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Nations and Nationalism

Nationalism is defined by Ernest Gellner in his book entitled Nations and Nationalism as “primarily a political principle, which holds that the political and the national unit should be congruent” (Gellner and Breuilly xxvii). Nationalism has its positive and negative aspects. Nationalism is recognized as a positive force in order to promote cohesiveness within the country, which also aids in contributing to the social and economic development of a country.

On the other hand, nationalism also has its negative aspects especially when it comes to the sentiments of national superiority over other nations and races, as well as the intolerance against minorities that could lead to assimilation of minorities through force. These negative aspects can degenerate into jingoism and xenophobia and can even go as worse as genocide and ethnic cleansing (Osmanczyk and Mango 1531).

The positive and negative aspects of nationalism only show that it is a double-edged sword wherein nationalism has its corresponding gains and loses, which is largely focused on bringing the people together or further driving them apart. It is also important to give due attention to the difference of nationalism and patriotism as these two concepts are often confused by most people. The distinction between nationalism and patriotism is essential in fully understanding these two concepts and its corresponding implications.

Despite the fact that nationalism is akin to patriotism, nationalism is still different because it gives emphasis to ethnicity, an out growth of age-old loyalties to family, clan, and tribe; on the other hand, patriotism is more focused on the sentiment or love for the country (Osmanczyk and Mango 1531). The sovereignty of nation-state and nationalism is facing new challenges especially during the current era of various technological advancement.

Globalization, together with the transcendence of borders, poses a threat to nationalism because it influences people to be included in one global village wherein national distinction is taken for granted. Another challenge that most countries have to face nowadays is the phenomenon of migration that makes it difficult for country to remain homogeneous, especially for those that have a growing diversity in their resident population. Being the case, it is sometimes difficult to preserve the sense of nationalism within these countries because of various influences coming from outside sources (Riggs).

Works Cited

Gellner, Ernest. , and Breuilly, John. Nations and Nationalism. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing, 2006. Osmanczyk, Edmund Jan. , and Mango, Anthony. Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International Agreements. New York: Taylor and Francis, 2003. Riggs, Fred. “Globalization, Ethnic Diversity and Nationalism: The Challenge for Democracies. ” May 2002. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 8 June 2009 <http://www.hawaii.edu/global/publications_media/Publications_Staff_Fac/riggs. html>.

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