On Making Race And Nation Essay

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On Making Race and Nation Anthony Marx’s Making Race and Nation attempts to analyze the roles of race, identity and nationalism in the development of nation-states. The author compares three intriguing examples of this interaction and influence upon race relations and the “making of history.” In South Africa, the United States, and Brazil, Marx shows the variation and similarities that occur in different corners of the world. He makes comparative analyses through the lens of each individual country’s historical and cultural legacies; the influence of racial domination within and upon the nation-state; and the implementation of “race making from below,” the influence of the subjugated upon the building of a nation-state. The proposed theory and perspectives on the nation-state portray the state, a nation’s authority, as malleable, “shaped by contestation…by different histories and different places.” (xii) “States are compulsory and continuous associations claiming control of society within a territory.” (4) Their main purpose is the preservation or acquisition of power by any means necessary. (xiii) Stability of the status quo, be it through war or the maintenance of peace, vital to the economic development and social stability of a nation, is the ultimate goal. Marx reveals the contradictions between the ideals of nationhood—to form a national identity that incites allegiance, thus legitimizing the actions of the state—and the histories of these countries. Unveiling the contradictions reveals the formation and reformation of national policies that were made often without foresight of the conflict to come. In other words, the state reflects the interest of the ones in power and the influential elite; the state is not as objective as one might hope. Moreover, the intended preservation of the status quo led to destruction and restructuring outside the

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