The term nationalism refers to loyalty of an individual or a group to a nation. This term is primarily used when referring to a group that elevates the status of one nation above others and focuses on the degradation of others’ cultures or the promotion of their own.
Examples of nationalism include:
- Any situation in which a nation comes together for a specific cause or in reaction to a significant event
- The Battle of New Orleans in which Americans united at the conclusion of the American Revolution
- The waving of flags and passionate anthem singing
- The great outpouring of support by citizens of a nation for their athletes in the Olympics
- The unity of Americans and outpouring of patriotic actions after the events of September 11
- Hitler’s unity of the Germans through various techniques in order to achieve his agenda
- Nationalism is evident in European countries’ colonial expansion
- The unity of the Soviets when bringing their country to collapse after the Cold War
- The unity of the Serbian minorities in Croatia and Bosnia
- The election of a nationalist party in 2007 in Scotland
- Wales’ successful election of a new party in 2007
- The French Revolution
- The Made In the USA campaign
- Symbols such as the Union Jack and songs such as Rule, Brittania! are examples of the manifestation of nationalism in England in the 1700’s
- The Greek War of Independence was begun by Greek nationalists as a show of united rebellion
- Pan-Turkism, an ideology of Turkish nationalists
- Pahlavi was able to increase nationalist ideology in Iran during his rule by boosting patriotism
- Aryanism, an ideology which states that Aryans are the master race, has been considered a form of, or component of, nationalism
- The Japanese, during WWII, displayed nationalism
- Benito Mussolini is an example of a nationalistic leader
As these examples show, nationalism can be used for good purposes or for bad purposes depending upon what the nation comes together in order to accomplish.
Perspectives of Nationalism
There are two perspectives about nationalism’s genesis, primordialist and modernist:
- Primordialist – Suggests that nationalism is the result of humans’ evolutionary tendency to gather and unite in groups. Pierre van den Berghe is a primary proponent of the primordialist perspective.
- Modernist – Suggests that nationalism is very new and its existence requires contemporary societal and cultural constructs. Henry Maine, Max Weber, and Ferdinand Tonnies are some of the prominent modernist theorists. The first usage of the word “nationalism” is attributed to Johann Gottfried Herder in the late 1700’s.
Nationalism can be a powerful means of achieving goals as a country. Nationalism can also be a tool of manipulation by the leadership of a group or nation and can lead to grave violence.