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Critically evaluate theories of nationalism and its relationship with racism - Essay Example

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The concept of nationalism was one of the most important political concepts of the 19th and 20th century (Mosse 2004); during this period, it was a crucial consideration in many of the global and regional conflicts especially with the emergence of globalization…
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Critically evaluate theories of nationalism and its relationship with racism
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Download file to see previous pages Around Europe, the Napoleonic armies who not only idealized it but also provoked nationalist reactions through their conquests spread the idea of the legitimacy of the nation as opposed to kingdom. Despite the restoration of traditional monarchs after napoleon’s defeat, the seeds of idea had already been sowed all over Europe and the next 50 years it precipitated outbreaks of violence in support for popular nationalism. There are two main theories that explain nationalism the perennialists who argue that nations, natural or otherwise owe their existence to the fact that humans have always lived in societies posit the first. The “natural” part is inspired by the fact that many nationalist legitimize their nations as natural by virtue of the fact that they have been in existence for centuries. The position of perennialists is that nationalism can be traced to cultural characteristics and the nature of the human landscape with throughout their particular histories; this takes to consideration every factor including those that are purely symbolic or even mythical. This argument was based on the existence of a number of large ethnic communities especially during the dark and middle ages that used the term nation to describe themselves. In this paper, the relationship between nationalism and racism will be examined with focus on the perennialist and modernist theories of nationalism; as well as the economic impacts and perception of two concepts on word nations. Racial consideration of nationalism was applied to ancient communities and civilizations such as the Egyptians Chinese, Indians and many others, under the perennial perception on nationalism the terms nation and race were interchangeable. Even later nations such as the British, German, and American were seen as races; this implied that the social political community was inherently tied up to a biological exclusiveness that was believed to transcend individuals in the different races. This perception was and still is conducive ground for the justification or racism and other forms of xenophobia such as Aryan supremacy; communities, especially financially powerful ones used the notion to discriminate others. Racism is loosely defined as the doctrine that assumes some races are superior to others in term of physical intellectual or moral and other aspects justifying right to dominate other “lesser” races and treat them in an undignified and unequal manner (Smith 1983). For instance, in Europe during the Elizabethan age, individuals of Jewish origin were openly discriminated even by the law; Jews were not allowed to engage in the convectional business activity. From such legal restrictions, popular stereotypes such as those of Jewish “shylocks” emerged, not because they were naturally predisposed to such activity but because they were compelled by legal restriction to practice usury. This is despite the fact that many Jews were born and grew up in Europe amongst the French and Italians, for instance, by modern consideration such people would have been considered European nationals. However, the assumption them was that one would always remain of the nation, in this case race, which they were born despite cultural and geopolitical translocation. Centuries later when such notions had been discounted by most of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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