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Exploring the continuity between heritage and nationalism - Essay Example

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Exploring the Continuity between Heritage and Nationalism Introduction Heritage is an essential component of nationalism. Scholar Ernst Renan argues that there are two conditions for nationalism: “The one is the possession of a rich heritage of memories; and the other is actual agreement, the desire to live together, and the will to continue to make the most of the joint inheritance” (Christie, 1998, p…
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Exploring the continuity between heritage and nationalism

Download file to see previous pages... At the heart of the concept of nationalism therefore is the recognition and portrayal of this nation and the creation of an identification of its people. This can be done through the fostering of national heritage. Heritage is an important and indispensable addition to the concept of national identity and has evolved simultaneously with nationalism. The connection between nationalism and heritage is evidently strong. The nation is a concept built by heritage. Nations will cease to exist without their national heritage. The Relationship between Nationalism and Heritage Heritage, defined as “that which has been or may be inherited” (Howard, 2003, p. 6), developed from a set of philosophies and ideas, which openly represent ‘modernity’. The modern period, as usually described, frequently espouses a Eurocentric worldview. 18th- and 19th-century Europe are regarded as the zenith of modernism as secularism developed during the Renaissance finally translated into the Enlightenment of the 18th century, with its support for and confidence in human rationality. The idea of European nation-state was formed within this perspective (Howard, 2003, p. 6). Similar to the Renaissance, the Enlightenment is regarded as being characterised by its specific interpretation of heritage. Consequently, the modern period is characterised by the development of various accounts of nationalism as the “ideology of belongingness” (Corsane, 2005, p. 3) and primary component of validation in state-building process. As stated by Woolf (Corsane, 2005, p. 3): National identity is an abstract concept that sums up the collective expression of a subjective, individual sense of belonging to a socio-political unit: the nation state. Nationalist rhetoric assumes not only that individuals form part of a nation (through language, blood, choice, residence, or some other criterion), but that they identify with the territorial unit of the nation state. The character of a nation is an aspect related to its attitude toward its national heritage. Basically, national heritage is defined as shared memories of a society emphasising symbols, cultural objects, historical experiences, and people which are viewed as prerequisites for the existence of nation (Labadi & Long, 2010, p. 39). The more components such as symbols and cultural objects that are integrated into a dynamic appreciation and recognition of national heritage, the stronger the concept of national identity and the more intense and committed the nationalism of the community. Thus, when the English appreciated their national heritage, particularly their diverse English intellectuals and literary geniuses, they showed a strong and passionate sense of being‘English’ (Laurajane, 2006, p. 136). Moreover, according to Borelli and Lenzerini (2012), the attempt of Eastern European peoples to restore their 19th-century national heritage, with its focus on commemorating historical events and past grandeurs, is a perfect example of strengthening the sense of nationalism. In this visualisation of a nation that is also the native soil of inhabitants who share cultural similarities, heritage is the most important tool in the development or building and consequent cultivation of a national identity. National heritage and nationalism evolved simultaneously while the concept of ‘nation’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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