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Nationalism Notes

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Country Files - Nationalism

Concept of the nation in the 19 th century inchoate, could be defined perhaps in terms of those belonging to the same lands, sharing in the same language, and certain cultural traditions, but in no way the doctrinal entity we perceive it as today. Nation in fact started off as a way of referring to a group of privileged people, entering the 'nazio' in Hungarian society meant becoming a nobleman. Was for landowning nobles rather than anything to do with ethnicity and in the Habsburg empire this connotation remained, people being part of the 'nation' a crucial distinction from nationalities (power difference). Earliest reference to nationalism in 1774 in Herder's work, general linguistic usage only begins in 19th century Nation as inherently bound up with ideas of race, religion, region - evolves from different strands for different motives (Hutchinson and Smith: 'chameleon like nature of nationalism'), no consensus. Nation to each person something wholly different. No one historic wave of change, multiple processes. Intellectual drive towards nationalism: borne out of romanticism - centrality upon human emotion and the need to find one's own individual and collective identity as witnessed in neoclassical trends and the return to the 'golden ages' of national communities. Nationalism usually engineered by intellectual minorities, their motives shaped by historical and political environments. Military drive towards nationalism: revolutions, emergent ideas of the patrie en danger, levee en masse occurs as early as 1792, mass conscription Prospect of nationalist success post-Napoleon frightening to the Old Regime conservatives By end of 19th c regional elites had to engage with nation assumptions and ideas. The nation's moral authority no longer confined to elites as at the beginning of the century, taken up by political actors in pursuit of political aims and in reaction to events in Europe such as the threat of Napoleonic conquest. Nationalists drew on concepts of identity to develop their arguments and aid towards their objectives eg national unification. Not a cultural doctrine or intellectual like that of romanticism, overtly political. Zahra puts forward the notion of 'national indifference', that people chose to be out of the loop of national discourse and not participate in it at this time (however, this in itself notes the existence of nationalism in their active acknowledgement of its existence and resistance against it). Similarly Brubaker emphasises that nationalisation was an elite political discourse which did not necessarily reflect the intensity of national allegiances in daily life. Tendency to see nationalism infused in every realm of daily life in eastern Europe especially, too linear a view - idea of the homogenous state too teleological a view. Zahra in fact claims national indifference flourished in the eye of the nationalist storm. Similar to Weber's view of the French peasantry's indifference (see France section), nationalism on the whole failing to truly take root until efforts of the 3rd Republic. Gellner (sociologist) views nationalism as going hand in hand with state modernisation, occurring because modern industrial societies needed homogeneous languages and cultures in order to effectively function. Mass culture disseminated by a modern education system in pursuit of this. Peasantry as having little bearing on the nation - education and the state, transformations invoked by economic change - a structural necessity Breuilly (historian) too sees nationalism as a modern phenomenon. Focuses on political power, struggle for control amongst intellectuals and taken up and implemented primarily due to political factors - to shape historical instances and coordinate differing interests. Legitimate power both domestically and internationally. Smith sees nationalism as going back further. Claims ethnic communities that converged into nations had historical traditions and were thus used in nation building projects - balance between the constructivist and primordialist arguments (primordialist more teleological, sees nation as unfolding naturally and people converging towards a common goal inevitably). Anderson stresses the cultural side of nation building - people co-opted into the national community through the press and through ideas, 'imagined communities' (but not imaginary). Create a cultural infrastructure disseminated by schools, education, the army -

strong psychological element in order that people identify with the nation and people who they've never met but with whom they nevertheless share cultural meaning. Weber believed the nation a prestige community endowed with a sense of cultural mission, too various to be defined in terms of any one criterion, but normally unified by myths of common descent for political projects. His formulations focus on specific solidarities eg religious, political, social. Nationalism as defined in the 19 th century for Greeks and Serbs by Orthodox Christianity against the Islam of the Turks. Distinction here religion not language. In other areas language a more powerful medium of division particularly in eastern Europe for example, conflict between the Poles and Germans in Upper Silesia, Czechs and Germans in Bohemia. Language could also bridge differences eg Greek Orthodox and RC Albanians in the Ottoman Empire and for a limited time, orthodox Serbs and RC Croats. Language most important in multinational dynastic polities such as the Russian, Ottoman and Habsburg empires who had only managed to extend a semblance of imperial consciousness among a narrow strata of society due to the vast lands and peoples encompassed, and their narrow dynastic ambitions (unconcerned with society as a whole and authority not centred around real frontiers like that of the French empire). Nationalism directed towards unification (Italy, Germany), but also throwing off the rule of multi-national empires (Greece, Poland, Hungary, Belgium, Serbia) and breaking away from long established kingdoms (Ireland/Norway). Nationalism aided by suffrage - an active means of being part of the nation, growth in the idea of citizenship (first expounded by the French) whereby individuals not just subjects, but participants. Nationalism here as a tool of political mobilisation. Mass media as vital to the dissemination of nationalistic content eg Slomka, a Masurian, claimed that Masurians cared nothing for the nation and lived wholly separate lives, not knowing he was a Pole until he read books and papers. Other villages in his view as coming to be aware of their national attachment in this way. Nationalism also arising from social rather than ethnic questions. Eg the Romanians hated the Hungarian nobles who presided over them in the 19 th century because they taxed them heavily and were the dominant class, not because they were Hungarian. Romanian nationalism here as merely representing discontent at the social system rather than a desire to form a unity of ethnicity. Again, the idea of common enemy driving towards unity. Rady claims in societies where civic identity and limited gov/citizenship is strong, nationality located in rights, otherwise rooted in ethnicity leading towards exclusivity and competition. Nationalism towards the end of the period being equated with racial superiority and civilising mission, prestige enhancement, expansion of the patrimony.

The Peasant Issue

• Often debated whether peasants truly integrated into the nation and whether localism was distinct from or compatible with concepts of the nation. Peasants increasingly drawn into politics by processes of economic modernisation and state formation such as conscription and schooling which undermined the traditional powers of the lord and the church.

• The term peasant covers a lot of ground. By definition not a farmer who profits from a market economy but an individual who grows food for himself and his family. Not a slave, not entirely free, has access to his own land, may have some contact with commercial markets but ultimately part of a hierarchical social structure.

• Peasants largest social group in Germany until the end of the 19 th c and in France, Italy and Russia up until the end of WW1. In the Balkans and Spain, until after WW2. In 1900 rural pop exceeds urban pop in every European country except GB and the Low Countries.

• Peasants subject to manipulation by all kinds of political parties - liberal governments want them to increase agricultural production as gentleman farmers and not constitute a drag on the economy, and Marxists/socialists wanted them to swell the numbers of the urban proletariat as wage labourers - Engels claims peasants vestigial survivals of a bygone method of production, Marx claimed peasants a drag anchor to the development of

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