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Nations and States - Essay Example

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It was a period of fertile intellectual discussion about various forms of government and their merits and demerits. It was a time when many societies were coming out of agrarian economies and embracing…
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Nations and States

Download file to see previous pages... With Europe as its epicentre, nationalism was mooted as the collective geo-political representation of a race (ethnicity) of people. Another feature of most modern nation-states is their capitalist orientation, although it was less pronounced in the 19th century. (Cottam & Cottam, 2001)
The modern state is defined by a few key characteristics: contiguous territory, salaried bureaucrats, common administration, representative government, etc. It is fair to claim that this model of governance has prevailed ever since its development in the mid-19th century. While the French Revolution was the initial spark which promoted the idea of nationalism, the concept has evolved and adapted in the ensuing decades. But one clear marker of the modern nation-state is its resolute opposition to traditional forms of authority. At the same time some nationalisms have followed an authoritarian path. Usually, this is witnessed in countries where religious conservatism is prevalent. (Gilbert & Helleiner, 1999)
Another defining feature of nation-states is the shared bonds of language and culture among citizens. New technologies of communication have somewhat helped in consolidating national identities. But the challenge of many nation-states today is in accommodating diversity of thought, language and culture in political discourse. Political scientists talk of in and out groups with reference to national minorities. There has been a painful history of conflict as fledgling nations were developing their national identity. The conflict between Muslims and Greeks & Jews and Christians in the final years of the Ottoman Empire (present day Turkey), are cases in point. The strife between Han Chinese and the Manchu ethic group is another painful episode of nation formation. In Western Europe, the widespread ostracism of Jews was a major problem. (Ersoy et. al, 2010) The tragic event of the holocaust goes on to show how ethnic conflict can escalate in magnitude. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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