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Evolution of old fashioned racism to modern racism

4010 words (16 pages) Essay in Sociology

5/12/16 Sociology Reference this

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Non-White Americans to some extent are haunted by their own inferiority. For example, Asian American undergraduates express similar implicit biases, and view their own group as less American than White Americans (Devos and Banaji, 2005). Thus, for both majority and minority groups in the US, it appears that White Americans form the prototypical exemplar of ‘real America’.

In Western Europe, the term subtle racism is used to capture these more hidden forms of prejudice (Pettigrew and Meertens, 1995). In spite of this, research efforts to develop measures of old-fashioned and modem racism have evolved independently. Hence, a general framework integrating these various prejudice dimensions is not available.

Kleinpenning and Hagendoorn (1993) develop a model in which four alternative expressions of racism are arrayed on a single dimension that runs from blatant racism through subtle racism to egalitarianism. The most extreme racist position is called biological racism, which refers to a belief in White supremacy. Those who adhere to this form of racism agree that differences between racial groups are inherited from parents or possessed from birth. Symbolic racism is the second form of racism on the cumulative dimension that also refers to an eagerness to discriminate, but symbolic racists do so because they believe that minorities’ different moral values threaten their own culture. The third form of racism, namely ethnocentrism, does not imply the wish for racial segregation, but instead is characterized primarily by the differentiation between in-groups and out-groups, as well as by the demand for the submission of out-groups. Finally, aversive racism-the least severe sort of prejudice-refers to reluctance to interact with out-group members. People who do not score high on either of these facet scales are labeled egalitarians. In this sense, Kleinpenning and Hagendoorn (1993) view threat as characteristic for all forms of racism, although threat manifests itself in various ways. In the case of biological racism, out-groups are seen as a biological threat that endangers in-groups, and intergroup conflict represents a racial problem. In the case of symbolic racism and ethnocentrism, the out-group poses a cultural threat, and the conflict is experienced as a societal problem. In the case of aversive racism, contact with members of outgroups is considered threatening, and this is considered to be a social problem. Still, Kleinpenning and Hagendoorn (1993) explicitly arrange the various forms of racism according to their potential to elicit threat and dominance motivations. They assume that superiority is a component of biological and symbolic racism, as well as ethnocentrism, whereas superiority is not typical for aversive racism. In the case of biological racism, superiority translates into biological superiority; in the case of symbolic racism and ethnocentrism, superiority takes the form of assumed cultural supremacy.

3.4 Nationalism

Nationalism, plainly speaking, is a political and social attitude of a group of society that has identical culture, language, and regional background. Thus, those people in that group feel the intense loyalty toward the ingroup. In modern sense, nationalism can be traced back from the French Revolution, in which its roots have grown with the resurgence of centralized kingdoms, with the doctrine of Mercantilism economic policy, and birth of strong middle classes. Smith (1998) argues that while there is significant debate over the historical origins of nations, nearly all specialists accept that nationalism, at least as an ideology and social movements, is a modern phenomenon originating in Europe. Precisely where and when it emerged is difficult to determine, but its development is closely related to that of the modern state and the push for popular sovereignty that came to a head with the French Revolution in the late 18th century (Laqueur, 1997). Since that time, nationalism has become one of the most significant political and social forces in history, perhaps most notably as a major influence or cause of World War I and especially World War II due to the rise of fascism, a radical and authoritarian nationalist ideology.

According to Smith (1993), nationalism refers to an ideology, a sentiment, a form of culture, or a social movement that focuses on the nation. He notes that the paradigm of nationalism, which was so dominant till recently, is that of classical modernism. This is the conception that nations and nationalism are intrinsic to the nature of the modern world and to the revolution of modernity. Nowadays, nationalism is associated with desire to unify or national independence, such as the reunification of the two German states; on the other hand, it could be a destructive force in countries with multiethnic society, such as in India, Indonesia, or Israel.

It is necessary to have a clear idea about the term ‘nationalism’ and other key concepts as ‘nation’, ‘nationality’, or ‘national identity’. In this sense, Young et al. (2007) argues that the terms ‘nation’ and ‘national identity’ need to be analytically distinguished from that of the ‘state’, especially in the case of composite state-nations like Great Britain. This means that the much-vaunted ‘decline of the state’ in a post-modern epoch is not the same as a decline of nations; analytically, these are quite separate issues. At the same time, substantively, the national state is heavily involved in the question of the decline or persistence of ‘nation’ and ‘national identity’. In the same way, terms like ‘nation’ and national identity’ need to be sharply distinguished from ‘nationalism’, seen as an ideology and movement, or ideological movement. They also need to be separated from ‘national sentiments’, defined as overreacted sentiment directed at a particular nationality.

As an ideology, nationalism holds that ‘the people’ is the nation, and that as a result only nation-states founded on the principle of national self-determination are legitimate. In many cases nationalist pursuit of self-determination has caused conflict between people and states including war (both external and domestic), secession; and in extreme cases, genocide.

Miscevic (2001) explains that although the term “nationalism” has a variety of meanings; it centrally encompasses the two phenomena noted at the outset: (1) the specific attitude that the members of a nation have when they care about their identity as members of that nation and (2) the actions that the members of a nation take in seeking to achieve (or sustain) some form of political sovereignty. Each of these aspects requires elaboration. First, it raises questions about the concept of nation or national identity, about what it is to belong to a nation and about how much one ought to care about one’s nation. Nations and national identity may be defined in terms of common origin, ethnicity, or cultural ties. Second, it raises questions about whether sovereignty entails the acquisition of full statehood with complete authority for domestic and international affairs, or whether something less than statehood would suffice (Miller 1992 and Miller 2000).

Despite these definitional worries, there is a fair amount of agreement about what is historically the most typical, paradigmatic form of nationalism. It is the one which features the supremacy of the nation’s claims over individual allegiance and which features full sovereignty as the persistent aim of its political program. The state as political unit is seen by nationalists as centrally ‘belonging’ to one ethno-cultural group and as charged with protecting and promulgating its traditions. This form is exemplified by classical, “revivalist” nationalism, that was most prominent in the 19th century in Europe and Latin America. This classical nationalism later spread across the world and in present days still marks much contemporary nationalism, such as in United States, India, or Indonesia.

Nationalism and ethnicity are related, though different, concepts. The distinction between nationalism and ethnicity as analytical concepts is a simple one. Eriksen (1993) notes that a nationalist ideology is an ethnic ideology which demands a state on behalf of the ethnic group. In practice, however, the distinction can be considerably problematic in several ways (Ericksen, 1993). First, nationalism may sometimes express a polyethnic or supraethnic ideology which stresses shared civil rights rather than shared cultural roots, such as in the United States of America. Second, certain categories of people may find themselves in a grey zone between nation and ethnic category. For example, in Indonesia, the Sundanese tribe feels different from the Javanese tribe, but as an Indonesian (nation), they do not feel different. Third, in the mass media and in casual conversation the terms are not used consistently. Nevertheless, nationalism does not necessarily imply a belief in the superiority of one ethnicity over others, but some people believe that some so-called nationalists support ethnocentric protectionism or ethnocentric supremacy.

In societies where nationalism is presented as an impartial and universalistic ideology based on bureaucratic principles of justice, such as in Indonesia, ethnicity, ethnocentrism, and sometime ethnic organization may appear as threats against national cohesion, justice, and the state. A different kind of conflict between ethnicity and nationalism, which is perhaps more true to the conventional meaning of the term nationalism, can be described as a conflict between a dominating and a dominated ethnic group within the framework of a modern nation-state.

The concept of nationalism can be scrutinized from different viewpoints. Weiss (2003) explains that theories of nationalism have been developed by different disciplines. Social-psychological research centers on interaction processes between groups (competition and conflict, social identity), whereas investigators with a depth-psychology approach conceive features of the individual’s personality as a primary causality (e.g., research in the fascist or authoritarian personality). By contrast, sociological and political theories derive nationalism from societal developments-modernization, disintegration, or crises-and postulate that such social conditions as inequality or rapid change will be reflected in individuals’ interpretations of a given social situation, attitudes, orientations and nationalism.

Smith (1998) argues that nationalism as a sentiment or form of culture, sometimes described as ‘nationality’ to avoid the ideology’s tarnished reputation, is the social foundation of modern society. Industrialization, democratization, and support for economic redistribution have all been at least partly attributed to the shared social context and solidarity that nationalism provides (Gelner, 2005; Miller, 1995).

From a normative typology, Gans (2003) divides the term ‘nationalism’ into two types, namely statist nationalism and cultural nationalism. According to statist nationalism, in order for states to realize political values such as democracy, economic welfare and distributive justice, the citizenries of states must share a homogeneous national culture. In cultural nationalism, members of groups sharing a common history and societal culture have a fundamental, morally significant interest in adhering to their culture and in sustaining it across generations. In spite of these similarities, these types do not have a common origin. Within statist ationalism, the national culture is the means, and the values of the state are the aims. Within cultural nationalism, however, the national culture is the aim, and the state is the means. Moreover, within statist nationalism, any national culture, not necessarily the national culture of the states’ citizenries or a part of their citizenries, could in principle be the means for realizing the political values of the state. Within cultural nationalism, on the other hand, states are the means or the providers of the means for preserving the specific national cultures of their citizenry or parts thereof.

The term statist nationalism (Gans, 2003) expresses the normative essence of a nationalism that historians and sociologists call territorial-civic, while cultural nationalism expresses the normative essence of the type of nationalism that is called ethnocultural by historians and sociologists. In making the distinction between territorial-civic nationalism and ethnocultural nationalism, Gans (2003) emphasizes that historians and sociologists have mixed geographical, sociological, judgmental and normative parameters. Territorial-civic nationalism is Western and ethnocultural nationalism is Eastern. The former involves a strong middle class whereas the latter involves intellectuals operating in a society whose middle class is weak or which lacks a middle class. The former is progressive and is inspired by the legal and rational concept of citizenship while the latter is regressive and is inspired by the Volk’s unconscious development.

To interpret the distinction of a normative typology of nationalist ideologies (statist and cultural nationalism), Seymour et al. (2000) characterize territorial-civic nationalism as a type of nationalism within which individuals give themselves a state, and the state is what binds together the nation. It entails that the concept of nation is subjective since it emphasizes the will of individuals. And it is individualistic since the nation is nothing over and above willing individuals. Voluntarism, subjectivism and individualism thus characterize this type of nationalism. Ethnic or ethnocultural nationalism is based on a conception of the nation as the product of objective facts pertaining to social life. These facts are that members of the nation share a common language, culture and tradition. In this type of nationalism, the nation exists prior to the state. It is also a collective that transcends and is prior to the individuals of which it consists. Objectivism, collectivism and a lack of individual choice characterize this form of nationalism.

Again, Gans (2003) points out that cultural nationalism, according to which members of national groups have a morally significant interest in adhering to their culture and preserving it for generations, is not concerned with how a national culture can contribute to the realization of the state’s values but rather with the support which states should extend to national cultures. Statist nationalism, according to which citizenries of states must share a homogeneous national culture in order for their states to realize political values, is not concerned with the support which states should extend to national cultures. Rather, it is concerned with the support which national cultures should extend to states.

It is important to emphasize that calling the one type of nationalism ‘cultural’, and the other ‘statist’, does not mean that cultural nationalism is a-political, and that statist nationalism is a-cultural. Cultural nationalism is political, for it seeks political protection for national cultures. Statist nationalism, with regard to civic nationalism, is cultural for it requires that citizenries of states share not merely a set of political principles, but also a common language, tradition and a sense of common history. In other words, the difference between statist and cultural nationalism is not due to the fact that the former is purely political and the latter is purely cultural but rather because of their different normative and practical concerns.

Nationalism may manifest itself as part of an official state ideology or as a popular (non-state) movement and may be expressed along civic, ethnic, cultural, religious or ideological lines. These self-definitions of the nation are used to classify types of nationalism. However, such categories are not mutually exclusive and many nationalist movements combine some or all of these elements to varying degrees. Nationalist movements can also be classified by other criteria, such as the magnitude and location.

Civic or cultural nationalism is focused on cultural rather than hereditary connections between people. Civic nationalism promotes common cultural values and allows people of different origins to assimilate into the nation. Ethnic nationalism is based on the hereditary connections of people. Ethnic nationalism specifically seeks to unite all people of a certain ethnicity heritage together. Ethnic nationalism does not seek to include people of other ethnicities. Irredentism is a form of nationalism promoting the annexation of territories, which have or previously had members of the nation residing within them, to a state which composes most or all of the nation’s members. Expansionist nationalism promotes spreading the nation’s members to new territories, usually on the claimed basis that existing territory which the nation has resided in is too small or is not able to physically or economically sustain the nation’s population. Many nationalist movements in the world are dedicated to national liberation, in the view that their nations are being persecuted by other nations and thus need to exercise self-determination by liberating themselves from the accused persecutors. Finally, fascism is an authoritarian nationalist ideology which promotes national revolution, national collectivism, a totalitarian state, and irredentism or expansionism to unify and allow the growth of a nation. Fascists often promote ethnic nationalism but also have promoted cultural nationalism including cultural assimilation of people outside a specific ethnic group.

There are several critiques on nationalism (Smith, 1998). Some political theorists (Zakzaky, 1992) make the case that any distinction between forms of nationalism is false. In all forms of nationalism, the populations believe that they share some kind of common culture. A main reason why such typology can be considered false is that it attempts to bend the fairly simple concept of nationalism to explain its many manifestations or interpretations. Nationalism includes civic nationalism, ethnic nationalism, irredentism, expansionist nationalism, and radical or revolutionary nationalism, which consists of liberation

Nationalism is sometimes seen as an extremely assertive ideology, making far-reaching, if sometimes justified, demands, including the disappearance of entire states. This has attracted vehement opposition. Much of the early opposition to nationalism was related to its geopolitical ideal of a separate state for every nation. The classic nationalist movements of the 19th century rejected the very existence of the multi-ethnic empires in Europe. This resulted in severe repression by the (generally autocratic) governments of those empires. That tradition of secessionism, repression, and violence continues in Europe and elsewhere today. Even in the early stages, however, there was an ideological critique of nationalism. That has developed into several forms of anti-nationalism in the western world. The Islamic revival of the 20th century also produced an Islamic critique of the nation-state, that Islamic nations in the world must be led by one Muslim ruler, such as Pope in Rome.

Nationalism remains a hotly contested subject on which there is little general consensus. The clearest example of opposition to nationalism is cosmopolitanism, with adherents as diverse as liberals, Marxists, and anarchists. Even nationalism’s defenders often disagree on its virtues, and it is common for nationalists of one persuasion to disparage the aspirations of others for both principle and strategic reasons. Indeed, the only fact about nationalism that is not in dispute may be that few other social phenomena have had a more enduring impact on the modern world.

3.5 Authoritarianism

According to Gelfand et al. (1996) ‘authoritarianism, as a political philosophy is the negation of democracy’ and is associated with three attributes:

(a) the political system is not based on the consent of the governed but on the rulers,

(b) there is a monopoly of power, and

(c) discussion and voting are replaced with the decisions of leaders.

This philosophy denies freedoms of the individual and requires individuals to submit to the wills of authorities, such as the King. It is widely believed that obedience to authority is essential to control excessive individualism, and avoid lawlessness and anarchy.

In a simpler way, ‘authoritarianism’ can be regarded as a dictatorial movement that favors dictatorial government, centralized control of private enterprise, repression of all opposition, and extreme nationalism. The supporters of authoritarianism may be against the democratic system, accusing that the democratic system is lame and inefficient. Altemeyer (2006) notes that authoritarianism is something authoritarian followers and authoritarian leaders cook up between themselves. When the followers submit too much to the leaders, trust them too much, and give them too much leeway to do whatever they want, an undemocratic, tyrannical and brutal system may arise. It is not surprising if nowadays authoritarian fascist and authoritarian communist dictatorships pose the biggest threats to democracies.

Theorists, as asserted by Kemmelmeier et al., (1999), generally agree that authoritarianism is incongruous with the pursuit of individual rights and liberties. The authoritarian type of man may threaten to replace the individualistic and democratic type. Hence, it may not be surprising that Gelfand et al. (1996) propose that authoritarianism is the conceptual opposite of individualism.

Authoritarianism has been found to be correlated with conservatism, militarism, nationalism, and religiosity (Adorno et al., 1950), leading to what was labeled the “Authoritarian Personality”. This “Authoritarian Personality” was criticized as the right-wing authoritarian, without regarding the left-wing version.

Many conservative movements and groups have flourished in continental Europe. Some of the Continental conservative movements ultimately gave their support to authoritarian and totalitarian movements-for example, fascism in Italy and Nazism in Germany-in the years between 1920 and the end of World War II.

Eckhardt (1991) emphasizes that authoritarianism and conservatism are closely related to each other. They share many affective, behavioral, cognitive, ideological, and moral characteristics. Moreover, they project the denied or disliked aspects of the self upon others (especially inferiors), which justifies the actualization of denied values (such as aggression and dominance) in order to contain or control these values as perceived in others. This psychological pattern makes authoritarianism, like conservatism, a self-destructive and antisocial guide to human relations. Another outstanding feature common to both authoritarianism and conservatism is a pattern of punitive and restrictive childhood training which tends to contribute to both of these personality patterns, especially (and perhaps only) if reinforced by similar disciplines at church, school, factory, and office.

Eckhardt (1991) proposes an interesting construction between authoritarian and democratic social structure. If human beings are basically evil, according to the conservative philosophy of human nature, then it follows logically that we need to be controlled by an authoritarian social structure. But, if we are basically good, according to the radical philosophy of human nature, then it follows logically that it would be better for us to treat one another as free and equal human beings, that is, in a democratic social structure. If neither conservative nor radical philosophies are correct, but rather some combination of the two applies [as suggested by Eysenck and Wilson (1978)], then a basic task of political psychology would be to find that combination and then to find ways of promoting and actualizing it.

Presently, the most comprehensive and widely accepted theory of authoritarianism is that proposed by Altemeyer (1988, 1996, 2006). Altemeyer defines authoritarianism as a value syndrome that comprises three distinct elements:


(b)submission to authority, and


Authoritarians (a) adhere to conventional morality and value compliance with social norms, (b) emphasize hierarchy and deference to authority figures, and (c) possess a “law and order” mentality that legitimizes anger and aggression against those who deviate from social norms and conventions.

Altemeyer (2006) also notes that authoritarian followers usually support the established authorities in their society, such as government officials and traditional religious leaders. Such people have historically been the “proper” authorities in life, the time-honored, entitled, customary leaders, and that means a lot to most authoritarians. Psychologically these followers have personalities featuring: (1) a high degree of submission to the established, legitimate authorities in their society; (2) high levels of aggression in the name of their authorities; and (3) a high level of conventionalism.

Since the publication of “The Authoritarian Personality,” there have been several attempts to reformulate the theory of authoritarianism (e.g., Altemeyer, 1996; Rokeach, 1960; Duckitt, 1989; Feldman, 2000, 2003, Oesterreich, 2005). However, according to Stellmacher and Petzel (2005), at least three important problems have not yet been solved:

The problem of reductionism. Authoritarianism research started with the aim of explaining collective social behaviors. Theories explaining such social phenomena have to be located on an intra- and intergroup level of explanation (Duckitt, 1989). However, most current theories of authoritarianism focus on the individual level of explanation only.

The social context. Authoritarianism research gains greater explanatory power if the social context is taken into account (Pettigrew, 1999). Several studies over the last decades have shown that authoritarianism and the relationship between authoritarian attitudes and authoritarian behavior is much more flexible and influenced by the social context than was originally proposed by the theory of the Authoritarian Personality (cf. Altemeyer, 1988; Feldman, 2003; Doty, Peterson, & Winter, 1991; Rickert, 1998). Until now this fact has not yet been integrated into most authoritarianism theories.

The political bias of the measurement. Authoritarianism measurement has often been criticized because of its confusion with conservatism. Most current authoritarianism scales focus solely on right-wing political orientations. The question about the existence or nonexistence of left-wing authoritarianism is still unanswered (Stone & Smith, 1993).

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