Previously, we had covered the social theories of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim and their explanations for the origins of capitalism, democratic capitalist state and the affects the functioning of this type of state had on the people living within them. Now, we move onto the social theories of Arendt, Anderson, and Wallerstein and their explanations for the origins and affects of nationalism on both the domestic and global social, political, and economic systems of the modern capitalist states, these theories being built upon and in dispute with the theories laid out by our three previous theorists.
If one accepts and moves forward from Durkheim’s analysis of capitalism being responsible for a world in which both man and society moved into a state lacking in ethical and moral standards, that is, a state of anomie, then one can see the logic in Arendt and Anderson’s proposal that nationalism came to rise in order to fill the void that was left by this state of anomie. However, while both Arendt and Anderson see nationalism arising from a similar cause, their theories soon depart. For in Arendt’s theorizing she maintains the great importance that nationalism has for the protection of people, especially now in the modern global world where nations formally recognize each other’s sovereignty, whereas Anderson tackles nationalism as a poorly defined anomaly that social theorists have struggled to define, seeing nationalism as an “cultural artefacts”, used by states today to socialize and in a way, maintain control over its citizens. Wallerstein on the other hand departs almost immediately from the other two as his focus is not on how nationalism affects the life of a citizens in a si...
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...endent on the other, he also points to another point of dissent with Marxists theory. For in Marxist theory, all of human history is the result of history inevitable development in which systems rise and fall in stages and these rises and falls are all necessary steps in leading to the inevitable final stage of communism. Wallerstein proposes to the contrary, that it is not that the rise and falls of different world-systems are necessary stages leading to a known world-system, but that each world-system is imbued with its own set of contradictions that cause internal tensions that will cause the system to eventually degenerate. In fact, Wallerstein argues that the current global economic system has been in this state of degenerating for the past forty years, citing the rise of alter-globalization movements and the global economic slumps ongoing since the early 2000s.
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