State Creation

Nation States
Humans have always partitioned space to separate
themselves from other human groups.
This is similar to other species.
The creation of territory is the basis for political
organization and action.
The political partitioning of space leads to the most
basic of human geographic divisions - the sovereign
Most states are recognized as such by other states,
and their territory respected; they are governed by a
recognizable body, with rules for the administration of
the state.
Individuals are therefore tied to a state and subject to
its rules.
A state is an independent or sovereign (able to make its
own decisions free from external control) political entity. It
often includes most of the following:
•A defined territory of land
•A permanent resident population
•An organized economy
•An interconnected system of financial and infrastructure
•A recognized (by international legal standards and its
people) form of government.
occupying a defined territory (a state).
A nation is a group of people who are aware of and
share one or more of these cultural features:
•Values and customs
•Historical experience
•Identification with a homeland
Nations, unlike states, are not limited by
geography. Members of a nation feel they belong
to a distinct group regardless of location.
There is a growing trend of “nationalism” leading to
nation-states where each person within a political
boundary is expected to share the same cultural
Reaching a true nation-state is difficult as
there are over 1400 nationalities in the world.
It has also been argued that nationalism also means:
that all members of the national (cultural) group have
the right to live within the borders of the state; that it
may be inappropriate for other national groups to live
within the borders; and, the government must be in the
hands of the dominant national group.
Given these ideas or arguments, it is possible to see
how conflict both internally and externally can arise.
In Europe, nationalism became the dominant criteria
for defining a nation in the 19th century. Before that
most people just tended to accept whatever empire or
despotic ruler was in charge.
Why did this change?
Five possible explanations for the emergence of the nation
• response to national political philosophies of the 18th
century, especially the Swiss philosopher, Jean Jacques
Rousseau (1712-1778)
• desire to be closer to people of similar cultural
• part of the transition from feudalism to capitalism,
because those who owned and benefited from the means
of production liked a stable state (this is a Marxist
• the collapse of local communities (with industrialization)
and the need for communication/technology and
coordination of a larger group
Despite this rise of nationalism, the world has lots of
examples of multinational and binational states.
For example: African countries whose boundaries were
drawn by Europeans without considering African national
cultural groups. Many multinational states are unstable,
especially in Africa, but not all, e.g., South Africa - now,
Binational states include Canada and Belgium, both of
which suffer internal stresses due to differing political
desires of dominant cultural groups.
When the entire population of a state is not bound by the
same sense of nationalism but is spilt among local primary
allegiances, then that state is said to suffer from cultural
This can lead to civil war or even international disputes (e.g.,
India helping the 18% Tamil population of Sri Lanka).
Subnationalism is one of the centrifugal forces that pull
nations apart, as compared to centripetal forces (like a
strong sense of nationalism) which tend to act to bind a state
Subnationalism has led to strong authoritarian rulers in some
states, Iraq and especially in Africa, who argue that it is the
only alternative to tribalism tearing the countries apart.
How these countries got this way is a function of