‘The durability of nations and nationalism’ | A. Ichijo- openDemocracy

‘The durability of nations and nationalism’ | A. Ichijo- openDemocracy

The modernity of nationalism is self-evident and there are several points where the two concepts meet: industrialisation, the growth of capitalism, the rise of the modern state and the emergence of modern consciousness. There is a teleological assumption behind this understanding. If nationalism is a function of industrialisation, the growth of capitalism and the rise of the modern state, then it is inevitable for all societies to converge on the European model with an industrial economy driven by the logic of capitalism which is regulated by the powerful nation-state. This also suggests that the cultural specificity of different societies is neglected and, in effect, the agency of different societies is denied. Those theories that suggest that nationalism is a constitutive element of modernity rather than its product appear to have some distance from the conventional theories of modernisation, thus, the teleological tendency is weaker. By definition then, explanations focusing on culture or how human beings think are better disposed to take into account cultural specificities of different societies.

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