Differing Views & Tensions in Nationalism

Views and Tensions within Nationalism

Liberal Nationalism

  • Based around the belief in government by consent usually in the shape of the nation state
  • Heavily influenced by the Enlightenment
  • Positive view of national self-determination linked to freedom and democracy
  • STRESS POINTS – mostly with Conservative, Post-Colonial and Expansionist nationalisms which may be less interested in individualism, democratic states and the freedom/sovereignty of other states
  • Key thinkers – Rousseau and his emphasis on freedoms, national self-determination and civic (political) society

Conservative Nationalism

  • Nationalism at its most traditional
  • Collective unity of the nation is more important than individual freedoms
  • ‘Organic’ view of society/nation with each individual part of the collective whole
  • May be regressive, nativist, racialist, imperialist / expansionist
  • STRESS POINTS – mostly with liberal nationalism and its emphasis on democracy and individual freedoms. Patriotism as a key social characteristic and a desire to preserve national traditions
  • Key thinkers – Herder, Maurass

Anti / post-colonial Nationalism

  • Seeks freedom from imperial/colonial rule – this does not mean it will always produce liberal democracies
  • This strand of nationalism frequently produces conservative/authoritarian governments with strong and sometimes exclusive views on national identity
  • Capable of producing dictatorships based around personality cults of leaders
  • May also be described as ‘liberation nationalism’ where the new state has fought against and overthrown imperial / colonial powers
  • Some forms of post-colonial nationalism show strong tendencies towards forms of socialism based on an understanding of capitalism as a tool of economic exploitation by colonial powers
  • STRESS POINTS – with liberalism when the newly formed/liberated state fails to produce liberal democracies. With expansionist nationalism following wars of independence/liberation
  • Key thinkers: Garvey (but may also apply to elements of Mazzini’s thinking and actions)

Black Nationalism

  • Strong links to anti / post-colonial nationalism
  • Based on a belief in a common – Ethiopian – ancestry
  • Based around a narrative experience of slavery and subjugation
  • Emphasises sameness and inclusivity of all black people
  • Sometimes referred to as ‘black-consciousness’ or ‘black-power’
  • STRESS POINTS – with conservative / expansionist nationalism where it seeks to challenge the exclusivity and racialism of both strands
  • Key thinkers: Garvey

Expansionist Nationalism

  • Imperialist and colonial forms of nationalism
  • Assumes their nation state to be superior to all others
  • May contain strong elements of militarism and armed conquest
  • May also be described as chauvinistic and exclusive
  • May also tend towards racialism / racism
  • Tends also towards culturalism in terms of how it may see the mystical / emotional connection between the individual and state or ethnic / cultural group
  • STRESS POINTS – with liberal nationalism on the grounds that expansionists do not respect the sovereignty of other nation-states AND on the basis of their sense of racial/national superiority. Obvious direct contrast with Black Nationalism and Anti / Post-Colonial Nationalism
  • Key thinkers: Maurras and Herder

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