Nationalism and national identities in Europe

Nationalism and national
identities in Europe
Challenges of belonging in the face of
Structure of presentation
• Introductory: on nation, belonging and the
international order
• What characterizes European
• Salient historical developments
• European nationalism and EU identity
Structure, cont’d
• Globalization and the EUropean nationstate
• Global challenges to European
• Is nationalism an anachronism?
• Perspectives
On nation, belonging and the
international order
• Self and other(ing) – borders and
• Political, pre-political and post-political
• Hierarchy, nestedness, multiplicity
• Attachments and ascriptions
• Inclusiveness of national belonging
• Nationalism and internationalism
What characterizes European
• Ethnic homogeneity – congruity of politics, culture and
• The importance of ’state’ and solidarity via state and
government (social contract: recognition and equality)
• Sacrifice and suffering as touchstones of the volonté
• Nationalism as simultaneous program, ideology and
• Nationalism as civil religion (secularism)
• Born against feudalism, out of colonialism
• Similarities and differences between states
• The idealism of state and power
National idealism in practice
Historical developments
• Phases,essences,functionalism
• Unification, secession, internal colonization: Germany,
Norway, France
• From colonialism to recognition in int’l order
• The question of sovereignty and power
• New regionalisms and neo-empire
European nationalism and EU
• Post-WWII and the American role
• Rescue of the nation-state – or its erosion? The
sovereignty question revisited
• Real changes: the modification, glorification and
internationalization of nationalism
• Illusionary changes: EU identity constructions
• The outside card and ’situational’ belonging
Sign of belonging…
…or this rather?
Global challenges to European
• ’The Empire strikes back’: migration and mobility
• Cultural diversity and multiculturalism
• Transnational attachments and multiple
allegiances – the role of religiosity
• Cleavages (state/nation, center/periphery) and
political disenchantment – it’s the global
economy, stupid!
• Cosmopolitanism: belonging to the globe?
• New identities: rival or supplementary?
Is nationalism an anachronism?
Some say yes:
‘The ideals of nationalism today represent at best an amusing
anachronism, and at worst a considerable and possibly dangerous
obstacle to the individual’s pursuit of affluence’ (Fredrick Sheppard,
‘Nationalism’, unpublished prize-winning English essay, UBC, 2001/02)
‘There was another broadside across the bows of the SNP in the Daily
Telegraph this week. Andrew O’Hagen, a Scot, wrote a wonderful piece
in which he damned the “mad anachronism” of Scottish Nationalism’
(Rod Liddle, ‘Scottish Nationalism is Compelling’, The Spectator, 2
May, 2007)
‘The notion of a homogeneous, independent state in either social,
economic or political terms is already anachronistic (…) most of
humanity would be better off proceeding directly to greater integration
rather than clinging desperately to an outmoded form of organisation’
(Barry Shenker, ‘Zionism and Socialism’, The Hagshama Department,
2007, accessed 13 February 2009 at
Anachronism, cont’d (1)
• ‘The very idea of a “Jewish State” is an anachronism’ (Jerry Z.
Muller, ‘Us and Them. The Enduring Power of Ethnic
Nationalism’, Foreign Affairs, March/April, 2008)
• ‘Nationalism in Europe (…) is quite an anachronism specially
[sic] when we are trying to build up a European Union. If really
we are living in a global world I think this ideology must die,
like many others before it’ (Monica Ferrer, Customer review of
The Red Menace,, 29 January 2004, accessed 14
February 2009);
• ‘Nationalism is a symptom of the past that no longer affects the
bodies of truly global citizens, and the fact that nationalism can
no longer be sustained in the hands of the world’s political elite
makes the death of nationalism a fait accomplit [sic]’ (Earl
Blaney, ‘Anachronistic Nationalism’, Korean Times, 11 May,
Elite globalism?
Anachronism, cont’d (2)
• Pros and cons
• Affirming and denying the importance of nationalism simultaneously
• Analytical and normative positions in conflict
• Subjunctive nationalism
Anachronism is subjunctive nationalism in reverse: where stateless
nations routinely dream up and struggle to forge their own state, the
position of ‘anachronistic nationalism’ dreams actual nationalism out
of existence by constructing a dichotomy between alleged
cosmopolitan reality and a nationalism consisting of mere attitude
and backward-looking sentimentalism
Anachronism, wrap-up (3)
• Nationalism today is different from the nationalism of the
early and middle parts of the 20th century
• However, the idea of anachronism should be located
mainly in the realm of epistemological processes rather
than in the ontology of nationalism
• A by-product of the mutations that national idealism
undergoes today when confronted with new conditions of
• Particularly a manifestation of the urge among certain
academics and their ideological followers to spearhead
virgin intellectual ground
• Methodological nationalism
• The cohesion debate and external threats
• Belonging and the economic downturn
• Globality and identity convergence – do
they connect (or,what is left of national
Future map of Europe?
Real future challenges