The Ideology of Nationalism: People’s Common Identity Essay

January 8, 2022 by Essay Writer


Nationalism takes its root in most people’s supreme loyalty to the nation. Nationalism may also be termed as the belief that people of the same language, history, and traditions need their state or country. An ideology of nationalism seeks to protect the rights of people with a common identity as noted by Conner (36). Nationalism has its origins set in northwest Europe during the eighteenth-century wars and especially the Second World War.

It came as a universal idea that manifested itself in terms of different ideologies like communism and democracy. The conditions that set nationalism on stage include intellectual traditions, cultural history, and social structure. On the other hand, ethnicity has its definition as discussed here. Ethnicity may relate as the characteristic of a human being group that has the same linguistic, racial, and religious individualism together with other traits defining them as one ethnic group. The individuals in an ethnic group or set up have many characters in common that they share. These characters define and distinguish between a particular ethnic group and another.

About the study that Brass (84) puts forward, many issues emerge. To handle this, our discussion bases its argument on the issues that Paul Brass brings out in his argument. This is by his sentiment that the study of ethnicity and nationality is in large part the study of politically induced cultural change. Also, where Brass asserts “that it is specifically a mode of looking at the privileged and those who are not within cultural groups select aspects of the group’s culture, attach new value and meaning to them, and uses the symbol as a tool to mobilize the group” (82). This discussion tries to emphasize on these sentiments.

Brass (83) in his discussion has pointed out the roles of elites about the ethnic group they represent. The elites find ways of mobilizing the ethnic group they belong to. They do so by coming up with strategies favoring their coexistence in society. Paul affirms this through the states he makes concerning the elites in society. This state clearly shows the reality concerning the elite, as Paul says the elites draw upon and distort while fabricating materials form their own culture. This may include the ethnic language change, the existing status of the; political-administrative devolution. The elites do this in a way that opens avenues and highways to their superiority in the society.

According to Brass (58), ethnicity is the product of modernity; where the elites fabricate cultures by using raw materials sourced from different groups while they aim at creating nations. The elites do this to ensure their economic and political advantage. As it stands Paul’s opinion that, the lessons of ethnicity or customs and nationality is just the study of politically induced literary transformation.

This idea comes out clearly as Paul talks about how the elites strategize on how they mobilize and survive in the society they live in. The elites devise ways in which they erode the original cultural values to make a suitable environment for their emergence. To this end, the study of ethnicity today conforms to the study Paul Brass pointed out. That is the study of politically induced cultural change. In this case, the politics of the elites surfaces when then mobile and erode the existing political-administrative devolution, cultural norms, and values to suit their political survival. This political advance is not for the interest of the majority in the group but the minority elites.

From all the sentiments brought out by Paul brass, it is quite evident that the study of ethnicity and nationality brings out these issues of elites and it is quite to associate the study with that of the politically induced cultural changes. This is because a group of elites who want individual gains brings about all the cultural changes. This is motivated by political superiority elites over the majority in the society the particular individuals (Brass 36).

On the other hand, Conner (36) emphasizes the difference between loyalty to the state and loyalty to the nation. To explain and defend Conner’s argument, the definition of the two meaningful words is quite necessary for a clear distinction. To begin with, a nation is termed simply as the largest group of humanity that has a sense of common ancestry. A nation has more of psychological tangibility. To a large extend a nation has a more or less common kinship.

A state on the other end is a combination of various ethnic setups or nations under collective sovereignty that has its political, legitimacy to serve as a sovereign entity in a particular nation. A state may lack physical tangibility as opposed to the nation, thus a nationalist finds more bonding to the nation than a patriotic individual who is loyal to a sovereign entity that is bound change. This distinction carries more importance and Conner’s argument, which gives a separation between the two builds a foundation on which several factors concerning the two kinds of loyalties may find concrete and health discussions that would benefit several scholars.

Conner’s argument is important because it brings out a clear differentiation between the two closely related terms and the application after the definition may help in times of political crises as witnessed in the China-Tibet crises. Conner’s definition and the distinction between the two terms has a perfect clarity needed while seeking to make a healthy discussion arrangement about the two important terms. The importance of the two terms comes when seeking a political authority or political independence of a particular part of a state, nations within a particular state may have its practices and principles different from the rest of the sovereign state.

Conner’s argument is important in a way I identify the two terms which are perfect, not synonymous in any way. In conclusion, Conner’s argument helps people to choose between the two important facts as it was in the case of the Chinese South Africans who were not South African nationals but they could be the patriots of that particular nation (Conner 83).

Works Cited

Brass, Paul. Language, religion and politics in north India. New Delhi: Universe Publishers, 2005. Print.

Connor, Walker. Ethno nationalism: the quest for understanding. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994. Print.

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