Nationalism and ethnicity

Miami Dade College Issues of Nationalism and Identity in Europe Analysis

Miami Dade College

Question Description


Nationalism and ethnicity

-Important aspects of the culture of a country are nationalism and ethnicit6y. Culture has a great deal to do with identity. Identity may be defined at an individual or collective level. Nation, according to one definition, is the concept that “connotes a group of people, who believe they are ancestrally related; nationalism connotes identification with and loyalty to one’s nation” (Walter Connor). If a nation corresponds to a country, it is referred as a nation state. A nation, however, does not necessarily have to correspond to a country. By this definition, Scots are a nation within the UK, Catalans within Spain. A nation can also stretch across the borders of two countries (Basques between Spain and France. When a nation is not a nation state, this is referred as an ethnic group.

-Scotland and Catalonia are examples of the increasing conflict between the state and nation. Both of these groups have in the past have expressed desires to separate from their mother countries (referendum for independence) but have not succeeded.

-Strong national and ethnic identity may not be harmful and may even be considered a good thing, giving a feeling of belonging to people. However, the negative consequences of such identities may lead to political instability and even violence.

-Europe is not yet free of such consequences. The examples of the war in the former Yugoslavia (which broke apart in 1990), the conflict in Norther Ireland (1960s to 2007), the Basque conflict (1959 to 2016), reflect the extent of ethnically based violence. The increased migration within Europe and also from outside Europe, have caused the ethnic composition of European countries to become more complex and with the creation of the European Union a European identity above all national and ethnic identities has been developed.

-A strong ethnic identity does not necessarily lead to hostile feelings and even violent actions against other ethnic groups and it is not exclusive since it allows the existence of other identities. In its history, the great danger for Europe was nationalism which lead to catastrophic wars. Fortunately, there are sign of a multii-level order with cross-cutting borders emerging in Europe, with citizens still having a national identity but also European and regional identities.

-Symbolically, the new European order may be expressed in the variety of flags that Europe displays. The national flags still wave in the rooftops, but equally often one would see regional flags and the European Union flag.