Four Definitions of Nationalism Essay

Four Definitions of Nationalism Essay

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Nationalism was a debatable issue in 19th century. It had developed differently in Western Europe and Eastern, Central Europe. Western Europe was identified with Civic Nationalism, and nationalism was also seen as an imperialist and economic movement. In Eastern and Central Europe, however, there were many types of nationalism, such as the popular nationalism, that aimed at national liberation and unification. Benedict Anderson has a theoretical definition of nationalism, which aim at correcting previous definitions of nationalism and create a single, universal theory of nationalism. In comparison to Anderson`s definition, Peter Sugar has four different definitions of nationalism that focuses on nationalism in 19th century Europe and tries to prove that the definition of nationalism is different in certain times, places and areas. Based on the primary sources in the section, Sugar`s view of nationalism is more persuasive than the Anderson`s view of nationalism. He has comprehensive approach by his definitions of nationalism; by analyzing different nationalist movements in different parts of Europe he offers complete view of nationalism in 19th century Europe. In comparison to Sugar`s view, Anderson`s definition of nationalism is limited and cannot be applied to any situation involving nationalism.

As an anthropologist, Anderson pursues a theoretical approach and holds a macro level theory of nationalism. By using his grand theory of nations, Anderson defines nation and nationalism as imaginary concepts that are simply created by the people for their own purposes; he believes that definition of nationalism is deficient and never fully evaluated. He formulates a definition of nationalism ...


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...By defining four different definitions of nationalism and focusing on Europe, Sugar has a reasonable argument. Anderson`s definition of nationalism, however, cannot be applied to all nationalistic movements in any region and time period, as he claims and therefore is contradictory. This can also be proved by referring to primary documents, which are direct sources from 19th century. In primary documents, only Mazzini`s universal definition of nationalism comes close to Anderson`s view of nationalism. However, unlike Mazzini, Anderson does not believe in creation of national states and sees them simply as imaginary concepts that are created by the people. Anderson`s definition of nationalism won`t be able to offer a solution instability in 19th century Europe, in which many people from different ethnicities wanted European map to be redrawn and setup their own nations.

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