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Will You Become Your Own Nation?. Nationalism and Politics Under Globalization. Authority in the Modern World. The Thirty Years War (1618-48) Treaty of Westphalia. Rise of Modern Capitalism (17 th -18 th Centuries). Sovereignty. Order. Markets. Identity in the Modern World.

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Will You Become Your Own Nation?

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will you become your own nation

Will You Become Your Own Nation?

Nationalism and Politics Under Globalization

authority in the modern world
Authority in the Modern World

The Thirty Years War (1618-48)

Treaty of Westphalia

Rise of Modern Capitalism (17th-18th Centuries)




identity in the modern world
Identity in the Modern World

Communications Technologies (Printing Press, 16th century)

Shared historical experience

Shared Traits (Identity)

Shared Imagination

National Identity

the collision collusion of authority and identity
The Collision (Collusion?) of Authority and Identity

National Identity


Nationalism and self determination

The Nation-State, from the French Revolution (1789)

the three waves of nationalism
The three waves of nationalism
  • In fact, there were really not very many countries at all at the mid-point of the 19th century. We often think of the United States as being rather ‘new’ compared to Europe; but in fact, only Britain, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, and perhaps Spain, predate the United States as independent countries (Germany was not united until 1871, Italy not until 1860).
  • Nationalism was actually one of the primary forces that led to the creation of independent countries (it was not the only force, but it was one of the principal ones). So where did it come from?
  • Nationalism emerged in three distinct periods, which we should quickly consider;
  • The French Revolution and the era of “liberal nationalism”
  • World War One and the principle of “self-determination”
  • World War Two and the period of ‘decolonization’
  • NOTE: this makes nationalism a distinctively modern phenomenon. Some argue that there was such a thing as premodern nationalism (i.e. in ancient Israel, Babylon, etc.). Occasionally scholars may use the word. But most political scientists see nationalism as not being really born until the 18th century.
wave i liberal nationalism
Wave I: “Liberal Nationalism”
  • Nationalism as we know it was born out of one of the great revolutions of the 17th and 18th centuries. There were three revolutions that had a profound and lasting impact upon the modern political world;
  • The “glorious revolution” in England (1688) gave us the notion of constitutional monarchy (a form of democracy).
  • The American Revolution (1776) was a fight against absolutism (perhaps best expressed in modern terms as patriotism), but virtually ignored in Europe. But the American revolution was not so much about nationalism as about a set of political and civic values. Later, American nationalism grows, particularly in the war of 1812-4.
  • The French Revolution (1789) witnessed the birth of modern nationalism.
the french revolution
The French Revolution
  • Nationalism emerged in the French revolution as the force that led French people to defend the revolutionary state against the reactionary forces led by the British and Austro-Hungarians who wanted to suppress the revolution and restore the monarchy and aristocracy to power.
  • It proved to be a devastatingly powerful force. At first, others outside France were shocked by it; they saw an idea that led French citizens to want to kill and die for their common identity, and they thought it was savage and barbaric!
  • The French revolution gave us the idea of the national anthem, and the national flag becomes more than just a military identifying mark (the national flag was used, for example, in the United States before the French revolution, but it was simply a way to distinguish between friendly and enemy forces, particularly ships).
  • Following the French revolution, Napoleon began to export the idea of nationalism to other parts of Europe where peoples lived under the tutelage of old empires (Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, etc.). The first part of the 19th century represents the explosion of nationalism onto the geopolitical scene, culminating in the great wave of peoples revolutions across Europe in 1848 (some successful, some not).
wave ii world war one and the principle of self determination
Wave II: World War One and the principle of “self-determination”
  • World War One (1914-18) may be considered to be the last of the ‘old’ wars (elites against elites) and the first of the modern wars, in which nation fought nation.
  • The war was followed by a conference in France, when the major powers got together and discussed the geopolitical future.
  • Out of these discussions, the Treaty of Versailles (1919) established the principle of self-determination and carved out new nation-states in central Europe and the Balkans
  • In the Middle East, new boundaries were drawn out of the rubble of the Ottoman empire, and new states created; however, these states did not often satisfy the specific demands of the local populations for self-determination, as their rulers were imposed by the colonial powers. Thus Arab nationalism was to become a growing political force through the 20th century.
wave iii wwii and decolonization
Wave III: WWII and decolonization
  • WWII signaled an end of the dominance of the old European powers in the world. Britain was exhausted, France and the Netherlands in ruins, Germany defeated. The United States, mostly as a result of the onset of the Cold War with the USSR, wanted to get as much sympathy on the side of the capitalist countries, and pushed the European powers to decolonize quickly.
  • This was mainly expressed in the break-up of old colonial empires, much of it under strong pressure from the US.
  • However, decolonization also took place against the back-drop of the Cold War; the way in which independence took place was often determined by the intense rivalry between the United States and the USSR.
the fourth wave
The Fourth Wave?
  • The end of the Cold War has meant the break-up of formerly communist states like the USSR. Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia), and Yugoslavia (now five independent states). In many other places, national peoples are beginning to reassert old demands for self-determination.
  • This raises an uncomfortable question; what are the limits to self-determination? As part of this question, we might think about the size of the nation. The world has witnessed the rise of so-called ethno-nationalism, meaning nationalism on a very small scale, where ethnic groups take on nationalist characteristics and demands (think about the size of Kosovo, for example; look it up on the internet and or on a map).
  • Globalization has led to new migration, immigration, and population pressures.
  • Some have said, paradoxically, that globalization also might be leading to the break-down of national cultures, as we see the rise of things like global consumerism, communications, travel, etc.
  • As a question for discussion; do we think that national identity is in some way challenged by globalization? For example, do we think that Europeans and Americans are becoming more alike in significant ways? If globalization were to challenge national identity, do we think this is a good or bad thing?