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Richard Mansbach & Edward Rhodes 2007, The National State and Identity Politics: State

Institutionalisation and Markers of National Identity

McCrone and Bechhofer, 2008, Skey, 2010), it presents the most comprehensive and more
generically applicable account of tropes through which national identity can be displayed.
A.D. Smiths work on nations and nationalism, echoed in identity literature (Wodak et al., 1999,
Peters, 2002, Bechhofer and McCrone, 2010, Savage et al., 2010),

Rogers Brubaker este un teoretician care a adus contribuii importante teoriilor cu privire la
relaiile inter-etnice. El a criticat modul n care a fost reificat conceptul de grup etnic n
literatura de specialitate. Potrivit acestuia, conceptul grup este luat ca atare n tiinele sociale,
inclusiv n studiul etnicitii, rasei i naionalitii (nationhood). El numete grupism tendina
de a reprezenta lumea social i cultural ca un mozaic multicolor de blocuri monocrome din
punct de vedere etnic, rasial sau cultural. n opinia lui Brubaker, conflictele etnice nu trebuie
privite ca i conflicte ntre grupuri etnice, chiar dac participanii le privesc n termeni grupiti.
Prin reificarea grupurilor se ajunge s se produc o realitate pe care aparent cercettorii o
descriu. Etnicitatea ar trebui privit nu ca entitate sau organism, ci n termeni relaionali,
procesuali, dinamici. Unitatea analitic nu este grupul ci sentimentul de apartenen la viaa de
grup (groupness).

Autorul considera etnicitatea anterioar naionalismului i i acorda un rol important n

explicarea tranziiei de la vechile solidariti etnice la identitile naionale241.

In this respect A.D. Smiths (1991) work appears particularly apposite for the purposes of this
research as the author usefully theorises what constitutes national identity as a lived
experience, i.e. as a category of practice. This approach to understanding national identity
differentiates itself from the attempts of other thinkers who see national identity as a tool to
understand social processes, i.e. use the concept as a category of analysis (Goffman, 1990,
Reicher and Hopkins, 2001, Peters, 2002, Kumar, 2003, Mandler, 2006). National Identity
Theory by A.D. Smith (1991)

1 Idem, The Ethnic Origins of Nations, p. 26.

Homeland and self-determination. On the contrary, Smith defines the nation as a
named human community occupying a homeland, and having common myths and a shared
history, a common public culture, a single economy and common rights and duties for all
members.230 In order for a nation to be constituted it must occupy a homeland and desire self-
determination. Even though, the two concepts contain similar elements, they also differentiate for
instance the key attribute of nations is a common public culture whereas, ethnies do share some
common cultural elements but, it is not a fundamental attribute.231

The political aims of the nationalist project are to some extent 'universal', meaning that
they do not significantly vary among different cases of nationalist movements. "These generic
goals are three: national autonomy, national unity, and national identity, and, for nationalists, a
nation cannot survive w ithout a sufficient degree of all three".59 The core themes of nationalist
ideology as they are presented by Anthony Smith are the following: Table 1: The Core Them es
of N ationalist Ideology60 1. Hum anity is naturally divided into nations. 2. Each nation has its
peculiar character. 3. The source of all political power is the nation, the whole collectivity. For
freedom and self-realization, men must identify w ith a nation. 5. Nations can only be fulfilled in
their own states 6. Loyalty to the nations overrides all other loyalties 7. The primary condition of
global freedom and harm ony is the strengthening of the nation-state.
These 'core themes of nationalist ideology' are widely accepted as the founding rules of
legitimacy of the modem interstate system. When, and if, a specific community achieves a
'sufficient degree' of its abovementioned 'generic goals', it follows that a nation has been
constructed and a significant part of w hat is perceived by nationalists to be the national
population has internalized a national identity.
As we can conclude from the table above, the emergence of nationalism is inseparably
linked w ith the 'objective' conditions of modernity. Nationalist ideology required the
establishment of some notion of citizenship, since, for nationalists, sovereignty lies w ith the
people (and not w ith the king).64 It also requires, or aims at, the founding of a centralized state,
something which only became technologically, economically and politically feasible at the daw n
of the m odem era. Furthermore, the presence of a vernacular language which would ensure
undisrupted communication between the members of a nation greatly facilitated the nationalist
cause. In this sense, the emergence of nationalism is unthinkable in pre-m odem contexts. Thus,
in his Ethnic Origins of Nations, Anthony Smith points out that modernists, meaning those who
share "a belief in the contingency of nationalism and the modernity of the nation," m ust be
right.65 By
acknowledging this fact, ethno-symbolism distinguishes itself from perennial and prim ordial
approaches to nationalism. In short, nationalism could adequately accommodate the novel
conditions of m odernity into its ideological symbols, and therefore managed to make the new
social reality intelligible to subjects.
The obvious question which now emerges is why nationalism in specific, and not some
other ideological discourse? Modernism, with its exclusive emphasis on the conditions of
modernity, fails to explain the specificity of the nationalist system of beliefs, as well how nations
came to acquire a positive ontological status in the eyes of the 'people' in Europe and elsewhere.
The answer of ethno-symbolism is that we should search at the 'ethnic origins of nations'.
Identities do not emerge ex nihilo. The starting point of a new identity is a previous one. What
we mean by this is that new symbolic orders do not only emerge through the creation of new
symbols, but also through the re-arrangement of existing symbols in a new order. This is
necessary for a smooth passing from one hegemonic political discourse to another since
individuals are more easily 'converted' if the new ideology uses some familiar symbols, rituals,
and practices. The conclusion draw n from this line of thought is that pre-m odern ethnic,
religious, and cultural material not only shaped the character of individual nations but it was also
a necessary condition for their emergence. It was probably as equally necessary as the objective
conditions of m odernity were. This conclusion differentiates ethno-symbolism from classic
modernist accounts of nationalism. It explains the specific nature of nationalism by referring to
pre-existing ethnic ties. Thus, ethno-symbolists are not "constructivists" ex nihilo. To put it in
Smith's words, "the rise of nations and nationalism is placed w ithin a framework of earlier
collective cultural identities, and especially of ethnic communities, or ethnies".66 The category
of ethnie accounts for the longevity of nationalism, by emphasizing the importance of strong pre-
m odern cultural bonds. It also explains why nationalism was so successful in communicating w
ith the people, since it emphasizes the role of the politicization of cultural norms as the basic
method of legitimization of nationalist claims. It gives answers to the question of why
nationalism has been a 'universal' social phenomenon which has arisen during several historical
phases of modernity, and in all the continents of the globe, and tended to hypostasize in different
forms under different social contexts. This is obviously because culturally and historically
specific communities existed everywhere, well before nationalism emerged. Finally, it explicates
why there is no single canonical text of nationalism, like it is the case w ith other political
discourses, since the political ideas of each nationalist movement differed in each case, and were
dependent on the different historical and social environments. In short, ethno-symbolism deals w
ith the questions left unanswered by the m odernist paradigm: "By relating national identities to
prior ethnic ties, and showing the influence of subjective dimensions of shared symbols, myths
and memories, ethno-symbolism throws light on the continuing hold exercised by nations over so
many people today".67 After making these important preliminary observations, we m ay now
proceed to a working definition of the nation for the purposes of this
dissertation: Nation is a m odem mode of conceiving the political identity of a population, based
on the politicization and re-interpretation of pre-existing cultural material and symbolic
resources in this referent population by nationalists. In other words, it is the ideology of
nationalism that defines w hat is the nation, and not some 'objective' criteria. A subjective
definition of the nation has been chosen over an 'objective' one, since the use of 'objective'
elements (geography, history, religion, 'race', ethnicity, citizenship, etc.), and their articulation w
ithin a particular system of meaning which describes 'w hat is the nation' differs from case to
case and ultimately depends on the handling of symbolic resources by nationalists. Thus,
nationalism is an ideology which constructs the "nation-as-this and the people-as-one."68
Moreover, this definition places emphasis on the existence of pre-m odem communal affiliations
and allegiances ('pre-existing cultural material7) in the nationhood-construction process. Hence,
it attem pts to explain the intertwining between tradition and modernity w ithin nations, while it
hopefully avoids the essentialism of 'objective' definitions. Finally, this definition pre-supposes
that an image of the nation may exist in the m inds of nationalists well before the people who are
supposed to constitute the nation have internalised a national identity. This definition merges
discourse theoryw ith ethno-symbolism.

Pentru Anthony D. Smith, naionalismul, ca ideologie i micare, trebuie s fie asociat cu

identitatea naional, realitate multidimensional, alctuit din limb, sentimente i o
simbolistic specific. Sociologul englez delimiteaz ntre modelul occidental i
modelul nonoccidental de naiune. Componentele modelului occidental de naiune sunt teritoriul
istoric, comunitatea legal-politic, egalitatea legal-politic a membrilor, precum i o cultur
civic i o ideologie comune. Dat fiind influena Occidentului n lumea modern, componentele
naiunilor apusene au rmas elemente vitale, chiar i n forme alterate, n cadrul concepiilor
despre identitatea naional din majoritatea rilor nonoccidentale62.

Identitatea naional exprim atitudini, mentaliti i comportamente colective rezultate din

apartenena indivizilor la un stat naional.

Din Dinu Balan

n a doua treime a secolului al XIX-lea, naionalismul reprezenta un fenomen general
european102, naiunile moderne fcndu-i apariia pe scena istoriei. Sau, n formularea lui
Benedict Anderson, [] naionalismul n epoca lui Michelet i a lui Renan reprezenta o nou
form de contiin o contiin care a aprut atunci cnd nu mai era posibil experiena
naiunii ca noutate103 (subl. D. B.). n acest context, realizarea echivalenei ntre naiune i
stat a avut ca rezultat crearea unei distincii ntre naiunile politice i naiunile etnice,
respectiv operarea unei diferenieri ntre naionalismul politic i cel etnic104. S-a vorbit, de
aceea, de o fals contiin atotcuprinztoare a ideologiei naionaliste. Miturile ei inverseaz
realitatea: ea pretinde c apr cultura popular, cnd de fapt ajut la construirea unei societi
anonime de mas. [] Naionalismul tinde s se considere un principiu manifest i de la sine
neles []. El propovduiete i apr continuitatea, dar datoreaz totul unei rupturi decisive i
incredibil de profunde n istoria omenirii. Propovduiete i apr diversitatea cultural, cnd de
fapt impune omogenitatea att n interiorul, ct i, ntr-o mai mic msur, ntre unitile politice
[]105. Aceast dorin a unitii, contient sau subliminal, care st la baza naiunii moderne
i a naionalismului106 este un fenomen modern, dar nu neaprat legat de existena statului-
naiune. Cci, chiar nainte de sfritul secolului al XVIII-lea, exista o contiin de sine, uneori
foarte puternic, ns abia n urma revoluiei franceze din 1789 s-a dezvoltat dimensiunea
politic, conform creia statul-naiune este acela suprapus unui teritoriu istoric, [avnd] aceleai
mituri i amintiri istorice, o cultur larg, de mase, o economie comun, aceleai drepturi i
obligaii pentru toi membrii107. De aici, i discuiile contradictorii asupra relaiilor dintre

2 Anthony D. Smith, National Identity, London, Penguin Books, 1991, p. 11.

naionalism i democraie, mai puin relevante pentru specificul naionalismului n epoca
modern, dar rodnice n sugestii conceptuale, demne de reinut108. Este vorba de acea
contiin populist, de care vorbea istoricul britanic Eric Hobsbawm109. n alt parte, el
distingea, dup 1830, ntre micrile naionaliste cu contiin de sine, cu o real consisten
democratic (german, italian, polonez, etc.) i micri de revolt popular mpotriva
stpnirii strine (neleas ca stpnirea exercitat de o religie diferit, nu de o naionalitate
diferit), aa cum, pretinde autorul, ar fi stat lucrurile n ultimul caz n Balcani110.
Critici. Tabra modernist a fost pe bun dreptate criticat pentru faptul c a pus prea
mult accent pe modernism i a ignorat componentele culturale i istorice care leag
naionalitile i naiunile de astzi de grupurile etnice de ieri 3. Critica a venit de la A.D. Smith i
John Hutchinson, care au susinu c aspectele etnice i legturile istorice sunt importante i
trebuie luate n considerare.
Primordialism has been strongly challenged by the modernist school of thought. It came under a
scathing attack for being unsatisfactory in explaining the issue of national identity (Eller and
Coughlan 1993)5. They argue that the concept should be discarded once and for all due to
several defective aspects. Primary among these is that it is suffers from apriority, considering
personal attachments and social realities to exist prior to any interaction among groups. Eller and
Coughlan charge that ethnicity should be seen as a social construct of the self, which undergoes
constant change, and reconsideration (1993). Along related lines Brass has also argued that
ethnicity is a creation of the elite (1991). Whilst not defending Primordialism, this research must
reject both challenges, especially that of Eller and Coughlan. National identity is not simply a
social construct that exists as part of modem society - it also exists outside of the social
construction of society. It may be influenced by it, but also clearly influences it. The nature of
national identity and belonging can direct social activity and inhibit certain actions within and by
members of that society. Among the arguments made by modernists such as Eller and Coughlan,
the attack on ethnicity as little more than a social construct denies the existence of history on
society and contemporary politics. The primary attack against primordialism is the date of
nations' emergence.
In his later book, Nations and Nationalism in the Global Era, A.D. Smith (1995) continues
his discussion of national identity in the age of globalisation. Analysing the paradox of emerging

3 Smith, 2003.
global culture and the rebirth of ethnic nationalism happening at the same time, he assesses three
approaches to explain this phenomenon and admits that narratives of national identity are
becoming increasingly hybridized and ambivalent and observes the emergence 26 of looser
polyethnic societies (p.3). However, none of the three approaches to explain this paradox
appears satisfactory to A.D. Smith. He rejects the global culture approach as lacking evidence
and failing to grasp the import of proliferating ethnic nationalisms (p.6). Looking at the works
of Marx, Engels and Hobsbawm, he points out that their approaches to understanding national
identity and national culture at the time of rapid global changes are based on depolitisation:
separation of the cultural level of the nation from the political level of the state,
demilitarization, normalization and ritualisation of nationalism.
A.D. Smith criticises the vision of cultural nationalism and political nationalism as
separate and unrelated to each other. He argues that plural nations have no ground for
existence. Discussing the idea of a new imperialism, A.D. Smith (1995) acknowledges the
dominant position of large transnational companies, which require a transnational class of
capitalists, powerful global ideology and culture of mass consumerism (p. 16-17). However,
this idea is subverted by strongly persisting power politics and national cultures. For A.D. Smith,
global culture, cosmopolitan and rootless, causes fear and concern among people: shallow and
memory-less, it cannot offer common memories, myths, symbols, values and identities. A.D.
Smith (1995) firmly concludes that no global identity in-the-making can be observed, remaining
a dream to some intellectuals. People are still divided into their habitual communities of class,
gender, region, religion and culture (p.24).
The term national identity has only recently become popular as it has substituted earlier
terms such as national character and later national consciousness. Smith believes the change has
occurred as the world has become increasingly more fragmented. Thus, people have a desire for
conceptualising their national identity as a result of the anxiety and alienation of people brought
on by globalisation.236
Mary Caputi imputes immense importance to the strong emotions that national identity carries.
National identity is the individual members struggle to embed itself in a larger project. Caputi
propounds that peoples complex emotions regarding national identity are illustrated by the
individual members ambivalent attitude towards its own nation. People can feel both pride in
their nation, and at other times feel ashamed. She clarifies that the absence of cultural
identification can affect the individual in a negative way.237
Stuart Halls perspective on national identity emphasises that it is superficial or artificial imposed
elements, which a people with a shared history and ancestry hold in common. These common
elements can stabilise, fix or guarantee an unchanging cultural belonging and thus, underlie all
the superficial differences that a people might have. Moreover, Hall states that identities are
about using the resources of history, language and culture in the process of becoming rather than
being. He argues that it is a process concerning not who we are or where we came from, so much
as what we might become, how we have been represented and how that influences the way we
represent ourselves. Thus, he underlines that identities are construed within, not outside
representation and is directly contrary to the form in which they are constantly invoked.
Identities are constructed through the differences between people because through the difference
people have, they find what they have in common and thereby, create cultural belonging.238
Smith (1998), more accepting as an ethno-symbolist, argues that primordialism does provide
some useful aspects for consideration, especially in regards to culture, individual belief and
emotion. Likewise Kellas seems to agree that such considerations are important. Indeed he
makes an important, and key point by arguing that the emotional strength of nationalism, in the
political realm, is explained by its roots in ethnocentrism (Kellas 1998). Brass also concedes that
when it comes to understanding ethnic groups that have a long history and cultural heritage some
aspects of the primordial perspective are useful (1991). In addition, Ozkirimli (in many ways a
strong critic of anything primordial or ethnQ-symbolist) argues that primordialism, as espoused
by Geertz in terms of meanings and emotions, is also important as a concept in explaining human
action (2000). Thus it can be seen that the more extreme versions of primordiality have been
discredited and dismissed. Any argument that draws upon a strict sense of blood and belonging
must be rejected as unscientific and unsupported. Nevertheless an outright rejection of some
primordial argument is a step backwards, and a need to understand the importance of 'blood' or
ethnicity remains. Certain concepts continue to be employed in the study of nationalism by
modernists, and ethno-symbolists such as Smith. The political importance of the emotional
attachment to ethnicity and a sense of national identity, as highlighted by Kellas, is clearly key.
Any study on the nature of national identity must consider just this point if it hopes to provide
insight into nationalism in the modem political world.

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