“Nationalism is an ideology and policy direction the basic principle of which is the thesis of the value of the nation as the highest form of social cohesion and its primary in the state process; it promotes loyalty and devotion to the nation, political independence, and national idea for protecting the country” (Novak O. et al., 2018).
Five years ago, the revolution in Ukraine had brought the nationalists' movement a new life, again attracting the world's community attention to a forgotten phenomenon. The innate desire to be unique has helped people to develop healthy competition between nations. However, what starts out as healthy competition and national pride can quickly develop into hate and fear, and this is how nationalism works. It can guide nations into hate, fear of outsiders, and violence, or it can reach citizens to cherish their nation and its interests. This topic is worth discussion because nationalism, as a phenomenon, brings hate and disgust to other nations, and should be restricted. Although the European politicians do not pay attention to the problem of nationalism development today, nationalism gave birth to such a frightening movement as "Nazism," and leads certain groups of people to act aggressively against representatives of other nationalities.
To begin with, it should be clarified from where did nationalistic phenomenon took roots. As humanity began to form societies and later countries, nationalism showed up. People always were obsessed with differing themselves, with being unique, that is why it is evident that national self-images are generally built in contrast to images of alien and hostile nations (Romein, 2017). Humans have always been afraid of something new, strange, undiscovered, and different nationalities have always been strange to each other. Fear brings aggression, and hence, based on fear, one nationality has always felt dislike to others.
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Since nationalism resulted because of the initial segregation of people by different and familiar features, it is essential to mention that ethnicity happens to be a basis for nationalism. Iver B. Neumann in his book "Security, Ethnicity, Nationalism," says that first and foremost, the rise of ethnicity was motivated by security concerns: it was placed on the Other as a way of controlling what was outside the Self, making it more manageable and less dangerous. Another way of thinking about the identity of the Other, what we now call race, originated among the Greeks and Romans, contributing to the questioning od ever new groups into a self-understanding as an ethnic group (Neumann, 2018). To bring a better insight on what nationalism actually is, Iver B. Neumann also underlines that when race is the Other’s identity, nationalism is the Self’s identity. He also had to come up with an idea that it becomes a matter of security not to order the identity of the Other Policies, as did the Byzantines, but to see to it that groups that threaten the patriotism of the Self (Neumann, 2018).
There are a lot of different reasons that can become a basis for nationalism to occur. For example, taking a look at the current Spanish situation, one part of Spain, Catalonia, fights for its independence. Catalonians are driven by the pride of their uniqueness, and the hate to Spanish people, which are to main features that describe nationalism. Speaking about the reasons for the nationalism to occur, Conversi D., & Jeram S., while describing the crisis in the Spain, mention that for the Catalan situation, most scholars disagree that the economic crisis was the main catalyst for the strong separatist drive that arose in the 2010s, arguing that relative prosperity – rather than economic decline, inequality or unemployment – plays a decisive role in the nationalist movements’ capacity and power to mobilize their supporters (Conversi & Jeram, 2017). So this actually means that the birth to nationalism can be brought by many different events, but those mostly tied with the socio segment of a country have the biggest relativeness to the emergence of nationalism.
The concept of nationalism takes place in everyone’s routine life. In the book “Introduction: Everyday nationalism’s evidence problem “, authors have done a great job outlining the concept of the nationalism existence in the daily life of an average person, mentioning that Ordinary people think of the country, speak to the nation, enforce the nation, execute the nation, eat the nation – and of course deny, resist, disregard, and avoid the nation – all in ways that lead to the replication and legitimization – or weakening and undermining – of national types of belonging (Fox J.E & Van Ginderachter, 2018). To ordinary people, the country is everywhere but none at the same time: it acts in everyday life not as an object of self-conscious or purposeful exploitation, but rather behind the scenes, educating and undergrounding everyday conversation and interaction without becoming the overt focus of that conversation and interaction (Fox J.E & Van Ginderachter, 2018).
The problem of nationalism recently arose across the countries of the European Union. Not the long ago, thousands of refugees were trying to escape from war zones seeking shelter, and European countries were the most prominent and safest place to go. Besides those who were legally accepted to cross the border and receive shelter, there were numerous refugees who illegally trespassed into the area of European countries. Different nationalities were brought face to face and had to deal with it. The main threats faced by the European Union during the immigration events were a catastrophe: the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Middle East war zones; crime including terrorism, allegedly committed by burgeoning migrants and refugees; and continuing terrorist attacks by Islamists in European cities (Novak at al., 2018).
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This might appear as a popular point of view that the problem of refugees immigrating into the countries of the European Union can be solved and, furthermore, world society can get benefit from it. As Bullesback et al. in their book “Shifting baselines of Europe: new perspectives beyond neoliberalism and nationalism," state that through showing the possibilities for the absorption of refugees, cities and municipalities will enable their national governments to fulfill their obligations (Bullesback et al., 2017). With this statement, it is clear that the authors believe that they see societal initiation as the key to the success of their dream. However, as a significantly different cultures are put face to face, they will have to stay against each other. It is not a secret, and, moreover, a pretty well-known fact that since the first waves of immigration, a bunch of local villages across Europe even had to adapt and change inner cultural life, changing holidays days, and even restricting religious procedures in a benefit of a new religion coming with new immigrants.
One can say that nationalism is an integral and fundamental phenomenon for every country to be prosperous. Nationalism develops the infrastructure of the nation, it inspires representatives of a particular nation to succeed, and the sense of competition leads nations to achieve more and faster than others. That is why, numerous politicians would rather stand for nationalism, or not pay attention to this phenomenon existence. World community closes its eyes on the fact that nowadays, nationalistic movements are growing and developing across European countries. It is a mistake.
It is hard to refuse the fact that nationalism will work as a stimulus for one nation to lead and outperform others, but taking into account another side of the story, nationalism leads to the war. It is impossible to live in competition and keep a good mood all the time, since stress and the lack of success bring people, and therefore nations, hatred for other nations. People should adopt the idea that nowadays, globalization has brought us all together, and how can people communicate and live back to back if they hate each other and cannot unify? That is why nationalism should be regulated since people live better under the fear of laws, and this will bring a significant effect, as nationalism, as far as all other forms of discrimination will be forgotten.
Nationalism, as a phenomenon, is a very controversial topic to discuss. It is clear that if we fall asleep and wake up in fifty years, nationalism will still exist. However, the nationalism, can either be as pride for a country’s success or might be expressed as hatred to others. Therefore, if such a negative possibility as hate exists, nationalism should be regulated and restricted in specific ways of its expression, in order to prevent nationalistic based wars, and disagreements.
- Bullesback, D., Cillero, M., & Stolz, L. (2017). Shifting baselines of Europe: new perspectives beyond neoliberalism and nationalism. Retrieved from http://oapen.org/download?type=document&docid=634766
- Conversi, D., & Jeram, S. (2017). Despite the crisis: The resilience of intercultural nationalism in Catalonia. International Migration, 55(2), 53-67. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.neu.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=fd749eb5-610b-4ad8-807e-ec70566a3e81%40sdc-v-sessmgr01&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#AN=121776167&db=a9h
- Fox, J. E., & Van Ginderachter, M. (2018). Introduction: Everyday nationalism’s evidence problem. Nations and Nationalism, 24(3), 546-552. doi: 10.1111/nana.12418
- Neumann, I. B. (2018). Security, ethnicity, nationalism. Nations and Nationalism, 24(2), 348-368. Retrieved from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.neu.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=fddde74b-e31c-4451-95fc-6e7cea032a40%40sessionmgr103&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#AN=129303498&db=a9h
- Romein, C.A., (2017). Lotte Jensen (ed.) The Roots of Nationalism. National Identity Formation in Early Modern Europe, 1600-1815. Retrieved from https://www.bmgn-lchr.nl/article/10.18352/bmgn-lchr.10326/
- Voznyuk, E. V., Novak, O. Y., & Samoilova, O. I. (2018). Nationalism as a threat to European security. Studia Humanitatis, 1(2). Retrieved from http://st-hum.ru/en/node/645
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