MYTHS AND MEMORIES OF THE NATION
Anthony D. Smith
Oxford, Oxford University Press
My summary followed by notes taken from the first 2006 reading.
PART ONE: ETHNO – HISTORY AND NATIONAL IDENTITY
Introduction: Ethno-Symbolism’ and the study of nation . . . Page 3
There are two basic categories of pro-nation historical accounts of nationalism:
PRIMORDIALISM and PERENNIALISM
4 – For primordialism, the nation is natural, ubiquitous and universal. It is rooted in kinship, ethnicity and genes.
There are 3 varieties:
The first is popular.
This is just self-evident. A problem is it does not look at migration, colonization, and intermarriage. It often doesn’t address why nations are found and forgotten.
The second variety is sociobiology.
Nations come from inclusive fitness and kinship. Here he names Van den Berghe. But, this rarely corresponds to what we know of biological descent. There is a lot of intermixing of groups and endogamy.
Finally, there is attribution.
5 - It sees the subjective community. But, it is a tautology.
Two subsets of perennialism one, continuous perennialism claims certain nations have existed for millennia – Egypt, etc, though others have not; the second is recurrent perennialism, that sees nations rise and fall and rise again.
For Hbsbawm and Gellner the nation is recent and novel.
8 - Others see diffusion from Europe to other parts of the world.
THE ETHNO-SYMBOLIC ALTERNATIVE
9 - All the modernists fail because they do not accord any weight to the pre-existing cultures and ethnic ties of the nations that emerged in the modern epoch. That’s why they miss their popular appeal.
They also neglect affect and focus too much on the elite and confuse short and long term nations – which are different.
For ethno-symbolists, what gives nationalism its power are the myths, memories, traditions and symbols of their ethnic heritages and the ways in which the living past has been reinterpreted.
These create claims to territory, patrimony and resources.
THREE CLAIMS OF ADS’ HISTORICAL ETHNO – SYMBOLIC approach:
1) The Long Duree
Modern nations have long ties to ancient history, this is integral to survival and destiny of collective identities.
2) National past, present and future
A nation is “a named population
sharing an historic territory, common myths and historical memories, a mass,
public culture, a common economy and common legal rights and duties for all
11 - Cultural components that have been handed down for generations, such as names, symbols, languages, customs, territories and rituals of national identity.
12 – If continuity is a forward reach of the ethnic past into the present, reapportion is the opposite. It is reaching back into the past to find a history, an image of the past.
3) The Ethnic Basis of Nations
Ethnic categories are populations distinguished by outsiders as having common attributes.
13 – Ethnic communities have:
1. An identifying name or emblem.
2. A myth of common ancestry.
3. Shared historical memories and traditions.
4. One or more elements of common culture.
5. A link with an historic territory or ‘homeland’
6. A measure of solidarity, at least among the elites.
An ethnie is, in short, a named human population with myths of common ancestry, shared historical memories and one or more common elements of culture, including an association with a homeland, and some degree of solidarity.
Ethno-symbolism claims that most nations, including the earliest, were based on ethnic ties and sentiments. And even the new ones in Africa and Asia must forge a cultural unity and identity from pre-existing memories, formed around ethic cores.
14 – A crucial part of this theme is the popular basis of nationalism. They may emerge out of elite groups, but even in these early stages, they have to take the interest of the wider strata into account.
4) Cultural components of ethnies.
Distinctive cultural markers.
15 – This emphasis on culture, in the broadest sense, introduces some flexibility into ethnic membership, which allows for demographic replenishment and cultural borrowing, and hence social and cultural adaptation.
Ethnicity is only one, albeit ever present, set of (often contested) elements within the totality of modern nations.
5) Ethnic Myths and Symbols
Myths of origins and decent.
16 – Thus The Russian Tsars came to see Orthodox Russia as the Third Rome.
There are symbols of territory and community, coins, flags, etc.
Sometimes, two or more versions of the ethnic past are competing, Hellenism versus, Byzantine.
17 - So there is continuous reinterpretation. And some Ethno – Histories are well documented and some are sketchy.
7) Routes to Nationhood
There are a variety of routes. Some are from the top down, others lateral. Sometimes it is minority groups that break off.
8) The longevity of nationalism
18 - Nationalism is an ideological movement for attaining and maintaining identity, unity and autonomy of a social group some of whose members deem it to constitute an actual or potential nation.
PLAN OF THE BOOK
PART ONE is theoretical and historic.
CH 1: This chapter looks at modern historians’ views of nations.
CH 2: This chapter gives an early statement of some ethno-symbolic concerns. And it looks at it in various nations. It emphasizes the difference between ‘genealogical and ideological myths of decent.
CH 3: Applies chapter 2s claims to ancient and medieval nations and asks how far we can send the term ‘nation’ back.
CH 4: Loks at the role of myths of ethnic election.
CH 5: Looks at territory and the memory of it.
PART TWO is empiral and contemporary.
CH 6: Shows nationalism is best understood as ‘political archaeology, especially for the intelligencia.
CH 7: Shows how this is politicized and the ‘darker side’ for ethnic minorites.
CH 8: compares nationalisms, especially diaspora nationalisms, like Zionism
CH 9: Considers current debates on European unity.
CH 10: Is an overall statement on ethno-symbolic approach looking at the collapse of the USSR.
CHAPTER ONE: NATIONALISM AND HISTORIANS
29 – Nationalism is considered a “historical movement.” Historians are prominent among its creators.
31 – Many crappy historians date modern nationalism to the last quarter of the 18th century.
Early historians of the national idea saw it as a bulwark of individual liberty. A Rousseauan return to nature and human sociability. Michelet for example.
Renan said before you were an individual you were a member of a race, even prior to a culture, “A nation is a soul, a spiritual principle.”
33 – Renan said, even by the 10th century all French are French, serfs and nobles both.
For Acton, the theory of national unity makes the nation a source of despotism. But, the theory of liberty guards against it.
34 – Weber saw the nation as rooted in positive cultural values.
36 – Kohn sees it as a part of the social contract.
37 - But, in the East the weaker middle classes made it more a product of aristocracy and the intelligencia. So we have individualistic and collectivist nationalisms.
39 – Hugh Steton Watson also makes a distinction between old continuous nations and the new nations.
41 – All modern historians take the nation to be ‘constructed.’ It is something that should be obvious to Americans.
42 – Cultures are often now seen as a tool nations use to get power. (Breuilly) But this gets the nation up as pre-existing culture. Culture is often used by nationalists. But it is a real independent force, otherwise they couldn’t use it. Culturism is not negative tricks. It is a great boon, you should perpetuate.
42 - The invention of traditions book also ignores the depth of culture. Anthony shows them to be ubiquitous. Again culture proceeds the nation. It is not the case that cultures should be the tools of nations, but that nations should be the tools of cultures! Also in this chapter, Anderson’s imagined communities saying we have no community with a Scottish Highlander assumes tradition is only true if static. Our tradition is a progress of a civilization. It also assumes the desire to connect with one’s past is artificial. Take a monkey away from its context and it goes mad. All cultural entities did not choose to commemorate their past independently. It is an instinct with deep roots. Basic anthropology will show rites of passage always connect you. The spoler’s approach is like going to a social gathering and walking through the crowd shouting “you’re all alone!” It’s all fake.” It puts you out of the community of man. It is insane.
44 Celebrate us! Lineage tracing is old. It is not just created by modern plays, novels and operas.
45 – Modern historians are hostile to nations. They are all skeptical. They focus so much on ideology that they lose sight of nation formation.
46 – Then they fail to see the benefits of nationalism in music, art and literature.
47 – Older historians paid attention to Egypt, Greeks, Persians, and Egyptians as nations.
48 – The problem of modern ‘historians’ is that they are “shallow.”
49 – If things are ‘constructed,’ what of their roots?
CHAPTER TWO: NATINOAL IDENTITY AND MYTHS OF ETHNIC DESCENT
Generally speaking, it is useful to distinguish myths that cite genealogical ancestry from those of ideological descent, between ‘biological,’ and ‘cultural – ideological,’
58 – We often see rulers trace their lineage back to some hero.
But a whole culture can trace its roots to historic ancestors as exemplars.
COLLECTIVE IDENITY AND MEANING
60 – Different than before, modern ancestor hunts are done by archeologists and historians.
Also the modern myth-making is in the service of nationalism, expressly.
61 – A third modern element is modern myth making is a part of political mobilization and fast social change.
Why do people do this? Weber thinks there is a universal drive for meaning.
62 – The ethnic myths have common elements.
63 – Temporal Origins. Vedas or Hesiod Theogony.
A Myth of location: most have some notion of the ancestral homeland.
64 – This counters the homelssness of modern life.
A Myth of Ancestry
Mythical or quasi-historical is not important. The important thing is the link with members of the present generation of the community.
The Myth of the Heroic age.
65 – This tells how we were freed and became glorious.
66 - It tells of the ‘atmosphere and picturesque uniqueness of our people’s past.
67 – The myth of decline, or how we fell into a state of decay
We can bend back time and return to the age of heros.
The myth of regeneration or how to restore the Golden age
68 – This is the drama of nationalism and its quasi-messianic promises.
Having now looked at the myth’s components, we are in a better position to grasp the consequences of collective action entailed by nationalism’s belief system:
This comes from the uniqueness of the golden age. It also manifests in a style of food, dress, customs, leiure activities, work, morals and politics. Individuals find themselves education, recration, worship, habits, politics.
This comes from special minorities seeking their status back.
70 – Specific autonomy
Special freedoms from our noble blood status, liberties and rights from golden age descent.
IDEOLOGICAL AND GENEALOGICAL MYTHS.
Identity; dignity; territory; autonomy, these are the basic dimensions of the ethnic myth. It legitimizes claims.
71 – But there are cleavages too. Specifically between the ideological and the genealogical.
There have been lots of heritage claims for the English.
71 - The decline of rejuvenation motif noted by Kedorie does not mean culturism is hysterical. Rather that the myth is a powerful galvanizer. The millennium feel of America, our constant fear of the end, is a key component of our strength. Complacency is not a good conduit to action on America.
72 – Pitt during the American and French wars created the British museum and royal academy. This led to patriotic history painting. Benjamin West, Black, the Roman motifs.
But it was in the 19th century that full-scale interpretations of English development happened under Burke’s influence. Free institutions via Germanic tribe heritage.
74 – The French have worked to link the monarchs with the French nation, via the arts.
75 – But some said the real French were the 3rd estate and their roman roots.
76 – Their roots go to central Asia and Finno-Ugric languages, like Hungarian, Finnish, Mongol, and Estonian.
78 – There was a split between the Hellenes and the Byzantine source and fighting the Turks and Franks.
79 – But both are revolutionary and so not mutually exclusive.
Hellenism has been blamed for holding back economic progress. But, Hellenism has mostly won.
This is like the blame of Yangbans and Confucianism in Korea.
80 – There was a split between Eastern European and Jerusalem looking rabbis.
80 – In Greece and Israel the more ideological branches were best at creating nations the geneology route didn’t.
The Hoplite situation shows culture has not only in publication, but in occupations (which hold values). Formers being Jefferson’s strong and independent Republicans.
DO things in the name of our Greek forefathers. Gadsen, Fremont, universal studios, the Black Maria.
82 – SOCIAL CLEAVAGE AND ETHNIC REGENERATION
Recurrent features of ethnic myths of descent:
They designate the basic cultural entities of social relations;
They link past to future states of the unit, and act as models.
They possess external referents of comparison, even implicitly;
They designate a a space and time for action, a territorial program
They contain impulses for collective action, mobilizing people.
They are developmental, assuming the possibility of change’
They are partly voluntaristic, in that successive generations may add to the heritage and even regenerate themselves;
They tend to be multiple, even competing, for one entity.
83 – The location of Ethnic Myths.
These myths emerge into the political daylight at certain junctures; they are usually during culture clashes and accelerated economic and social change. During time of threat.
They also happen during times of incipient secularization, as in when Hellenic rationalism threatened traditional Jewish and Egyptian religion.
84 – It happens during warfare; secularization; and commercialization.
THE APPEAL of ETHNIC MYTHS
It enchants the intelligencia, who get to be missionaries.
85 – The bourgeoisie may also be attracted, for they inspire literature and arts. The audience defines a public. And, intellectuals adapt it to the needs of peasants.
It turns out the peasants carry many of the memories and myths as ballads, dances, crafts, customs, etc.
Social cleavage and Competing Myths
86 - There are calls to unity when unity is imperiled. Outsiders and conservatives do this.
The Regenerative Potential of Ethnic Myths
88 – It’s like family members telling their side of the story.
CHAPTER THREE: THE PROBLEM OF NATIONAL IDENTITY; ANCIENT, MEDIEVAL AND MODERN
Premodern ethnic communities and identities are widespread and in all epochs.
98 – Here we get the perrenialists versus modernist debate outlined again.
And, again, perennialists think ethnic histories are real. Primordialists feel that they are.
But, today, these are both out of fashion.
100 – Moderns see them as religious surrogates or tricks of power or result of ‘print capitalism.’
But these views don’t tell us the origins, intellectuals’ spread had to appeal to people, people die for these beliefs. The modernist view is a myth.
THE PROBLEM OF DEFINITION:
We must distinguish between nationalism the ideology and movement; the national sentiment and the collective feeling of belonging.
100 – Is very important. Good point. The Intelligencia couldn’t have told the masses they were descended from Gods of Jupitor. America could feel no affinity with the Pharoahs. And, modernists deny nations in the past. But, the pyramids were built. Perhaps nations didn’t strictly exist. But, cultures did.
The reason the nation is a good container of culturism is two fold. 1) ideological cultures don’t continue by inertia. Holidays will, but historical memories and value systems don’t. They need state support. The seconds that not all will thrive equally in the market place of ideas. Religionus / angry ones do better than dry ideological ones. They need a legal framework. The shooting of Van Gogh has put a freeze on Dutch culture. For Western liberalism to thrive and be secure, it shouldn’t have to struggle for hegemony on it’s own soil due to birthrates.
104 – Common to ideology:
Growth of myths of ancestry and history.
The formation of public culture.
The delimitation of territory.
The unification of economy.
Common codes of order, legal and otherwise.
106 – Collective Cultural Identities in Antiquity
In the ancient world, people were mostly divided into fairly fluid ethnic categories. Some more durable ethnies.
But, were they nations? Was Egypt?
It’s boundaries were not clear and the upper and lower were divided.
107 – So following our criteria, Egypt resembled an ‘ethnic state’ more than a nation.
In ole Israel how many participated in the public religious culture?
107 – Useful but not necessary worth inclusion: The reason Egypt of old wasn’t really a nation: Borders were lacking and the economy wasn’t unified & political division. Yet it was an entity: cultural precedes nation. Diffferent classes were able to have different access to modern affinity limited. No, “the people,” there.
Israel and Rome and Egypt had “collective cultural
identities.” Modern nations are more legalistic. Being a nation is distinguished from “CCI” in that it is
more legalistic (borders, an integrated economy, a single legal code, duties
and rights for all). But we cannot
forget that it is not just legalistic.
It is at heart, culturist.
The nation is fluid until nailed down into the modern nation. Often big pieces were missing. But once it took hold it had a real affect on the identity and collective viability of those memories. And more fragile and prescious as not being eternal. If the French don’t remember Louis the 2nd, who will? If he goes, so goes and element of culture replicated, social and cultural institutions.
108 - And there wasn’t much unity in the economic sphere. Still old Israel may have been a nation.
What of the Hellenes? They are portrayed as a ‘kulturnation.’ But we have a territory, myths, memories and public culture, borders, some legal uniformity.
109 – The economy of the city states and laws were divided. Hellenes are closer to ethnic communities than nations.
What of Persians? Sumerians? Babylonians? Hittites? Assyrians?
110 – His point herein is that his definitions don’t ipso facto stop older places from being nations. What of Korea? China? Tibet? Mexico?
Was Rus the ancestor of Russia? Well if not, that doesn’t mean they weren’t something else significant.
The medieval French had clear boundaries and a sense of royal people-hood, if no integrated economy.
112 - English folk of the 8th century saw themselves as a named community of common descent with myths ancestry, memory. Borders were stabilized by the 10th century.
In Medieval times the English go in and out of ethnie, ethnic states and national categories.
113 – But it is only from the late 15th on that we can speak of an English national identity.
114 – Nations existed before nationalism, but there wasn’t the systematic nation designing that has happened since.
115 – This evolution to ‘true nation’ status is a process.
116 – To say, absolutely no! you must say our societies are radically different than pre-modern ones. He ssees a continuum.
117 – Some people say there is not enough data. But info is always partial.
We can’t really do research if we take an all or nothing approach. And, we cannot see continuity.
CHAPTER FOUR: CHOSEN PEOPLES WHY ETHNIC GROUPS SURVIVE
126 – Good list of places where diversity is a problem. From Chad to UIgurs to China.
127 – So we better get an understanding of this phenomena. So we’re going to look at modern ethnic conflicts.
STUDYING ETHNIC SURVIVAL
With ethnies we mean cultural. But with kin selection there is more interest in biology. But, the metaphor is important. Ethnies are like families.
They also have common codes and symbols and descent. They have also lost a homeland.
128 – His definition is loose. It only means successive generations identify with myths and traditions and memories.
MYTHS OF ETHNIC ELECTION
130 Since ethnics have sustained without territory, we should pay attention to the subjective dimension.
These myths inspire. And, they make people think they’re the center of the ethical universe. Chosen.
Just because a process is consciously pursued does not mean it isn’t legitimate. All citizens together forging a righteous myth via augmenting the old is fun. Founding father’s chocolates for Halloween. 4th of July Thomas Jefferson readings by the President in old historic clothes, perhaps.
130 – For success a sense of uniqueness and Mission is A-number-one. Common ancestor / myth origin AND the moral creator of the universe, the TRUE GOD part fits here. We should know these things are normal. To have a great nation takes believing in yourself. Culturism means you don’t focus on the errors of the nation only. Islam and aboriginal too. Back to the sense of mission though, we a) have to know what it is and B0 Have to exemplify it. Fat and entertained is not inspiring of sustainable.
ELECTION MYTHS IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND EUROPE
131 – Back in the day quite a few people in the Middle East thought they were chosen.
134- Also the Greeks were more ethnocentric with their bout with Persia, though it didn’t unite all the states.
When the Roman one died in 1453, others took the Roman mantle.
This always helps survival.
PATTERNS OF ETHNIC SURVIVAL
Four ways ‘myths of election’ help sustain ethnic
1. Imperial dynastic
The rulers and priests descend from greats.
2. Communal – demotic
This is to the people and their sacred land.
3. Emigrant colonist.
4. Diaspora Restoration.
But many wander from their homeland
138 – These four show the importance of belief in choseness.
139 – FROM ETHNIC SURVIVAL TO NATIONAL LIBERATION
Nationalism is a doctrine of autonomy, unity, and identity for a group who believes itself to be a potential member.
It is the only way people can be their authentic selves, in this formula.
140 - It is not just industrialization that creates nationalism.
CHAPTER FIVE: NATION AND ETHNOSCAPE
For Hobsbawm, Anderson and Giddens, the nation is a bureaucratic penetration and control mechanism. Michael Mann and Charles Tilly have added a military dimension. But, this is too much looking at the West.
But, yes, there is always a struggle for control of land.
THE GROWTH OF ETHNOSCAPES
150 – What is at stake is the historic and poetic landscape, one imbued with the culture and history of a group.
And some are just ‘mini-scapes’
But the terrain is the unique and indispensible setting for the events that shaped the community.
151 – The location of battles, natural features, significant events, treaties.
153 – This is the ethnoscape. Holy deeds of our ancestors give it meaning.
IRREDENTISM AND MARYRDOM
Modern nationalism harnesses the visions of the past.
154 – It teaches it to the young and inculcates the spirit of self-sacrifice for the father or mother land.
But, let’s not forget, individuals and communities have
ALWAYS fought for their territory.
This is not strange.
155 – Kosovo is the original heart of the Serb people.
157 – If not so, nationalism must seek to sanctify a nation’s homeland, making it part of the salvation drama and collective history and destiny.
PART TWO: MYTHS AND MEMORIES OF MODERN NATIONS
CHAPTER SIX: GASTRONOMY OR GEOLOGY? THE ROLE OF NATIONALISM IN THE RECONSTRUCTION OF NATIONS
Gastrony refers to modernists and Geology, Perennialists
164 – The older scholars, Kedourie, Gellner, Watson, TIlly all assumed that once the nation was created, it was real – a “social fact.’
165 – For ‘gastronomics’ it is an artifician nightengle, pure engineering aimed at unmasking.
166 – Creation of canonic literature is a strategy of nation creation. Music too.
167 – List of cross ethnic African states. Is this culturist construction a bad thing? No! Well it silences other subnational ethnic communities. But if ours is created so are the others. When did Folklorico start?
168 – These historians aggressively call nations false and ‘imagined.’
169 – But nation – states are the only viable political organization going.
They have shifted from deriding the nation as structure (capitalism) to mere culture.
170 – Such analysis offers “little hope, and less light.” Their analysis doesn’t shed light on current problems or tell us anything the modernists before them told us.
Post modernists look at the cultural to the exclusion of tax-codes, etcs. And they offer no clue concerning the origin of power and ubiquity of nations. Post – modernists do not, ironically, recognize that they themselves are a part of a tradition dating to Derrida and earlier. Then seem to have magical thinking in which they appeared as lone post-modernists to speak to random individuals (if they don’t realize the reality of their own community).
Separate modernist and post modernist critiques and reiterate the positive message from the world chapter critique of modernists. The process of constructing is called culturism. It helps a pre-existing community project itself. Here intellectuals and historians are important. The myth of Atzlan is falsifiable. It was created out of whole cloth. The Aztecs were not venerable (though powerful). Either way Cortez was a jerk. But that isn’t our history. Modernists are right. Nations are created on the scraps of memory. But those should be noble and not totally false.
171 - But the modernist deconstructions of Gellner, Kedourie, etc. also fail because they only look at 2 or 3 centuries. The populations preceding were not tabla rasa.
THE NATION AS HISTORIC DEPOSIT
The Geological view is that the present filters the view of the past.
172 – For example, Indians used the Bhagavad Gita to make independence.
173 – Israel is based on the idea that nations have always existed.
174 – Before WW II this perrenialist view was common.
175 – THE NATION AS ARCHAELOGIST
What is the connection between pre-modern and modern nations? There must be a ‘resonance’ in the past to the present. Archeology is always related to the present via dating.
The geological metaphor fails to explain the active dynamic transformative power of nation building. It doesn’t sit on layers of the past, it grows out of it.
The US’s intimacy, culturally, with politics explains why we easily confuse putting in democracy with nation building. We give no national heroes or songs of democratic heritage and glory. So culturist must rediscover, re-interpret and regenerate community via the past.
But, the growth of the nation is not destined or immanent, it required human intervention.
176 – We must look to the past to build the nation.
177 – Nationalist historians must engage in rediscovery, reinterpretation, and regeneration of the community.
Rediscovery is the quest fo authentic communal ‘ethno-history,’ the recording of memories and collection of traditional myths.
Reinterpretation involves sifting through the traditions and fixing the canon.
178 – This also involves interpreting the present in reference to the past. The past must intervene in the present.
This view accords importance to the transformation wrought by nationalist activity.
Regeneration involves summons to people, mobilizing members of the community, tapping into their collective emotion, their moral fervor. “Here the nationalist – archeologist is revealed as a missionary romantic.”
The past is not a bunch of random stuff, “the ethnic past is composed of a series of traditions and memories which are the subject of constant reinterpretation.”
179 – This means “there are clear limits to the way in which his or her chosen nation can be reconstructed. These ar the limits of particular ethno-histories, as determined by scientific, popular – political and cultural – symbolic criteria.”
CHAPTER SEVEN: ETHNIC NATIONALISM AND THE PLIGHT OF MINORITIES
Nations make an us so they make refugees.
188 – ETHNIC AND TERRITORIAL NATIONALISMS
The doctrine of nationalism:
1. The world is divided into nations, each with its own character and destiny.
2. The nation is the sole source of political power.
3. Loyalty to the nation overrides all other loyalties.
4. Rea freedom for real individuals can only be realized in and through the nation.
5. Global peace and security can only be based on free nations.
189 - The nation must be like a family.
Nationalism is defined as “A definite ideological movement for attaining and maintaining autonomy, identity and unity of a social group, some of whose members deem it to be an actual or potential ‘nation.’
A nation is defined as: “A named social group, with common historical memories and mass culture, occupying an historic territory or homeland, and possessing a single division of labor and common legal rights and duties for all members.”
The state is not an intrinsic part of the doctrine or movement. But in some the state plays a place.
190 – Two kinds of nationalism:
Territorial is like civic nationalism. You can choose which to join. Legal codes and a ‘civic religion.’
Ethnic nationalism includes a shared history and culture, with a bond of solidarity like that of a family. Ethnic nationalism is more likely to create a homogenization drive.
ETHNIES AND NATIONS
The nations with “the most durable solidarity and most distinctive cultural heritage have emerged on the basis of strong pre-existing ethnic ties.”
191 – Why?
Time makes unity; nation and ethnie are related concepts; and more and more nations see this.
What is an ethnie?
“A named unit of population with myths of common ancestry, shared memories and culture, an association with a homeland and sentiments of social solidarity.”
Pre-modern ethnies were looser, vaguer and more familial.
192 – But ethnic nationalists always predicate shared history and culture on a myth of common ancestry.
THE RISE OF DEMOTIC ETHNO-NATIONALISMS
Lateral ethnies are aristocratic.
Vertical Ethnie are popular.
193 – With the decline of empires there was a new attempt by rulers to legitmate their position through attempts to homogenize their populations: such as Russification under the czars. This could fight off the imperial incursion.
194 – But these didn’t invent a nation where none existed, they went back to it and gave it new social and political meaning.
THE POLITICS OF ETHNO-NATIONALISM
Vernacular mobilization is re-definition, re-education and regeneration.
First a small group of intellectuals redefine an ethnic group as a potential nation with potential barriers. We descend from an ancestor.
Redefinition sharpens the boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘them.’ Typically, ethnic communities in antiquity and in the middle ages, were fairly open and accessible. There was a great deal of intermarriage and borrowing.
But the redefining sets up a boundary that is exclusive.
Then you must re-educate the genuine membership of the true culture via songs and ballads, dances and games, customs and folklore, poetry and music, arts and crafts.
195 – Herder did this.
The 3rd step is to regenerate and politicize the culture itself. Incorporate true traditions and exclude extraneous acretions.
The people must become worthy of the scions of their original culture – community.
196 – At this point we can speak of an ethnic national identity.
This can break up empires and all multination states of all kinds. Which usually involves tension and conflict. It isn’t easy.
THE PLIGHT OF MINORITIES
The process of homogenization predates nationalism. People sought religious uniformity, linguistic and cultural standards.
198 – When ethnie nationalism gets tied up with biological racism we are more likely to get genocide.
But, ethnic nationaism does not
involve a specifically racist component. It can exclude folks from the mainstream
while preserving their essential humanity.
Rather than exterminated, they can be made homeless, denied a homeland. And, of courses, not all refugees come from this.
199 – CONCLUSION: DE-ETHNICIZING THE NATION
As long as ethnic nationalisms proliferate, we can expect refugees and asylum seekers. And as long as nations are ethnic, we can expect outsiders.
200 - Countering this would require perhaps having more territorial, civic, sorts of nationalisms.
One problem with this though is we still need to ask ‘Whose story and destiny does the nation encapsulate?’ And, we do need solidarity, because we must compete against others for limited resources.
Come here and be a part of America. To dream of return doesn’t strengthen us. Their culture is their business and in their homeland. We needn’t recognize it officially.
Backlash against refugees in the west may lead to re-ethnization in the usually not so ethnically-based western nations.
201 – Creating the polyethnic nation in Switzerland took 600 years, several bloody conflicts and considerable national exclusiveness in times of crisis. This cannot be replicated in 60 years.
He hopes we can have poly-ethnic nations that accommodate refugees. If not, he sees more and more refugees coming.
CHAPTER EIGHT: ZIONISM AND DIASPORA NATIONALISM
203 – Is Zionism unique or similar to other national experiences?
204 – Hobsbawm notes two
species of nationalism. 1830
– 70 political along the lines of the French Revolution. 2nd) Ethno
linguistic types of 1870 – 1914.
We are among the 1st group. We start the 1st and it has a universalist ring. The second is a reaction to the failure of the 1st to be sustainable without some cultural component to give it. The memories of the past must be related to the present for culture to be real. Thus heroes and essay contexts and WW George Washington do?
For Hobsbawm, the flight into ethno-linguistic nationalism always a reaction of anxiety against capitalism.
205 – He allows no past in his accounts of history. Nationalism for him is just the creation of frustrated intellectuals.
206 – What of the Jews? Is their connection with the past so weak that their new nation is totally constructed?
ZIONISM AND COLLECTIVE MEMORIES
208 – An essential part of any human identity is memory. It is not just sameness throughout time, but reflective consciousness in personal connection with the past.
These are transmitted via epics, chronicles, hymns, prophesies, law-codes, treatises, songs, and the like, including arts, crafts, architecture, music and dance, tales and legends and festivals.
209 – The Jews have a lot of these so perhaps they are special.
210 – ZIONISM AND THE DIASPORA
A second characteristic of Jews is its dispossession from a homeland. This created a diversity of traditions.
211 – So stories of repression and return happened.
212 – GREEKS, ARMENIANS, AND JEWS
Herein he is talking about the Greek Orthodox who got dispossessed by the Ottomans beating the Byzantine empire.
In the sacred text category we have Orthodox Russians, the
Ulster – Scots, the Afrikaners, the Muslim Arabs and the Catholic
Most were in homelands and rooted. But, Greeks and Armenians have exile too.
213 – All have links via the Bible.
214 – All three see themselves as ‘chosen’ to some extent.
TRAUMA AND THE GOLDEN AGE
216 – The negative of unjust trauma and positive of a golden age mobilize nationalisms. Greeks and Armenians have this.
218 – The Greeks and Armenians also have a feeling of betrayal by their fellow Christians.
220 – So in some ways the Jews are unique. In some ways they are just another nationalism. But, all three disprove the modernist thing wherein all is just invented by recent intellectuals, there is a long duree.
CHAPTER NINE: NATIONAL IDENTITY AND THE IDEA OF EUROPEAN UNITY
The idea of European unity goes at least back to Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire.
226 – To look at this we must look at identity. It seems there has been confusion over the Gulf War and Yugoslavia. So unity is strained. But there is no apriori conflict between national and European identities.
227 – It depends on if we take a more romantic or voluntaristic position. And, Europe has been quite voluntaristic in its identity formation.
FIRST CONSIDERATION: METHOD
228 – To answer this we must look at 1. The impact of uses of the past; 2. The origins and nature of collective identities; the growth of globalizing tendencies; geopolitical changes; the process of regional unification.
Identity involves an idea of a shared past AND future.
299 – People more and more unify along the lines of classes, status groups, gender and such. Some identities can reinforce nationalism, some are in conflict. For example, ethnic group and nation.
230 – While moment to moment identity is situational; collective identities tend to be pervasive and persistent.
NATIONAL IDENTITY: SOME BAES AND LEGACIES
232 - National identity includes: Territory; shared myths of origin; common bond of a mass standardized culture; a territorial division of labor with mobility; common legal rights.
233 – National memories and culture are more vivid than that of ‘Europe.’
We are in a space wherein we’re not sure if globalism or local nationalism is the trend of the future.
234 – Textbooks are important in this battle.
235 – We need to evaluate the relative strength of ethnicities. But, it doesn’t seem like they are all going to disappear any time soon.
A GLOBALIZING CULTURE?
Communication; global business and power blocks make globalism look like the future.
A question is whether this working across boundaries is really anything new.
236 – In textbooks, national curriculum counters the universal tendencies in science.
237 – And what might a resulting patchwork Europe look like? The US?
The countervailing myths are specific to one place. They cannot just be done anywhere by anyone.
238 - A global culture must thus, work with materials it seeks to supersede.
THE EUROPEAN ‘FAMILY OF CULTURE’
So herein we have the boundaries of Europe, pan Europe or anti-Europeans, who say the states are different.
239 – Is there a distinctive Europeanness or is it just an agglomeration of different cultures?
240 – What are the boundaries of this Europe? Where is the center?
By some accounts to be European is to be not Muslim and not Jewish. But what of the divide between Eastern and Western Christendom? Catholic and Protestant?
And what to do with guest workers?
241 – Europeans are divided on ethnic and nationalist lines.
242 – Continuity, memory, shared destiny are important.
Not unity in diversity. (EEU’s official cultural formula), but a family of cultures.
But there are some sources of unity. Not all penetrated everywhere equally, but . ..
Shared traditions like Roman law, political democracy, Judeo-Christian ethics, shared cultural heritage like the Renaissance, humanism, rationalism and empiricism and romanticism. They make a family of cultures.
Shared culture cannot really be made. Economic spheres perhaps.
Basing unity on economic trends is unsustainable. Multiculturalism takes out one more support. If you want an economic political unity to suffice cultural supports would be wise. Political support without cultural unity is iffy in a democracy. This is to gamble with traditional state supports of cultural economic, political, ethnic, linguistic ties.
The Western model tends to be more civic, as a reaction to absolutist despotism.
The Eastern model reacted against empires and so is more ethnic.
In many, in the West, there are many nations in the state. They are legitimate because heterogeneous populations are united by public culture and popular sovereignty.
Inclusion in textbooks should strictly be based on merit. If you cannot see yourself in merit / virtues exemplars, it is sad. This goes for whites too. Ethnicity is an old strong basis of unity. It is stupid in a multi-ethnic society. Strong ties come via we are a nation of immigrants with assimilation. Phrase this in terms of how many destabilizing factors you can gamble with and survive.
243 – Tourism wherein Brits take vacations in Spain may help. European music festivals. But, German love of Italian culture has not ameliorated their cultural attachment to themselves.
And there is no pan-European education system.
244 – Media happens from a national perspective.
245 – There is no European equivalent to the Bastile. That is French.
The holly roman empire? That is not so democratic a myth of origin. So Europe has no such origin myth.
246 – EUROPE IN A WIDER WORLD
247 – Trends in the world may push unity. But, it must be based on a firm cultural grounding, somewhat independent of economic and political happenstance.
Might Europe find identity via diversity in contrast to Japan? How about in contrast to the failing 3rd world nations? This would require severing ties to the colonies.
It also goes against the ‘anti-racism’ agenda of Europe.
CHAPTER TEN: THE RESURGENCE OF NATIONALISM? MYTHS AND MEMORIES IN THE RENEWAL OF NATIONS
253 – As this was written 1996, the world was a hectic place.
254 – Nationalism is resurgent. This confounds liberals and socialists. It seems to counter progress. But, it is a fact.
255 – A RESURGENT NATIONALISM?
People say this is a dramatic resurgence.
256 – But modern nationalism has been with us for 2 centuries. And some are coming out from the yoke of the USSR. But, many have been here for a long time.
257 – “A state that cannot boast of some kind of national identity for its citizens is deemed to have failed in one of its primary functions, the creation of a distinctive collective loyalty based on consent.”
And, actually, today’s global system is justified primarily on the theory of nationalism and national self-determination.
So there is nothing remarkable about the current wave of nationalisms in the world.
THE DECLINE OF NATIONALISM?
258 – People usually speculate that the nation will decline based on the ideas of economic globalism, social hybridization and cultural standardization.
But there has always been a flow of goods.
259 - This doesn’t make the state obsolete.
260 – And the state has always been somewhat hybrid. We have always had some diversity.
But this is not endless. And civic nationalism may facilitate balkanization within nations.
261 – Global culture is a contradiction in terms. It would be memoryless and presentist. But, no culture we have ever encountered can flourish without collective memories and traditions. How long could a pastiche culture stand its own disintegrative tendencies?
“In fact, specific cultures, as distinctive symbolic codes, can only be seen as the historical product of the collective experiences, memories and traditions of different categories and groupings of human beings.”
ETHNO-HISTORY AND THE GOLDEN AGE
262 – People who don’t take nationalism seriously fail to understand a) the uneven distribution of ethno-history, the varying impact of religious ideals, and the location of ancestral homelands.
262 – 263 We must remember, not only wars and their heroes, but religious movements and their leaders, migrations, discoveries and colonizations, foundations of cities and states, dynasties and their kings, law codes and their legislators, great buildings and their architects, painters, sculptors, poets, musicians and immortal works. Above all, the idealized memories of a ‘golden age,’ or golden ages, of virtue, heroism, beauty, learning, holiness, power and wealth and an era distinguished for its collective dignity and prestige.
And these are taken seriously by people, no matter how real. And the myth of a golden age gives people morality.
264 – They produce home for renewal. And, create a sense of family and collective destiny.
265 – The people with ‘golden ages’ are sustained over long periods of time.
266 – This is when you’re seen as some sort of chosen people.
267 – Such as the 3rd dynasty of UR or Egyptians in the new kingdom or Protestant America, the chosen people are entrusted with a sacred task in the world’s moral economy.
A covenant is a variation.
The variations give people a sense of moral authority.
268 – And sometimes linked to status reversal, when the meek shall inherit the dearth. Political parties build on this now. The election myth also builds a boundary around those who deny the validity of the mission. And, they mobilize a whole community.
269 – There are homelands. But, if a religion, and so sacred cult, it is even more important.
VARIETY AND SELF-RENEWAL OF NATIONALISMS
Not all nationalisms are equally salient at all times. Being lower on the totem pole may have pushed Muslims to be so vehement now.
272 – The various strengths of golden ages, ethnic election and homeland explains the intensity. These with less of it may be more violent. And in good times, they may sleep. But, that doesn’t mean it came from nowhere.
SELF-RENEWAL IN THE 1990s
274 - Of course that doesn’t tell us when natinoalisms will move up. It may depend on:
The rise of an intelligencia. Infrastructure, like schools. Reactions upon being incorporated in larger political bodies. General geopolitical situations.
He looks at the state of things in the 1990s. The Quebec separatism started with intelligencia in the 1950s.
276 – In short, there is nothing odd about this rise. To understand a nation’s renewal, you must understand the ‘deep’ ethno-symbolic resources it has.
NOTES ON CULTURISM WHILE WRITING CULTURISM, INSPIRED BY MYTHS AND MEMORIES OF THE NATION in 2006
We hope Germany would tie its historical memory to Greece and Rome, not the barbarians. They are civilized. The West, as it has won, is tied to Athens, not Sparta. Rome was obviously tied more to Athens, but a blend. Definitions of culture needn’t be mutually exclusive. Language continuity sometimes, memory others. Narrow professionalism, dictated by scientific bias, makes us lose sight of common sense. Social sciences show acculturation is a slow process that is never total.
A) It doesn’t have to be total, to be.
B) While valuable, the science shows what we already know. Back to
a) As in the book, “not out of Africa,” The author may be more emotionally expressive than your average WASP descendant, but he is not a tribalist, superstitious type. Emphasizing the small difference over the overwhelming similarities is disingenuous and threatens the national viability that makes our progressive, rational culture possible.
The resentment of miniority cultures ala France. The psychological impact of a policy [Ala Founding Fathers and FDR] needs to be addressed. Citizenship not given lightly is more prized. Realize gives, in the pecking order, are sometimes taken as bribes showing weakness.
Nationalismhas been savaged by
overly analytic / scientific philosophers. 1st they mistake man asa wholly rational beast. And, seconds, they say that since criteria they make up [if
it has eternal existence the nation exists as ‘real,’ if not, it isn’t real], Such
arguments assuming Kantian logic as the process by which “truth” is verified
ignores (and therefore validates, by their own logic), culture. Mayan syllogsms
on their cultural existence are not. Anyhow, nationalism is much easier to falsify
with such methods than culturism.
Culturists accept the practical use of truths, but realize ontology cannot be suspended by logic.
The idea that ideology is used to legitimate power is axiomatic among modern intellectuals. But the plight of the last emporer in china shows culture controls pervasively. It is not something one can stand outside of to manipulate the masses. Mayan kings had to put thorns through their penises.
Protestant like historic values based on becoming in the culture so we can call a scumbag a scumbag.
Proof that culturism is a prerequisit to effective nationalism can be seen in the nationalism failures of the African countries not based on culture. It can be seen in the failure of the Sunni and Shiite moslems to “get along.” Easily.
Scholars have tried to give us precise definitions of nationalism. This is done with hostile intent to say there is no connection to past, the nation is false. But it creates a good rubric for defining what a nation should be. It sets goals. Some with myth formation process. Aggreived scholars knit write myths are a part of this. This could be discouraging rather it shows us our own job. Scholars thus get status. Good!
That certain formats are universal in culture nearly proves they are genetic. At least we can say that they aren’t unnatural.
There is an importance of culturism for all cultures that wish to survive.
The fact that as Hobsbawm says, the nation was created makes culturism that much more important. It is a creation of national will. We have a distinguished benefit. We have good literature, meaning and song. The tin anthems of recent nations are all embarrassing. Still Durkheim calls this a ‘social fact.”
Many ideologies have had a mix of racial and ideological components. Check the Chinese. Occasionally, outsiders could take the virtue mantle and be Chinese enough. But the racial overlap is strong. You cannot be a Chinese citizen. Of course being Pilipino is more than racial. But the racial component is strong. It is the natural tendency. Which we have on occasion relapsed into. But, Lincoln noted that our ‘higher angels’ are elsewhere.
Just because France exists doesn’t mean western civilization doesn’t. Same in nature.
Making nations by founding myths is not new. Aneid of Virgil and Muslim discovery they were tied to Ismael. Our use of republic to declare ourselves for example shows that more than for others our politics are an important part of our culture. Political science is a sort of culturism for us.
We should talk of appeals of myths of golden age. Beware the myth of a persecuted minority whose suffering will be vindicated and virtue repaid. Use it for us. We are good. Political parties nations at wwar show these ways. In a democracy demagoguery can cause division with this. LA RAZA uses these. Fight such racist, historically incorrect movements in public.
We can stand in the light of myth destroying history – knowing myths are necessary, but ours are also real.
There is no place for the normal priestcraft
of traditional society. But there
is a place for a ministry of culture.
At least public culturist that speak to our
traditions and culturist needs. We
got rid of church and state. We
will never be rid of culture and state.
In fact, knowing how perennially appealing ethnic based polity generation is and how dangerous it is in a multiethnic nation, we must be vigilant to steer away from it. It is a nasty siren.
The universal nature of myths of election movie would be deflating if ours weren’t true. We are a superpower that has given great things to the world. Other large groups would not be so generous and when it comes to comparing our glory and importance to that of the importance of little ethnic groups survival . . . . well ours is much more important. Assimilation much of our advantage is that we are tolerant. We offer a world in which all can participate. Does that mean you have to give not only your heart, but your soul? The soul is yours, but publicly be enthusiastic for the West. It may be that an Islamic world would be best. My inability to see the glory of a world saw technology where women are subordinated and honor murders happen is ethnocentric culturism. Well let it be. Here we se how strong the individual / cultural affiliation is. I could not be happy in such a world, regardless of that not being reasonable. I will not struggle for such a world.
Somewhere note that Santa Anna came to Texas after having subdued Yuccatan who also felt themselves to be a separate nation.
We must see America as valuable. Education (not propaganda) does this, whereas doubt [‘perhaps noble savage was better off’ ideas] remember we are playing a bet against the basic nature of man being kind and good. We have ample evidence of the contrary.
The theory of the golden age gives us values and a collective destiny.
Herein an agreement against vouchers, Islamic funded schools. Public school is important. But, what are to be the contents of this common experience? Back to Founders and golden age of virtue. Strong message, to not be educated is to be sub-human. Worthy of the Founders. Strong distinterested patriot does what he can to help the destiny.
Put with psych impact of other policies. Imbibe sense of mission. Shame on this basic.
No praise to shameless celebrities. But know the media creates a sense of collective vision via
stars we must appreciate.
Put philosophy before psych to more emphasize gestalt of virtue / culturist philosophy. Censorship of what we approve.
World or Western culturism Chapter: The import of world history vision and clear articulation of values means you can judge distance and if countries are moving towards or away. Is Russia western? Let it prove it. How about Latin America? Turkey would, paradoxically, show its appreciation of the West by withdrawing its EEU inclusion application, because it is dangerous and not western.
Much of our modern and historic mission is to see if people can guide their own destiny without a king or oppressive culturism. And to see if different ethnic groups can live together in peace. Still oppressive culturism of China and Islam beckon. Certainly we want a least restrictive environment. But it must be sustainable. We showed we could come together when threatened in war. What of in peace? This allows you to actualize your independent potential. But clan based, hierarchy, ethnic, religious, dominance is more natural. Your personal salvation and mission must be seen as part of the community glory that underwrites it.
Royce noted that devotion to a cause gives you meaning. The cause cannot destroy another’s loyalty. Theirs has a repository in their homeland Ours cannot be destroyed by theirs.
Stress that ownership is a dubious concept created by historical memory. There is no USA on the map when you look from space. Thus Sharia in France is wrong. It is not wrong, it is culturist.
Deeep assimilation is greatly aided by a choice. That choice is to realize your ties with another civilization are backwards. For Europa that is somewhat easier. Do you really want to live as a Beduin? No you’re French. For us the tie to Mexico is so strong. But dual loyalty should not be fostered.
Maybe! With the progressive attack on the machines we see
how much of our cultural identity is political. And, it is not group, but to be individualistic and
disinterested (above personal desires also puritans). It would be interesting to investigate how much of the
gaining of voting rights as a process of redemption (individual redemtion) was in the puritan influence mind of the