All posts filed under: Vol. 2: Nationalism

Editorial

Dear readers, Living without the notion of borders had been self-evident in Europe for hundreds of years. Passports, as we know them today, were introduced in 1920 and meant to be dismissed later. At the time, borders separated cultural, linguistic, religious or geographical spaces but they were never political. In contrast, we perceive national borders as normal in the modern world – just like the fact that some people need a visa to travel to other countries, while others do not. As the last year has shown: Nationalism, accompanied by a desire to recreate and control borders, is still widespread. Nevertheless, states, such as passports, are a construct. We are all tempted to link our cultures to states. However, border regions such as Alsace demonstrate that cultural and national borders are not necessarily congruent. In conversation with 42, developmental psychologist Ulrich Schmidt-Denter explains that psychological stability correlates positively with social identification and national pride. However, these psychological and social factors become problematic if the construct of the nation is glorified and misused with the objective …

Europe

Nationalism in Europe

„We have to overcome the connection between nation and democracy.” Interview with Prof Dr Ulrike Guérot, professor for European Politics and Democracy at Donau-Universität Krems Has the nation state had its day? And what happens next? Political scientist Prof. Dr Ulrike Guérot outlines a Europe of the future: with strong regions and a democracy. In this interview it is discussed what our life in 2045 in the European Republic might look like and why we are currently in a historical moment. Prof Dr Guérot – the elections in the Netherlands, France, Germany and Austria in 2017 outline a trend towards nationalistic thinking and acting. Is this a sign of divisions within these countries or is Europe as a whole falling apart? I think it is indicative of a rift in European society and not within the single countries. We are being told that we are experiencing a renationalisation, but that is not true. There are large parts of society that cannot be renationalised, that are not susceptible to national and populist arguments. These parts of …

identity

National Identity and Psychology

“Opening up towards strangers requires a stable identity.” Interview with Prof. Dr Schmidt-Denter, University of Cologne Examining the topic of nationalism from a psychological perspective is greatly facilitated by focusing on another aspect first: The construct of national identity. Developmental psychologist Ulrich Schmidt-Denter explains the connection between national identity and isolation; which other functions identity has to fulfill and why the German national identity is distinct from other European identities. Prof Schmidt-Denter – where does the desire to be part of a nation originate from? Humans are social beings: Belonging to a group ensures our survival. We are programmed to depend on social connections. Identification with a group is indispensable for social coherence and is the prerequisite for solidarity and helpfulness. Nations of the Western hemisphere occupy a special role due to their comparatively high levels of democracy and applied welfare. Both of these factors are grounded in an overall feeling of solidarity within the population. How do you explain the dissociation of some nations from other countries? Where there is an “inside” there also exists …

history

The History of Nationalism

“Although not all nations are old, nationhood is.” Interview with Prof. Dr. Azar Gat, Tel Aviv University Maj. Prof. Dr. Azar Gat, chair of the Department of Political Science at Tel Aviv University, takes us on a journey to discover the history of nations all around the world. He argues that the roots of nations and nationalism go way beyond modernism as they developed from ancient origins, from ethnicities and a sense of belonging, in the very beginning of history. Prof. Dr. Gat – The social anthropologist Ernest Gellner defines nationalism as “the notion that the national and the political unit should be congruent”. Gellner sees the nation as a society of individuals, all sharing in a common culture that is instilled in them institutionally. Nationalism is then the notion that all individuals sharing the common national culture should live in the same state. Another common definition of a nation is Benedict Anderson’s “imagined community”, a community of individuals who perceive themselves to be part of it.  How would you define nationalism? In my book, …

right-wing

Nationalism and the Language of the Right-Wing

“The right-wing rhetoric often seeks to polarise.” Interview with Prof. Dr Fabian Virchow, Research Center for right-wing extremism and neo-Nazism at the University of Düsseldorf. “Lying press” [Lügenpresse] and “the people” [Volk] – can these expressions be classified as right-wing language? In the interview with 42 Magazine Prof. Fabian Virchow, head of the research center for right-wing extremism at the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf, discusses whether right-wing ideological vocabulary even exists and how right-wing actors use language to benefit their world view. Prof. Dr Virchow – we are witnessing a resurgence of right-wing political actors – whether these are Viktor Orbán, Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders or Frauke Petry. To begin with: In your opinion what are some of the reasons for this? This can hardly be generalized for the number of suggested actors. If there are commonalities, these can be found, one the one hand, in the loss of confidence in the established political system, especially the parties and the governments. In some countries, this loss was fueled by practices of bribery against members …

Art

Nationalism in Art History

“By attacking modern art, the National Socialists attacked the concept of modernity as such.” Interview with Dr Silke von Berswordt-Wallrabe, art historian and chairwoman of the foundation Situation Kunst in Bochum, Germany In contrast to “Degenerate” Art, “Compliant” Art has not enjoyed much attention in the past. The stigma of its glorification by the National Socialists had relegated it to museums’ depots. But this perception seems to be changing. During her conversation with 42, art historian Dr Silke von Berswordt-Wallrabe portrays the challenges of dealing with historically charged art and what we can learn from it. Dr Berswordt-Wallrabe – in 2016, you opened the exhibition “Artige Kunst. Kunst und Politik im Nationalsozialismus“ („Well-behaved art. Art and politics in National Socialism“). This was the first exhibition to show a substantial number of works of art that were glorified by the Nazis. What made you exhibit Hitler’s art? One starting point for us here in Bochum was the art historian Max Imdahl’s (1925-1988) preoccupation with NS-art, especially the sculptor Arno Breker’s work, whose career was massively promoted by …

nations

Nationalism in Modern History

“With the Thirty Years’ War, a constant reflection about the question what makes a modern state began –how is it organised and what can it do for the wellbeing of its citizens.” Interview with Prof. Dr Marie-Thérèse Mourey Anyone who deals with the German nation state will inevitably encounter the well-known phrase: “In the beginning was Napoleon”. However, before Germany enters the crucial phase of its national history, it exists in the form of a peculiar political construct: the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. In a conversation with 42 Magazine, Prof. Mourey explains how this empire differs from the nations that emerge during the nineteenth century and discusses whether it is a precursor of the modern nation state. Prof. Dr. Mourey – Do you think the terms “nationalism” and “nation” can be applied to the phase of history you are most interested in? The term “nation” can be applied to the Early Modern Age, the period between the Middle Ages and the French Revolution, but not as it is commonly used today. “Nationalism” …

United Nations

Nationalism and the United Nations

“The United Nations provide an established, structured, and institutionalised forum which emanates from the basic assumption of state egalitarianism” Interview with Prof Dr Heike Krieger, Faculty of Jurisprudence, Public Law, and Law of Nations, Freie Universität Berlin. The United Nations was founded in 1949 amidst the aftermath of the catastrophes of the World War II. The organisation’s pronounced goal: the safeguarding of world peace. The revitalisation of nationalism is now testing the solidarity of the most important intergovernmental entity for international cooperation. 42 Magazine speaks to international law expert Prof. Dr. Heike Krieger from the Free University of Berlin about the developments within the UN from cooperation to confrontation. Prof Dr Krieger – At the United Nations, the most diverse states gather. However, in academia, nation states and nations are not congruent. Are nations therefore underrepresented at the UN? That depends on one’s concept of what a nation is. The UN uses the term interchangeably with that of the state. The discourse in the field of Law of Nations is concerned with the question whether or …

Philosophy

Nationalism and Philosophy

„Each nation is entitled to its own flourishing in the garden of mankind, and nations can overlap and fertilise each other.” Interview with Dr Edward Kanterian, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Kent Philosophy and nationalism have a complex relationship. Over the last two and a half centuries, philosophical notions of belonging, human nature and historical progression have given birth to tamed, reinforced, and undermined nationalistic tendencies, both rebutting and providing ideological support for nationalists in Europe and beyond. What can philosophy teach us today about the power and danger of nationalism? Dr. Kanterian – First of all, I want to get clear on these elusive concepts: nation and nationalism. What is a nation? What is nationalism? How are the two related, and how can we try and understand these phenomena as philosophers?  Indeed, these are elusive notions. I think we would be better off beginning with theories of nationalism rather than theories of the nation, even if the former concept in some sense depends on the latter. This is because the notion of …

Nationalism and the Identitarian Movement

“Identitarian ideology is ultimately characterized by ethnic nationalism.” Interview with Prof. Dr. Gudrun Hentges, Professor for Political Science, Educational Policy and Civic Education at the University of Cologne The identitarian movement has been attempting to make nationalism socially acceptable utilising attributes of youth culture. Even though the group is small in numbers, it has managed to establish itself in the name of progress with spectacular initiatives as the avant-garde of the New Right. Political scientist Prof. Dr Gudrun Hentges illustrates means, goals and the ideological background of the New Right. Prof. Dr. Hentges – as a political scientist, you are, among other things, particularly concerned with the phenomenon of nationalism. First of all, would you tell us what nationalism means for you? First of all, I would differentiate between political and ethnic nationalism. Political nationalism expects the inhabitants of a country to identify with its history, its culture, and its respective key principles as well as to assimilate accordingly. By doing so, it eventually offers them the opportunity of citizenship. Ethnic nationalism, by contrast, aspires to align …

Brexit

Europe and Brexit

“It is not enough to say that it is illegal to be racist, that it is illegal to spread racial hatred. We need to make it absolutely clear that racism is not socially acceptable.” Interview with Prof. Dr Julie Smith (Baroness Smith of Newnham), Director of the European Centre at the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge The United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Hungary, Germany – no matter which European country examined, nationalist parties are on the rise, raising the question what factors lead to the resurgence of nationalism in Europe. Is it truly a threat to European democracy and if so, what are viable prevention measures? Dr Julie Smith gives a comprehensive overview of nationalist tendencies in Europe in the light of her background as a member of the UK House of Lords. Dr Smith – scientists and politicians, among other, are alarmed about the threat of nationalist tendencies, that are arising once more in many countries across the world. How would you, as a political scientist, define the phenomenon of nationalism? On …