||Nationalism, in the words of Ernest Gellner (see below), is â€˜primarily a political principle, which holds that the political and national unit should be congruentâ€™. This principle proscribes rule of the nation by non-nationals, but otherwise is variously interpreted. Some take it to mean that each nation should have its own state, while others believe that a nation can express its right to self-determination within a multinational state. Nationalist conflict emerges when nations and states do not coincide; in particular it occurs because there are far more â€˜nationsâ€™ (communities with a common cultural and political identity) than there are states. Therefore, at any time, there are more dissatisfied than satisfied nations. The principle of nationalism threatens most actually existing states only a small minority of which are homogeneous nation-states which is why most states either pretend to be nation-states, or condemn nationalism as chauvinism, ethnocentrism, or racism.
Among many possible distinctions two types of nationalism can be clearly discerned. One, ethnic nationalism, assumes that the members of the nation are, or should be, those who share a common ancestral descent; while the other, civic nationalism, assumes that the members of the nation are, or should be, those people who are rightful citizens or inhabitants in a given territory. In particular cases these two forms of nationalism may either coincide or clash. Ethnic nationalism is more likely to give rise to racism; civic nationalism is more likely to embrace multiculturalism. However, it is worth observing that there are no purely civic nationalisms as all states adopt culturally discriminatory immigration policies. Nationalist writers hold that all nations are entitled to self-determination including independent statehood if they so desire. They argue that nationalism is democratic, since it embraces popular sovereignty: they also maintain that it reduces cultural conflict within states, and encourages a pluralist and diverse world rather than the forms of dictatorial control characteristic of empires or the disguised forms of cultural dominance found in cosmopolitan rÃ©gimes. They also argue that internationalism, solidarity among free and self-governing nations, is the surest way of obtaining a just political order throughout the world. However, not all nationalists have been democrats, and many nationalists have favoured the political dominance of other nations by their own, sacrificing internationalism for chauvinism and imperialism.
Explanations of the rise and pre-eminence of nationalism in the modern world vary considerably. Nationalists themselves tend to maintain that there have always been nations: it is only the democratization of the world and the collapse of empires which enabled this fact to be clarified. Primordialist and sociobiologically influenced social scientists tend to agree with such nationalists, maintaining that loyalty to kinship groups is a permanent feature of human history. They see nations as extended kinship groups, and nationalism as a form of ethnic nepotism. Idealist historians, by contrast (for example Kedourie: see below), see nationalism as an idea or doctrine with a curious derivation from the principle of self-determination. They consider nationalism a pernicious and regrettable deviation from Western liberalism, and maintain that nations are dangerous fictions. Marxists attribute the rise of nationalism to capitalism, the bourgeoisie, the extension of the market, and the cultural homogenization they bring in their wake. They used to believe that workers were immunme to nationalism and that nationalism would be superseded under socialismâ€”beliefs which now have a low market-value. Contemporary social scientists, by contrast (see Gellner and Anderson, below), usually explain nationalism as a by-product of mass literacy and commercial or industrial society, which create strong pressures for cultural homogenization, which in turn gives rise to nationalism on the part of both winners and losers. They think that modernization, literacy and advanced media of communication, both print and broadcasting, forge what are called â€˜imagined communitiesâ€™, in which people feel solidaristic identification with co-nationals whom they do not know personally. The strongest claim of the modernist interpreters of nationalism is that nationalists create nations rather than the other way around. Their critics (for example, Anthony Smith: see below), while not disputing the modernity of nationalism as a political principle, argue that to explain which nationalisms succeed one must examine the degree to which the relevant societies had strongly developed an authentic sense of national or ethnic consciousness in pre-modern times. Nationalists, in other words, are not likely to be successful unless their nations have some genuine ethnic foundations.
In the arts, nationalism is often a fruitful and generative force, the folk traditions and artistic history of a nation inspiring new creativity. A typical case-study is that of European art music of the 19th century. At a time when many European countries were searching for, and asserting, national identity, composers wrote works based on the myths and history of their country, and began using folk music and musical idiom as determinants of style. Previously, when folk-music styles had been brought into art music (as in Haydn\'s â€˜Gypsy Rondoâ€™ piano trio) it was an exotic, colouristic effect. Now the moods and inflexions of folk music began to affect an artist\'s entire composing style. Chopin\'s mazurkas and polonaises, for example, are overt examples of his use of national idioms, but his entire harmonic and rhythmic vocabularyâ€”not to mention turns of piano styleâ€”have strong folk roots. DvoÅ™Ã¡k, Smetana and other Bohemian composers, Grieg in Norway amd Stanford in Ireland, all used folk ideas to edge their vocabulary away from the prevailing Germanic influence, and in Bohemia, at least, this was a political as well as an artistic decision.
By the beginning of the 20th century, research into folk music made a far larger repertoire available, and composers such as Vaughan Williams in England and BartÃ³k in Hungary made full use of it. In fact, many of the harmonic, melodic and rhythmic elements in BartÃ³k\'s music, which so alarmed traditionally-minded concert audiences in the 1920s and 1930s, were direct transcriptions of Magyar procedures. Nationalism also affected the work of such composers as Sibelius (whose music, even when not based directly on the Kalevala, seems to draw inspiration from Finland\'s very fjords and forests) and the many American composers, for example Bernstein and Copland, whose use of folk legends (such as cowboys and speakeasies) and of the forms of that quintessentially 20th-century folk music, jazz, give a nationalist gloss which has nowâ€”thanks to film and television imitatorsâ€”become something of an international style. DA RK KMcL BO\'L
See also colonialism; democracy; ethnicity; ethnohistory; race; social conflict; tourism, anthropology of.Further reading Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism; , Ernst Gellner, Nations and Nationalism; , E. Kedourie, Nationalism; , J. Mayall, Nationalism and International Society; , A. Smith, The Ethnic Origin of Nations.