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Essay on National vs State Government What role is to be played by the nation and state in an increasingly global world? How does one read the rise of nationalism under such conditions? These questions can only be answered if one takes apart the taken-for-granted language of the nation and remembers that, while the State is a political machine-the product of a kind of instrumental, rationalizing, divisive modernity-the nation is the collective representation of a kind of cultural consciousness.
Nationalism is thus a form of cultural expression, quite distinct from patriotism which seems to be a blind allegiance to a false god, although there are reasons for their relationship.
Thus, it is dependent upon the existence of both a nation and a state. Following Weber, the State is defined as the political institution that centralizes control over the means of violence Qtd in Gellner, 3. A nation can be defined in two ways.
Second, there seems to be the need for members of a nation to recognize that shared culture and identity, which in effect is a loyalty to, and a consciousness of, the idea of the nation.
Gellner thus takes a somewhat functionalist view of the nation and the state, by seeking to understand it in terms of both a cultural system and recognition of voluntary action.
Craig Calhoun, by contrast, suggests that: The history of nation, in short, is not a story of the inheritance of primordial ethnic identities.
Nor is it a narrative in which purely arbitrary boundaries are imposed by sheer force of will of indifferent populations.
It is, rather, an aspect of the creation of social integrated political communities in which a large scale, identity-forming collective discourse was possible Calhoun goes on to suggest a number of factors that influenced this transformation.
One was ideological, that is, the transformation of categories such as the people altering understanding of the sources of political legitimacy. A second was material, or technological, as advances in transport and communications allowed people to stay in touch with friends and family around the nation.
An economic factor and a political factor-the growing administrative power of the State-were also key influences. Herein lies the contradiction: A Weberian perspective would understand this in terms of the mutually beneficial co-existence of different forms of rationality.
State thus provided democracies with a tacit assumption of the boundaries of the political community, and democratic theory had-and has-little coherent answer to why such boundaries should exist Calhoun, David Held has argued that the emergence of citizenship rights and duties in the West has coincided with the development of democracy.
Accordingly, national identities have to be seen in the context of these political developments. The consolidation of state sovereignty in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries helped foster the identity of people as political subjects-citizens.
The formation of national identities was often the result both of a struggle for membership in the new political communities, and of a struggle by political elites and governments to create a new identity to legitimate the modern state itself Held, Perhaps Held is guilty here of placing too much emphasis on the political, and not enough on the cultural.
National identities as cultural identities not bound up in allegiance to any particular nation-state surely preceded membership of political communities. The nation-state is a relatively new institution. While Held is right to suggest that there is a dialectical relationship between citizens and political decision-makers, his suggestions concerning the emergence of citizenship seem limited to the institutional level, and unhelpful if one is to follow the line that assumes that citizenship need not specifically relate to a state.
National identities are not purely political inventions, but they have been achieved through historical struggles: As Miller says, the primacy given to the nation as a source of identity is a relatively recent phenomenon. Previously, kinship or village identification was as, or more, important.
This is in contradiction to the conservative, essentialist perspective-the view, for example, of De Maistre, and those such as Marsland, who have championed him-which sees the emergence of the nation as natural and thus primitive Marsland, Hooks, Trethewey, Lessin and Deal argue that in our society the poor are treated and depicted negatively by the government and society whereas they are classified as careless people who lack morals and integrity or a specific position in our country; while Hooks, Lessin and Deal also express tha.
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A study of black and post-colonial writing in Britain - and the extent to which Britain's colonial heritage has shaped present-day formulations of British culture.