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How important was nationalism as a cause of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe - Essay Example

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This paper argues that nationalism was an important force and the instrument of the communism demise in Eastern Europe. It also explores the effect that nationalism has had on Eastern European countries since the fall of communism…
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How important was nationalism as a cause of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe
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"How important was nationalism as a cause of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe"

Download file to see previous pages In this paper, the term nationalism is used in the meaning of political doctrine and ideology which is justified by a goal to make a certain nation succeed in pursuing its interests. In this context, a nation is understood as “a political, ethnic, territorial, cultural, or religious group united by a common economy, mass culture, common legal rights and duties, and a belief system that emphasizes either shared history and genealogy or other common myths distinguishing this group from others” (Smith, 1991: 14). Molchanov (2000: 264) observes that nationalism today is a product of modernization as well as mass education. It is also a product of the elites’ conscious manipulation of country’s masses. Nationalism is based on national feeling, i.e. a feeling of belonging to a community which is culturally distinct and goes beyond people’s circles of important others, covers the barriers of statuses and classes, and on a legitimate basis commands its members’ loyalty. In this respect, a national community is perceived as an imagined community with its contours being reconstructed during the process of national mobilization (Molchanov, 2000: 263). As for the national elite, it serves a mobilizing agent in this process. Its parochial interests get the status of national interests and become values for which all compatriots fight. Typically, the elite is made up of well-educated classes “from the indigenous nationality and local administrators” who have become dissatisfied with current social standing (Molchanov, 2000: 264). ...
It is also a product of the elites’ conscious manipulation of country’s masses. Nationalism is based on national feeling, i.e. a feeling of belonging to a community which is culturally distinct and goes beyond people’s circles of important others, covers the barriers of statuses and classes, and on a legitimate basis commands its members’ loyalty. In this respect, a national community is perceived as an imagined community with its contours being reconstructed during the process of national mobilization (Molchanov, 2000: 263). As for the national elite, it serves a mobilizing agent in this process. Its parochial interests get the status of national interests and become values for which all compatriots fight. Typically, the elite is made up of well-educated classes “from the indigenous nationality and local administrators” who have become dissatisfied with current social standing (Molchanov, 2000: 264). Exploring the political agenda of contemporary nationalism, one may state that it necessarily develops in its connection to state (Tibor, 2010: 36). The relationship between nationalism and the state is discussed in two major modes. The first one describes the situation when the representatives of the indigenous nationality already have control over the state. They make efforts to unite people and create their specific nation. It is characterized by a focus on cultural and linguistic homogenization, consolidation of political connections, and creating the feeling of solidarity. The activity of the government results in education standardization and decrease of the social distance which may be found between the society layers (Gellner, 1998). The second mode of nationalism development within the state is when the elites do not possess control over ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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