the states and their people as well.

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c) Political legitimation and emotional power

The threat to the boundary as Anderson has explained is when ethnic identities are brought to the forefront; it is when people become territorial and defensive of what they consider belongs to them. This in turn reminds them that they are to unify with those within their territory and exclude all those who aren’t, this emphasis allows the inclusion of some specific ethnicities and the exclusion of a lot many others that are considered too far off. The states political legitimation came from the same emphasis on ethnic identity that was also used to evoke emotional attachments among the people. Since the society is organised based on tribes, it was no struggle in deciding who the most powerful of them was and would retain power over the other less powerful tribes, thus appointing a government. The emotional power was evoked using the people’s tribal culture and values, emphasising on terms such as dignity, honour and pride of their ethnicity and lifestyle. It was a form of ‘official nationalism’ as Anderson describes, one that was initiated from a top down direction.

d) Religious aspect – nation as a sacred community

The shared religion among the people of the region made the task of unifying much easier. The sanctity of the state was derived from the same religious values that governed the people themselves, they could see their religious values being reflected and adopted by the state hence assigning it both legitimacy and respectability. As the religion of the state and its people coincided, the task of gaining allegiance and loyalty was achieved. Not only was the state accepted, it was looked upon as a sacred community, a community that was religiously unified. Thus the community began to value its unity and solidarity and it became a religious duty to accept and co-exist with one another, and to direct faithfulness, loyalty and to uphold the promise with the state to always be its citizen. A promise witnessed by God.

e) Other imaginings must erode – dynastic or religious communities

The decline of the Ottoman Empire in addition to the decaying history of the caliphates created a power vacuum in the region. With an impending British Colonialism, the tribes of the Arab Gulf were eager to avoid foreign control and colonisation. Nationalist sentiments of unity and state were appealing to the people, in as much as they helped defer foreign colonisation. The power vacuum was quickly diffused by tribal elites who were respected and celebrated by their peers. The feelings of hostility that were harboured against the dying empire and the impending British imperialism were sufficient enough to convince the people of joining a different more independent imagination that placed them in a reality that spoke to them more effectively.

Questions to think about:

  • A nationalism that was carried out by the elites; who made them the elites of society when they were all tribes of either Bedouin or Coastal origins?
  • How can a state create an ethnocentric history that concentrated on the people exclusively?
  • How can it preserve this national narrative and imagined community in an area today considered one of the most politically unstable?

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A porcelain rhinoceros and German Bratwurst

This month The British Museum inaugurated a new exhibition about German history. It’s title: “Germany: Memories of a Nation.” In order to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Germany’s reunification the exhibition presents a different perspective on German history, or better said, the many histories of what came to be Germany. The purpose is to show that Germany is more then those “twelve dark years,” as Neil McGregor, director of the British Museum, puts it.

Displaying a variety of objects the curators try to draw an impression on topics with which “every German can relate”. Covering a period of six hundred years the exhibition seeks to articulate the relation between the political history, characterized by a vast heterogeneity of states and a indeterminacy of borders; the on-going quest of Germanness, especially after the fall of the Holy Roman Empire and after the Napoleonic era; technological leadership and the idea of the highest accomplishments in production, invention and art; and finally the question: “how was it possible?” (Interview Director Museum on Deutsche Welle)

a) Political heterogeneity

The variety and homogeneity of states is visualized through the display of the different coins used in every state. And if we were to look at a historical map of the so called German territory the historic reality of the indeterminacy of borders becomes evident. The first attempt at unification after the decay of the Holy Roman Empire was the German Confederation (1815-1866), an association of 39 German states, including those parts of the Austrian Empire and Prussian Kingdom, which had belonged to the former Empire. It failed due to its heterogeneity and the on-going dispute over whether Prussia or Austria was the rightful ruler over the German territory.

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b) The early quest for Germany

“Deutschland? Aber wo liege es? Ich weir das Land nicht zu fin den…” Germany? Where is it? I don’t know how to find this country… This quote of Goethe puts into words what the map with the coins depicts. The Napoleonic invasion was in some way a trigger for German nationalism. In a rather conservative attempt to maintain the status quo different groups start to define Germaneness, for example compiling songbooks of authentic German songs. Nonetheless the differences, especially the political heterogeneity, made it rather difficult.

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c) Technological leadership

The porcelain rhinoceros, a copy from Albrecht Dürer’s famous print by the manufactory Meissner is just one example for technological innovation (production of porcelain). Another earlier example would be the Gutenberg Bible. A probably more known example around the world would be the VW Beetle.

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d) Weimarer triangle

The concentration camp Buchenwald was near the city Weimar. The same city in which Goethe lived and died and the place where the Bauhaus art college was founded by Walter Gropius. The picture shows the entrance of the camp designed by the prisoner Franz Ehrlich. For Neil McGregor this illustrates the question: how was it possible? And it probably also illustrates the awareness of history within Germany.

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e) We are one people

With the reunification the quest of what Germaneness becomes unavoidable and forceful again. The task is to integrate the two different German experiences and perspectives to one general German idea. Beside this, the structural, political and economic integration of the two states has ben a big challenge. There are still differences, especially in terms of employment, population, etc.

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f) Future oriented history

„ […] one of the ways that German history is not like other European histories is that Germans consciously use it as a warning to act differently in the future. As the historian Michael Stürmer says, ‘for a long time in Germany, history was what must not be allowed to happen again.’” The Reichstag, with his crystal dome, is one symbol for the future oriented perspective on political transparency. Combining a building loaded with historical memory and the democratic principal of transparency. The dome is open to visitors and grants a panoramic view to the city and at the same time the view over the parliament beneath it.

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g) New patriotism

During the world cup in 2006 we could observe shift in the relationship with national symbols, especially the flag. The three colours were no longer banned from public spheres, though their presence and use is combined with humour. It reflects and encourages the process of leaving behind the omnipresent inherited guilt without neglecting the responsibility for the memory and the future.

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h) German Bratwurst

German society is still characterized by its regional and cultural differences reflected in the dialects, customs, traditions and sausages.

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i) Can we wrap it up?

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What do you think about this exhibition, where German memories are gathered and displayed for a British spectator?

Do you think every German can identify with this imagery?

How does the idea of a territory defined by borders illustrated by maps and the creation of history and collective memory through museums and merchandise as instruments of structuring and categorizing a national memory and identity apply in this case?

Links

http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/germany_memories_of_a_nation.aspx?utm_expid=1760025-3.htGHqpzSQG-BpO3BZXI8Qg.0&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.britishmuseum.org%2F

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04dwbwz

http://www.dw.de/london-exhibition-aims-to-alter-germanys-image/a-17997670

http://www.dw.de/mad-about-germany/av-18006239


Case studies – Malaysia, Long-distance Nationalism

“Long-distance nationalism” is a concept introduced by Benedict Anderson in his book, The Spectre of Comparison: Nationalism, Southeast Asia, and the World. Due to restless expansion of Capitalism, population mobility throughout the globe, involving studying and working overseas or even immigration, has become a commonplace phenomenon. Yet, as Anderson critically indicates, possessing passport of a certain country does not reveal anything about his sense of identity. When immigrants move into an unfamiliar society, in which they often cannot fully integrate, a sense of exile would possibly make them even more affiliated to their origin countries. Thanks to advancement of communication technology, they could easily follow the latest news or even directly get involved in current affairs of their homeland; in short, nationalism is no longer confined within boundaries of nation-states, especially in those multi-ethnic countries in which different communities has not been fully integrated or to some extent, segregated, such as Malaysia.

In Malaysia, there are various religious, cultural, and linguistic communities and many of them have close relations with different countries respectively due to historical and cultural linkage, especially Malay and Chinese (Chinese-Malaysian). Despite both ethnic groups embracing Malaysian national identity, they generally have different degree of attachments to Middle-east and China (or Greater China, referring to Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong) respectively. Though some might argue that both of those attachments are not actually nationalist sentiment, as the former might be better categorized as religious community and the latter cultural community, it is still worth exploring the phenomena from the long-distance nationalism viewpoint because: 1) they share strikingly similar characteristics with long-distance nationalism; and 2) arguably, it does have some elements of nationalism, especially in the latter case.

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Due to their strong belief of Islam, Malays generally prioritize their religious identity over national identity. Since Middle-East is always considered as the centre of Islam circle, Malays always concern about the region than any other part of the world and some of them even regard themselves and people in Middle-East as one community. As can be seen in the following link, after Israel’s attack over Palestine, thousands Malaysians, noticeably mostly Malay, staged demonstration on Malaysia’s Dataran Merdeka (Independent Square) and even boycotted Israeli products to show solidarity with Palestinian. With the rise of Islamic state, people who believe Malaysia as a moderate Muslim country will be astounded if they are aware that some extremists genuinely believe in the idea of Islamic state and even volunteer as Jihadists or comfort women in Middle-East. Though it is still confined within the small circle of extremists, it is undeniable that the ideology of Islamic-state is spreading among Malay community.

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When it comes to Chinese-Malaysian, despite having fully recognized Malaysian national identity, many of them still have some sort of attachment, to different degrees, to China or Greater China, which is clearly demonstrated in the surprisingly heated controversy over Hong Kong Protest among Chinese-speaking circle. While the younger generation generally sympathize Hong Kong pro-democracy development, the older generation tend to support PRC as they believe the Greater China should be unified under the rule of CCP because it is in the process of realizing China’s “great rejuvenation”, which intriguingly, does give them a sense of pride based on the reason that they share the same root with Chinese. Therefore, the older generation’s sense of belonging towards China does not only include cultural identity, but also political recognition. (1) Can this complicated dual identity, which we have so often disregarded, also be considered as another kind of nationalism?

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While Malays rarely saw Chinese in the pro-Palestine protest, Chinese could hardly find a Malay who concerns the development of Hong Kong protest; it shows that religious/ cultural/ nationalist sentiment actually plays dominant, or at least, significant part in the process. Yet, both communities instead insist on utilizing the slogan of “universal human rights” in the cases of Palestine and Hong Kong. (2) Does it illustrate the tension between (quasi-) long-distance nationalism and national identity in the sense that their loyalty to their own nation would be questioned if they did not even attempt to dilute their “unusually excessive” concern over another certain country?

Though advanced communication technology is apparently instrumental in fostering long-distance nationalism as Anderson proves, (3) can we argue that he neglects the power of religious/cultural linkage, which is arguably another important aspect, as illustrated by the foregoing cases? Another important question: (4) will long-distance nationalism or the similar religious/cultural sentiment play an increasingly important role with the advancement of communication technology? If so, how will it influence our world, which is predominantly defined by the concept of “nation-state”?

For Reference:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/thousands-attend-for-palestine-in-dataran-merdeka

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/malaysian-women-join-middle-east-jihadists-as-comfort-women-reveals-intelli

http://en.visithainan.gov.cn/en/lynewsview_2289.htm

(Malaysian Teenagers Seek Roots in Hainan)

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ASN15 Call for Papers-page-001

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Understanding National Identity, David McCrone and Frank Bechhofer, Cambridge University Press, January/February 2015

While there is much scholarly debate about ‘nations’ and ‘nationalism’, comparatively little has been written explicitly on ‘national identity’ and even less is solidly evidence based. The book is basebook coverd on twenty years’ empirical research in England and Scotland, the two founding countries of the UK created by a treaty of union in 1707, by two sociologists instrumental in establishing the MSc in Nationalism Studies at Edinburgh.

The United Kingdom provides an excellent test-bed for studying national identity, a key concept in its own right. On the one hand, people are defined as ‘British citizens’ holding the appropriate passport. On the other hand, they are ‘nationals’ of the four constituent nations which currently comprise the British state. This distinction and the tension between ‘citizens’ and ‘nationals’ provides the opportunity to understand how people ‘do’ national identity, in particular, by examining their behaviours and attitudes, and what, if anything, is ‘political’ about it.

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Week 5 Seminar Presentation: Ernest Gellner

Nationalism, Nationalism, Nationalism, all winter long!

“Nationalism is not the awakening of an old, latent, dormant force, though that is how it does indeed present itself. It is in reality the consequence of a new form of social organization, based on deeply internalized, education-dependent high cultures […]” (Gellner, 1994:63)

Ernest Gellner is a definitive voice emanating from the modernist camp in relation to the field of Nationalism Studies. His pioneering theories, which are internationally renowned, have influenced scholars from the likes of Smith to McCrone.

He views nationalism as a direct result of modernity, unambiguously tied to the era of Industrialization. Nationalism becomes an essential vehicle; entrusted with carrying the nation towards perpetual economic growth. To facilitate this, various factors are required:

  • Literacy, which is the minimum requirement for citizenship
  • An educational system to produce mass literacy
  • A standardized idiom to facilitate the task of education
  • Vertical social mobility, which makes the population substitutable within a nation-state

These factors contribute to Gellner’s “high culture”, which in turn defines a nation. Once this construct emerges however, it diffuses unevenly to other parts of the world.

Case Study 1: Scotland

“New technology [has] ushered in a new way to work, one in which quality and not quantity of personnel counts” (Gellner, 2000:106)

In Nations and Nationalism (1983), Nationalisms and the New World Order (1994) and a chapter in Mapping the Nation (2000), Ernest Gellner goes to great lengths to describe the importance of industrialization to the creation of nations and the rise of nationalism. However, not only does his theory misinterpret the intricate relationship between the phenomenon of nationalism and the process of industrialization, but nationalism in post industrial nations is completely overlooked. This is especially troubling as one of his seminal works – Nations and Nationalism as mentioned above – was indeed written in 1983, the era when industrial decline in Great Britain – and thus Scotland – became more pronounced, increasingly visual and highly politicised.

Below is a brief break down of what Dr Jim Phillips (Senior Lecturer in Economic and Social History, University of Glasgow) deems the phases of Scottish industrial development:

Post War Recovery, 1945-55

  • Re-establishment of international trade
  • Growth of exports
  • Social protection as a policy aim
  • Minimal job loss

Growth, 1956-67

  • Regional policy and inward investment (mainly through US firms)
  • Economic growth and higher living standards as a policy aim
  • Engineering; electronics; female employment as emerging sub-genres

Stabilization, 1968-80

  • Economic slowdown
  • Economic stability disappears
  • Employment rise in Public sector and other manufacturing

Contraction, 1980-2001

  • Becomes very politicized (Macro economics)
  • ‘Restructuring’
  • Social stability and community survival become chief policy aims
  • Yet very little opportunity for the unemployed, creating a culture of the ‘permanently sick’.

Poverty-in-Scotland1

Assessment

The distribution of employment by industrial sector was deliberately altered by policy-makers seeking more rapid rates of economic growth: labour and capital resources invested in assembly goods manufacturing – especially in consumer goods, electrical-mechanical and then electronic engineering – would yield higher rates of return than in coal and other ‘heavy’ industries. This was seen as especially desirable in Scotland, where growth was persistently below the UK average from the 1950s to the 1980s.

If we focus on Dr Phillips final phase – contraction – everything from political narrative to popular culture certainly suggests that out of this prolonged economic decline, a distinctive rise in Scottish nationalism has occurred. Obviously many other factors have been at work here in the build up to the Scottish Independence Referendum, but the deep Scottish hatred for the Conservative Party (or the effing Tories!) stems historically from Thatcherite insensitivity and ‘economic experimentation’. The Yes campaign thrived off embittered Scots with strong memories and SNP Party membership has also grown substantially as depicted in the table below.

SNP Membership figures

2003 – 9,450

2008 – 15,097  (Between 2003 & 2011 a 110% increase in SNP membership occurred)

2010 – 16,232

5/10/2014 – 80,000 (From 19-26 September 2014 – the week after the Scottish independence referendum – party membership more than doubled, becoming the third largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of membership). The importance of Nationalism to modern politics, and in particular to the Scottish post industrial example discussed here, is undeniable – so it is all the more puzzling as to why Gellner has made no intellectual contingency for it.

Key Questions

  • Is this resurgence of nationalism geographically restricted to Scotland and thus an ‘anomaly’, or is it a phenomenon that we can attribute to other Post Industrial nations?
  • If a case can be made that more post Industrial nations are or have already undergone nationalistic surges, does this categorically prove that Gellner’s understanding of Nationalism is rooted in a particular period of time, and is thus intellectually ‘obsolete’. Has the time come for his work to be removed from anthropology and re-shelved in history?

Sources:

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/10/scottish-independence-effing-tories-pariah-devolution (How the Tories became pariahs in Scotland)

http://www.ehs.org.uk/dotAsset/55d36e84-5e9c-4596-b42d-a0ad0c1ea69c.pdf (Dr Jim Phillips)

http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/snp-members-double-since-independence-referendum-1-3549827 (Rise in SNP Membership)

Case Study 2: Libya

“Nationalism is not just a phenomenon, it is also a problem” (Gellner, 1997:102)

If we look at the current situation in Libya after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, there have been no signs of relief within the tense political situation. Quite the contrary, the country now finds itself in a state of civil war. During the election in June 2014, with a turnout of only about 18%, Islamists have been weakened and were not willing to accept the outcome. They have occupied the capital Tripoli where they decided to set up their own General National Congress, which has been formally replaced by a House of Representatives by the official government in August 2014. That means there are now two parliaments, the other being in the country’s eastern city of Tobruk. The current government recently admitted that they cannot bring the situation under control as the militias are now stronger than the government itself. Unsurprisingly, the country is momentarily fractured.

Libya-tribes-stratfor

One could view the country’s struggle as a simple dichotomy between Islamists on the one side and the nationalists on the other; or as a historical struggle of the regions of Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan, supporting Smith’s ethnosymbolist theory that these regions should have never been brought together under a single political roof. Even though Gellner does not deny a link to history (1997:48), I think this would be an oversimplification considering the 140 tribes inhabiting Libya.

Focussing instead on Gellner’s views of chapter 16 in his 1997’s Nationalism, one can – in hindsight -ask the question whether the situation in Libya could have been resolved differently (with regard to the NATO’s support of Gaddafi’s overthrow). With a view to the situation in the USSR (cf. Hall 2006:6-7), Gellner argued that the concept of “popular sovereignty” is in fact “rubbish” (Gellner 1997:104), as there will always be contradictions between various groups and their incompatible interests.

Key Questions:

  • Would he have preferred a stable state and, if need be, a period of slow transition rather than rapid change which would – and did – invariably lead to violence?
  • Referring to the chapter, do you think “the right of nations to self-determination” (Gellner 1997:104) is worth more than a stable state? If so, how would one achieve it without running the risks of ethnic cleansing?

Another model I would like to apply to the situation in Libya, or more broadly to the current situation in the whole Middle East, is Gellner’s idea of time zones of nationalism (refresh your memory at Gellner 1997:50-58).

  • Do you think it is even applicable in this case? If not, why not? If yes, which time zone would you assign Libya to?
  • What would be the implications?
  • Is it possible to achieve a peaceful congruence between a nation and a state, where none are readily available as in Western Europe (Gellner 1997:50-51)?

Sources:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/29/-sp-briefing-war-in-libya (Summary about the civil war in Libya)

http://www.fragilestates.org/2012/03/01/understanding-libya-the-role-of-ethnic-and-tribal-groups-in-any-political-settlement/ (about the history and tribes in Libya)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19744533 (just for clarity in relation to the state-affiliated bodies and key militias)

Case Study 3: Hong Kong

The theoretical problem is to separate the quite spurious ‘national’ and ‘natural’ justifications and explanations of nationalism, from the genuine, time- and context-bound roots of it.

(Gellner, E., Thought and Change, 1964, p. 151)

hk_protests_07011 (1)

The protests in Hong Kong right now pose an interesting case study for Gellner’s definition of nationalism. Under the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ doctrine Hong Kong was handed over effectively as a liberal city-state from the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China (PRC). A city with a liberal system in place living under a totalitarian country meant that more often than not differences were felt and expressed by Hong Kong citizens on political issues.  As a former colony Hong Kong certainly inherited aspects of Western influences and created a culture of its own, but it did not disregard what was perceived as a Chinese culture. Many citizens would align themselves with a Chinese ethnicity, to an extent where discrimination towards ethnic minorities exist, however a lack of political alignment meant that some would appreciate ‘Hong Konger’ would be a more appropriate identity to ‘Chinese’.

This specific wave of protests is sparked by Beijing’s decision to limit candidates for the 2017 Chief Executive election to the central government’s nominations. This goes to show the uneasiness and distrust some in Hong Kong felt towards the Chinese Communist Party as well as their aspirations to self-government. It is important at this stage to point out that the movement is not motivated by a wish to secede from the PRC, however by identifying the political and cultural differences between Hong Kong and the PRC as well as aligning themselves to the liberal city-state we may be observing a phenomenon very much comparable to nationalism.

In ‘Nations and Nationalism’, Gellner identified nationalism as ‘the general imposition of high culture on society […] It means the general diffusion of a school-mediated, academically-supervised idiom, codified for the requirements of a reasonably precise bureaucratic and technological communication.  It is the establishment of an anonymous impersonal society, […] held together above all a shared culture of this kind.’  One can potentially argue that a high culture had been in development in Hong Kong since its colonial period, and the process continued after the handover, but it did not necessarily coincide with the modernization of the Hong Kong economy (which incidentally as a port city took a different path of economic modernization).  Hong Kong has in place many instruments that secures and promotes its own identity, it has its own constitution, legal as well as education system independent from the central government.  Many of these instruments follow liberal principles, which differ greatly from the rest of the PRC.

Key Questions:

  • Could Hong Kong be potentially considered a nation?
  • If so, can Gellner explain the establishment of high culture in Hong Kong (or colonial/postcolonial states)?
  • If not, could this imply that Gellner’s understanding of nationalism is limited to the specific period of time?

Sources:

http://youtu.be/WfoUtmrh3RU

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-29054196

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1614746/occupy-protests-bring-acceptance-ethnic-minority-youngsters

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/11/world/asia/some-chinese-leaders-claim-us-and-britain-are-behind-hong-kong-protests-.html?_r=0

“Tribalism never prospers, for when it does, everyone will respect it as a true nationalism, and no-one will dare call it tribalism.” Ernest Gellner 1983:87

Bibliography:

Gellner, E., 1964. Thought and Change. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.

Gellner, E., 1983. Nations and Nationalism. Cornell: Cornell University Press.

Gellner, E., 1994. “Nationalism and High Cultures” in Hutchinson, John/Smith, Anthony D. Nationalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gellner, E., 1994. Nationalisms and the New World Order. Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vol.47, No.5 (Feb, 1994), pp. 29-36

Gellner, E., 1997. Nationalism. New York: New York University Press.

Gellner, E., 2000. The Coming of Nationalism and Its Interpretation, in Balakrishnan, G (ed) (2000) Mapping the Nation. Verso: London

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Anthony Smith: 3 cases of ethnosymbolism

We have to concede that […] there remain ‘non-rational’ elements of explosive power and tenacity in the structure of nations and the outlook and myth of nationalism. These elements stem from the profound historical roots of the myths, symbols, memories, and values that define the ethnic substratum of many modern nations. These are elements that many of us, including many social scientists, would prefer to ignore, but we do so at our peril. The conflicts that embitter the geo-politics of our planet often betray deeper roots than the clash of economic interests and political calculations would suggest.

Introducing Anthony D. Smith

Anthony D. Smith is a leading theorist in the field of nationalism studies and ethnosymbolism. Although he was a student of Ernest Gellner, his theories depart from his predecessor and the modernist paradigm. Instead, Smith focuses on the historical process, la longue durée, which culminated with the establishment of the modern concept, nationalism. Despite the fact that nationalism is relatively novel concept, Smith argues that origins of nations “can be traced back to pre-modern ethnic communities,” otherwise defined as ethnies (“Origins of Nations” 340). According to Smith, ethnies have existed since ancient and medieval times, and have been instrumental in “[furnishing] the nation with much of its distinctive mythology, symbolism and culture, including its association with an ancient homeland” (“Origins of Nations” 360).

800px-Bataafseeed

The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis, Rembrandt

Terms

  • A nation is “a named community of history and culture, possessing a unified territory, economy, mass education system and common legal rights”
  • Nationalism is “an ideological movement for attaining and maintaining the autonomy, unity and identity of an existing or potential ‘nation’”

English National Identity and the Human Rights Act

uk

In his article, “‘Set in the silver sea:’ English national identity and European Integration,” Smith asserts that there is “growing friction” between Britain and the European Commission due to the concern that the EC’s projects have encroached “into [Britain’s] political and possibly, cultural spheres” (435). Furthermore, English Euroskeptics are suspicious of the notion that a supranational identity, embodied in the EU, has been realized and can “subsume national loyalties and identities” (‘Set in the silver sea’ 434). Indeed, “English Euroskeptics discern a specific threat to the unique character of English institutions, in particular to English common law” (‘Set in the silver sea’ 435). According to Smith, the attachment to English common law pre-dates the conception of Britain as a modern state, beginning with Alfred the Great’s introduction of an English code of laws at the end of the Ninth Century “based on the laws of the several Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, as well as [those] in the book of Exodus and the New Testament,” which were expanded upon during the Norman period (Eleventh Century) to incorporate legal customs such as “trial by jury” (‘Set in the silver sea’ 440). The early development of English law has been a significant facet, if not the bedrock, of establishing a common English national identity: “By the thirteenth century, English law was regarded as one of the distinctive hallmarks of Englishness and as an integral part of English political culture” (‘Set in the silver sea’ 440). In light of Westminster’s recent challenges to the Human Rights Act (HRA), Smith’s discussion of English Euroskepticism becomes all the more relevant.

Parliament enacted the HRA in 1998 with the aim of incorporating the rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into British law. Besides strengthening human rights law domestically, the HRA makes it possible for breaches of the Convention to be remedied in UK courts rather than the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Since its inception, Conservative leaders have routinely expressed their aversion to the HRA, with Prime Minster David Cameron running on the platform of dismantling it all together and replacing it with a British Bill of Rights. Cameron has condemned the HRA as having hindered the ability of the UK to “[respond] properly in terms of terrorism, particularly in terms of deporting those who may do us harm” as well as for forcing the UK “to apply the human rights convention even on the battlefields of Helmand […and] give prisoners the vote” (“Cameron ‘could scrap’ rights act;” “Cameron’s pledge to scrap HRA angers civil rights groups”).

In many of his statements, Cameron has rejected the cosmopolitan nature of the HRA while insisting upon maintaining the English-character of law in the UK: “We do not require instruction on this from judges in Strasbourg. So at long last, with a Conservative government after the next election, this country will have a new British Bill of Rights, to be passed in our parliament, rooted in our values” (“Cameron’s pledge to scrap HRA angers civil rights groups”). Supporters of the HRA are baffled as to how a British Bill of Rights would differ from the HRA since very little has been said about what rights Cameron and the Tories would include or not include. Additionally, the UK would still be obligated to follow the Convention’s requirements as well as implement the decisions from the Strasbourg Court, unless it chose to withdraw entirely, as Chris Grayling has suggested doing “if parliament failed to secure the right to veto judgments form the ECHR” (“Tories plan to withdraw UK from ECHR”). Upon reading Smith’s piece on the centrality of English common law in forging a sense of British national identity, it is evident that the HRA has reignited English Euro-skepticism.

uk1

Does Smith’s analysis of the English national identity offer any valuable insight into Cameron and the Tories’ proposition to scrap the HRA? To what extent is the rhetoric regarding the dismantling of the HRA and replacing it with a British Bill of Rights merely political rhetoric designed to mobilize popular support? If it is merely rhetoric intended to manipulate members of the populace into supporting the Conservative agenda, does that degrade the national identity of a people shaped by a distinct collective history? Should it be dismissed? Must the populace’s sense of national identity be legitimatized by government elites?

For more information:

The importance of myths: The tale of the mermaid and the  tomb of Amphipolis

Kiki Dimoula, a famous Greek poet, wrote recently about the new archaeological discovery in Amphipolis: “Where there is a land, there is a country, so I pray and dream that Alexander the Great is the owner of that tomb. This comes not from megalomania. I want the distraught mermaid to stop drowning in the high seas of a question: Is king Alexander alive? Yes, I answer”.

mermaid

Smith argues that ancient Greece could be considered an ethnie, since the different poleis recognized a common heritage and common cultural community (Smith, 1989: 345). Parts of this heritage survived the aggregations of the East Roman empire and became part of the pre-modern and modern folklore. Indeed, the tale in which Dimoula refers to -about the sister of Alexander that transformed into a mermaid and created shipwrecks because of her brother’s death- has been quite popular in Greece, even before the formation of the state in 1830 (http://chain.eu/?m3=28662). The Greek king who built a powerful empire was a reminder of an identity that distinguished the people that lived in the Greek region of the Ottoman Empire.

At the time Alexander was, as Smith would put it, a myth of common origin, historical continuity and descent for the population (Smith, 1989: 344). Later on, Alexander became a symbol of unity which came to be the mythomoteur of the nation (Smith, 1986: 229), the myth that gave the Greeks a sense of purpose. “Once all together, we are unstoppable” is a phrase often heard even today and was the motto behind the “Greece of three continents and five seas” expedition at 1920 and the Greek Resistance of 1940. That is the reason the mythological mermaid mourns for his death. In fact, she mourns for the glory that was (or could have been) Greece.

karyatis

Today, many Balkan states fight over the national identity of Alexander the Great. However, if he is indeed buried in greek soil, Greeks will have one more reason to believe that they rightfully claim their ancestry and, after the 2009 crisis, will once again find a reason to be proud of it. The memory of Alexander gives them hope for a better future and re-establishes the myths and symbols of a golden past (http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite4_1_24/09/2014_543162, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/justine-frangouliargyris/a-monument-of-hope_b_5871726.html?utm_hp_ref=greece ).

The example of Greece is a solid argument for Smith, because the ethnie preserved its distinctive cultural identity and tradition based on religion and language for over two centuries.

However, are myths important enough to be considered the core of a nation? Could the symbolic nature of an ancient ruin form one’s national identity? How do you perceive your nation’s myths and symbols?

Details about the Amphipolis tomb: http://www.theamphipolistomb.com/

 First nations and the Idle No More movement

Smith observes two different paths wherein a nation is formed which differ according to the sort of ethnic trajectory they follow. There are the lateral ethnies, that incorporate and create a nation with the help of the bureaucratic state ( Smith, Origin of nations p.352). The second path is that of demotic ethnies that, according to Smith, often have an intelligentsia, recreating, reinventing and harnessing tradition, myths and symbols with an ultimate agenda of creating a nation ( Smith, Origin of nations, p. 355).

Smith also looks into why ethnic groups survive, referring to ethnic groups sharing cultural attributes. He discusses the value of surviving as a cultural community based on shared myths and values mentioning also that “the members of an ethnic community must feel (…) that their heritage must be preserved against inner corruption and external control, and the community has a sacred duty to expand its cultural values to outsiders”( Smith, Chosen people why ethnic groups survive, p.438).

This all leads to a case study that perhaps can be looked at with the help of Smiths theory.

The Idle No More movement which originated from Canada in 2012 has grown in both number and recognition world wide, most recently they were a part of the New York Climate march( HTTP://www.idlenomore.ca/news)

Read more about the movement – http://www.idlenomore.ca/

 unnamed

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/david-suzuki/site-c-dam-alberta_b_5910142.html

At its core the movement wants to promote rights for First nations around the world. The strongest movement however, remains in Canada and is driven by their First Nation communities. The group also wish to reclaim their culture and symbols promoting campaigns such as promoting the abolition of native imagery in sports teams http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/change-bedford-road-redmen-name-school-board-says-1.2560182 ( In this case the campaign was successful and the team changed their name)

They have also linked themselves to the green movement arguing that the two are intrinsically connected groups, and by honouring treaties a green sustainable society can be supported. They have their own core “intelligentsia” in their chiefs and community leaders. The movement is however problematic to analyze from the context of nationalism as it seems that it will not able to reach the primary goal of demotic ethnies, namely an own homeland. Nevertheless, they do have claims to their territories and demand that their treaties be honoured.

  • Does the limited goal of territory over a nation state creation perhaps limit our ability to study the movement though a nationalistic lens?

  • I would argue that it does show examples of Smiths theory of the demotic ethnies and their mobilization, what do you think?

  • In general, are studies of indigenous people hard to relate to nationalism studies or do we simply tend to view nationalism as a strictly modern and western phenomenon?

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