Is Nationalism Inherently Xenophobic Essay

1737 WordsJan 14, 20127 Pages
Is nationalism inherently xenophobic? Illustrate your argument with specific examples Taking the broad definition that nationalism is the ‘goal of national flourishing’ (Nathanson 1997) it is necessary to break down this very broad concept by looking at the conditions in which nationalism is xenophobic. By looking at the foundations in which nationalism is often built on, and in combination with the so called ‘national mission’ (Tuminez 2000: 9) it should become evident whether nationalism can exist without xenophobia. The foundations that nationalism is built on can be predominantly ethnic/cultural ties or they can be civic and more often than not are a mixture of them both. As I shall explore, nations built on predominantly ethnic ties are more susceptible to influencing factors which create a superior self-image and in turn an aggressive national mission. Nations that are built on civic nationalism are also prone to the thinking that they represent advanced reasoning and their ‘civic contract’ need be exported to the entire human race (Ignatieff 1999). This is of course not a fundamental characteristic of civic nationalism but rather one that is created by political leaders and the media. While the foundations of nationalism may be civic or ethnic I shall explore how these tie in with factors such as territorial disputes, cultural/religious conflict, national humiliation, globalization, immigration and power to determine whether xenophobia is present under only certain conditions or if it is always inherent. There is also the question of whether only very strong nationalism is xenophobic or whether even the very closely linked ‘patriotism’ is xenophobic. The fact that there cannot possibly be enough nation states in the world to cater for every nation means that territorial disputes and sub-nations seeking a state are common causes for xenophobia. The

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