Did nationalism predate nation states?

Today, we are used to both the nation-state and the idea of nationalism. However, it may be possible to have one without the other. Authors have written about nationalism for centuries, but the nation state as we know it has existed a relatively short amount of time. So, did nationalism predate the nation?

Yes, nationalism predated nation states.

There is strong evidence of behaviors akin to nationalism in societies that predate our modern idea of the "nation state."

Nationalism is a form of tribalism

Tribalism: the behaviour and attitudes that stem from strong loyalty to one's own tribe or social group

Greek city states had a national identity

Greek city states rallied under a banner to defend their city against the Persian empire.

Not all countries or states are nation states

Many countries are made up of a large mix of different ethnic and social groups who live together based on their geographical proximity, not because they belong to the same nation.

No, nationalism did not predate nation states.

While group and tribal identities have existed for centuries, the particular phenomenon of "nationalism" is most accurately viewed as unique to the nation state.

The structures of modern society create conditions for nationalism

The way modern societies are arranged - divided along lines of race, language and perceived cultural differences - encourage a nationalist attitude which people otherwise would not develop.

Feeling tribal loyalty to a group depends on social conditions

People often feel loyalty towards a group they are raised with; that isn't necessarily their own ethnic or cultural group, so nationalism is not inherent but taught.

Nationalism is aggressive and developed by militarised nation states

Nationalism is focused on defending one specific race or cultural group, so modern nationalism is developed on a large scale by modern nation states which are placed in opposition to other states.

Nationalism and nation states go hand-in-hand.

It has been suggested that nationalism and nation states developed together as a result of fifteenth-century mapmaking and exploring tactics.

Both nationalism and nation states were created by an awareness of geography

In the fifteenth century, with the development of widespread land and sea transport, people began to develop a stronger awareness of geography and where people existed, meaning nationalism and nation states developed as these oppositions were established.
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This page was last edited on Saturday, 27 Jun 2020 at 15:23 UTC