Is Nationalism Inherently Violent?

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Veronika Prochko-E-International Relations

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Following the end of World War II, the international community made it a priority to maintain peace and security across the globe; however, various internal conflicts and proxy wars have threatened that peace and security throughout the end of the 20th and into the 21st century. Nationalism appears to be emerging as the primary ideology in some of these internal conflicts. While most scholars agree that nationalism is a modern concept emerging in politics and society within the past few centuries, it is an ideology rooted in history (Malešević, 2013: 18, 20; Kedourie, 1960: 1; Breuilly, 1993: 5; Smith, 1991: 71; Gellner, 1997: 13, 93). The current wave of nationalist agitation is at the forefront of forcing further investigation into what the complex concept of nationalism actually means; the forms it takes; and the behavior it entails. The causes of nationalism that result in conflict are of great importance to the international community, but nationalism itself is not inherently violent; rather, nationalism has a capacity for violence precisely due to various contextual factors, specifically structural, political, socio-economic, ethnic, and perceptual issues, as they provide the base from which violent behavior expands.

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The following analysis consists of four sections, the first of which synthesizes the numerous definitions of nationalism and the development of a “nation,” assuming a common divisive and political element to the different forms of nationalism. The next section discusses the factors from which nationalism is rooted and awakened within a community, that is, the sources and causes of nationalism, followed by the pertinent forms nationalism takes when combined with these factors. To investigate nationalism in practice, the third section examines two case studies in depth, one in which nationalism led to the dissolution of a state without violence: the former Czechoslovakia, and the other in which nationalism led to a violent civil war before a referendum: Sudan. The final section concludes with an analysis of the contextual factors that cause violence, key to explaining and understanding the different outcomes in the former Czechoslovakia and Sudan.

As is common with concepts reliant on multiple variables and more modern concepts, in general, there are various definitions of nationalism. Nationalism can be defined in three ways: as a political principle, as an ideological movement, and as a sentiment. As a political principle, various academics regard nationalism as a theory that the national and political aspects of the state should be congruent (compare Gellner, 1983: 1; Snyder and Ballentine, 2001: 65; Van Evera, 2001: 27; Hastings, 1997: 3-4; Gellner, 1997: 6; Kedourie, 1960: 1). By this principle, the people demand proper autonomy according to their nationality. The concept of representation funnels into the second element of nationalism as an ideological movement “for attaining and maintain autonomy, unity and identity on behalf of a population deemed by some of its members to constitute an actual or potential ‘nation’” (Smith, 1991: 73, emphasis added). As an ideology, nationalism is still essentially political, but also comprises a more abstract and divisive collective identity determined by the community. Lastly, nationalism as a sentiment, according to Gellner, is “the feeling of anger aroused by the violation of [nationalism], or the feeling of satisfaction aroused by its fulfillment” (1983: 1). Similarly, in this instance, a nationalist sentiment stems from a community’s expectation of their government to fulfill a specific national requirement.

It is important, therefore, to define what a nation is. A nation is an immensely abstract concept and, as many academics have noted, a widely misused term[1], but nonetheless considered a result of nationalism (Hobsbawm, 1990: 10; Gellner, 1983: 55). Essentially, when a group of people recognize themselves members to a community based on certain mutual rights and duties, a common language, race, culture, territory, history, or even religion, this group constitutes a nation (Kedourie, 1960: 67; Gellner, 1983: 7; Hobsbawm, 1990: 5). With the constitution of a nation being fundamentally self-defined combined with the understanding of nationalism as a sentiment, ideology, and political principle, issues arise when the state and its population are divided concerning these issues. The result would be what Beissinger calls the “noisy” politics of nationalism, a nationalism that is characterized by a challenge to the political order and its institutions (1996: 100). Even still, issues also occur when the population itself is divided into multiple nations, each with nationalist claims towards their government, only to be repressed or amplified by the government’s partiality to one or the other nation. However, to understand how this circumstance of nationalism can cause conflict, it is important first to discuss the roots and awakening of nationalism within a community.

The factors and elements in a community that instigate nationalism and the subsequent identification as a “nation” are substantial, but, in many cases, intertwined with a great deal of overlap. In many ways, the variety of factors explains how nationalism itself is very contextual, since “different nationalisms have defined the “nation,” its goals, and its enemies differently, producing different nationalist dynamics” (Schrock-Jacobson, 2012: 831). Four factors will be briefly discussed and elucidated further in the examples of Czechoslovakia and Sudan, the first of which is ethnicity. Calhoun considers ethnicity to be an intermediary between kinship and nationality, but essentially this is the most concrete root of nationalism, as ethnic origins are a “dominant theme in nationalist rhetoric” (1997: 40, 58). In addition to ethnicity, identity and the meaning attached to identity are distinguished elements to the foundation of nationalism within a community. Identity provides a community with a meaning and purpose (Beissinger, 1996: 105), yet, in many contexts, ultimately “depends on what people think their own identity is, and not what others think it ought to be” (Jok, 2016: 4). This self-identification is crucial to the understanding that nationalism is by no means uniform in a community: variations and circumstances have an enormous effect on identity as the rock on which a community builds its nationalism. The third root of nationalism may overlap with the previous two but is by no means less important: history has a defining role in the self-identification of a group, which can come together with an emotional recollection of its past and the extent to which it shares historical experiences with its members (Schrock-Jacobson, 2012: 828-829; Snyder and Ballentine, 2001: 67). History itself encompasses many things from culture, language, war, trauma, and development, but it, like ethnicity, is a more seemingly tangible root to a community’s formation of nationalism.[2] The last root of nationalism is perception. Perception is immensely important to a community’s understanding of the manner in which they associate all of the above qualities: history, identity, ethnicity, to themselves. Again, as Jok noted concerning identity formation, much of the above qualities depend on what people perceive them to be (2016: 4). These four underlying characteristics of a community provide the foundation for nationalism, only lacking some sort of inspiration for nationalism to take root.

One of the primary inspirations for nationalism is the presence of an “other.” The “other” is a common term in nationalist discourse, at it is usually the basis from which nationalism is mobilized: “the nation cannot be constructed and maintained without a sense of who does not belong” (Schrock-Jacobson, 2012: 829). “National consciousness,” in this sense, deliberately recognizes an “other” either as a separate entity or a separate threat. This consciousness can form in many ways including through history, ethnicity, perception, and identity, but ultimately nationalism is the result when “the nation begins to be seen as the decisive characteristic of a person and as being more important than other forms of classification, such as social class or political inclination” (Kusý: 2000: 140). Since nationalism is a modern concept, Gellner sees this awakening of nationalism as “an effect of industrial social organization” (1983: 40). This brings a focus on social, economic, and material factors aside from the more abstract roots discussed previously. Hobsbawm notes that this consciousness develops “unevenly among the social groupings and regions of the country” (1990: 12). So, despite Kusý’s claim that a nation transcends social and political classifications, this does not mean that these factors and other more material issues do not play a role in the identification processes or awakening of that very nation. Political, economic, or cultural discrimination and the day-to-day effect on an individual’s quality of life is fundamental to the mobilization of nationalism.[3]

In addition to the process of identification, there is also the importance of opportunity. Beissinger touches on probability of success and failure making an “enormous difference in whether nationalisms resonate within populations,” which combined with potential regional diversity, would explain why the “tides of nationalism never encompass all potential population” (1996: 129, 124). Another related mobilizer of nationalism falls into the modern theory of nationalism, which is known as instrumentalism. Schrock-Jacobson, among others, claims that in many cases of nationalist mobilization, political elites use nationalism as an instrument to manipulate and gain the support of the populace for self-interested goals (2012: 826-828). The rhetoric used calls upon all the roots of nationalism: history, perceptions of history, or myths, religion, ethnicity, and identity to form some kind of national discourse that unifies a segment of the population. On the other hand, Beissinger counters this argument with the claim that, with respect to violent nationalism, “nationalist violence largely influenced levels of mobilization by acting on mass perceptions rather than elite behavior” (1996: 129). Both arguments highlight different approaches to nationalism, the dominant of which are essentially ethnosymbolism, modernism, and primordialism. The combination of the differing outlooks provided by these approaches are crucial to understanding nationalism in different situations, but the debates between them are not explored further in this analysis, as each approach is useful in different contexts.[4]

Once nationalism is mobilized, the roots which form the basis of nationalism become even more important when combined with nationalism itself. Although there are multiple forms that nationalism takes, the three of particular interest are ethnic nationalism, autonomy nationalism and secessionist nationalism.[5] It is important to note that the latter two generally build on or are influenced by aspects of the first within their particular movement but are evidently more political in their discourse. Despite the name, ethnic nationalism encompasses nearly all the instigating roots at the core of nationalism, such as language, culture, religion, historical memory, and ethnicity, stressing their importance to constructing and maintaining the nation (Schrock-Jacobson, 2012: 838). These roots usually build on and overlap with each other because they make up the core of an individual’s identity. Therefore, frequently these issues are seen as zero-sum and nonnegotiable (Schrock-Jacobson, 2012: 832, 834). It is this combination that sets a potential for violence; nonetheless, the factors that facilitate this will be discussed upon examination of the case studies. The second form of nationalism pertinent to this essay is autonomy nationalism. This nationalism is primarily a reaction to political discrimination of a certain community group, who can be defined in terms of ethnicity, culture, or religion; however, the issue of political exclusion is their contention against the state, rather than more ethnic discrepancies. Demanding representation or political reform on the need basis of a particular “nation” within a multinational state is the starting point for most nationalisms, as will be demonstrated in the cases of Sudan and the former Czechoslovakia. The last form of nationalism evident in the case studies is secessionist nationalism. This form of nationalism can be mobilized from various factors that will be examined later, but essentially can be defined as the desire by a population that the political and national aspects of the state be congruent, contrary to the current governmental composition and independent to other nations within the state, ultimately driving a claim to self-determination. This form of nationalism can develop through other forms of nationalism as a process, be instigated by domestic factors, or a mixture of both, which can be seen in Sudan and the former Czechoslovakia.

Beginning first with Sudan, it is important to understand the background leading up to the outbreak of violence, specifically the second civil war from 1983-2005.[6] Sudan was originally under colonial rule, first by Britain and then by Egypt, until receiving independence in the 50s (Casertano, 2013: 126). Colonial rule itself is a factor in the development of a distinct “nation” within Sudan; but, nevertheless, Sudan was already exceptionally ethnically and geopolitically divided.[7] Furthermore, Sudan could be said to have a Christian south that had been primarily backed by the British and a Muslim north, supported by the Egyptians (Casertano, 2016: 126). This ethno-religious, north-south divide led to an initial desire by the south to be set up as two countries upon decolonisation; however, this did not happen, leading to the first civil war and, despite a pause between 1972-1983, continued through a second civil war until foreign mediation in 2005 (Jok, 2016: 53-54). Explanations as to why this contention erupted violently was a result of many factors that themselves contributed to the formation of nationalism, but also paved the way for violence. Colonialism itself was a feature to the rise of radical ethnic nationalism in the Muslim population.[8] The humiliation of colonialism led to a Muslim led independence movement which “posited an Arab-Islamic core identity population, one that provided a source of unity for a fractious north, a sense of history, lineage and pride” (Straus, 2015: 265, 271). Muslims saw themselves as the liberators of Sudan, which ultimately led to the formation of a hierarchy of race surrounding the Arab-Islamic core of their identity. The consequences of colonialism and this awakening of Arab identity led to political and ethnic discrimination,[9] pressures for assimilation, and socio-economic factors, specifically resource competition, becoming factors contributing to further national contention in Sudan.  Already seeing a racial and ethnic divide in the 1950s before the end of colonial rule, Sudan essentially was comprised of the Arab northerners and the African southerners (Jok, 2016: 8). It was along these ethnic lines that Sudan developed, and the division could be seen beyond that of ethnicity and moved into the economic and political system of Sudan.

The Sudanese government was concentrated in the north and, ultimately, became very involved in the ethnic divide (Jok, 2016: 2):

The state, largely controlled by groups that self-identify as Arabs, has sought to forge the Sudanese national identity as ‘Arab’ and ‘Islamic’ while the majority of the population increasingly prefer to identify themselves by their specific ethnic/tribal names or simply ‘African’ or ‘Black’.

Already there was a formation of two nations, one congruent with the political system, and another left out altogether. This alone did not spark violent nationalism within the two communities, but rather racial discrimination based on these nations economically and politically combined with pressure to assimilate, inequality and severe domination poisoned the already weak union of the two nations. The discrimination included all parts of society: the parliament, army, educational institutions, trade unions, businesses, and legal system were dominated by Arabs and all forms of development aide and job opportunity were concentrated in the Arab north (compare Lesch, 1998: 15, 21; Straus, 2015: 235; Jok, 2016: 9-10). It was impossible for southerners to reach the same standard of living as someone in the north, which ultimately played a role in the awakening of southern autonomy nationalism, that already existed prior to British departure. This narrative of exclusion with a deep foundation in Arab-Islamic ethnic nationalism created “a hierarchy between a superior Muslim and Arab core group and an inferior, non-Muslim and non-Arab marginal group” (Straus, 2015: 235). Race and religion became a social and political reality for the Sudanese, on both sides, encompassing a core part of every aspect of life.

This Arab domination was characterized by state efforts to make the country culturally Arab and religiously Muslim, causing anyone who wanted to be included in state services to recreate their identity in order to be seen as at most second-class Arabs (Jok, 2016: 2-3; Lesch, 1998: 15). The reality of either assimilate or be excluded was another factor that played a role in the national contention of the southern African population, leading to the founding of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement in 1983. This movement originally wanted a reformed “New Sudan” and a restructuring of the political movement, but ultimately became divided between autonomy and secessionist nationalism (Lesch, 1998: 22; Copnal, 2014: 3).  The Arab dominated government, racially superior and interested in maintaining control, tolerated no opposition and responded violently and strongly, targeting people and potential opposition through racial and religious association (Jok, 2016: 15). Another contributing factor to the violent governmental response was resource competition. The discovery of oil in the southern region of Sudan in the 1970s contributed to the Arab dominated government political and economic interest in keeping the region under their direct control (Straus, 2015: 244; Jok, 2016: 44; Casertano, 2013: 911).[10] Competition for resources combined with the ethnic-religious and political discrimination ultimately created the uncompromising environment that led to violence in the form of civil war. South Sudanese independence in 2011 was a result of the desire of the south for themselves, as a nation, to become politically united, but nationalism alone did not solely contribute to the violent events that led up to the fruition of what nationalism by definition is aimed towards, that is some degree of a nation-state.

To contrast the case of Sudan that experienced conditions of and surrounding nationalism that led to a violent contention and expression of that nationalism, the peaceful break-up of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic (CSFR) experiences similar kinds of nationalism, but due to the differing factors involved, does not experience a violent dissolution, and is known as the Velvet Divorce. Similar to the of the formation of Sudan under colonial rule, Czechoslovakia was an artificial construction formed in 1918 rather than a natural nation-state formation (Rychlík, 2000: 98). Therefore, Czechoslovakia comprised of two “nations,” the Czechs and the Slovaks. To understand the factors and mobilization of nationalism that ultimately led to the dissolution of the CSFR, it is important to look at the history of both ethnic groups, which played an enormous role in constructing the different conceptions of nation that ultimately tainted the original Czech and Slovak union. The nation of Slovaks developed in the Kingdom of Hungary; and, when the Slovaks entered into union with the Czechs in 1918, they were effectively saved from the numerically, politically, and culturally dominate Magyars and Poles, also referred to negatively as the period of “Hungarism” in their historical experience (Rychlík, 2000: 102-103; Breuilly, 1993: 134). The Czech nation, on the other hand, had originally developed in the Kingdom of Bohemia and saw the independence gained by the birth of Czechoslovakia as the “climax of the Czech national liberation effort” (Rychlík, 2000: 102). Both nations entered a union with completely different conceptions of what that union meant as well as with completely different historical experiences altogether (Rychlík, 2000: 102). Essentially, they were historically and nationally divided from the beginning.[11]

The second factor contributing to the rise of nationalism in the 1990s was the diverging Czech and Slovak perception of communism. Effectively, both nations had significantly different experiences under communism, which led to different perceptions of the past and post-communist situations economically, politically, and ideologically. The construction of the Slovak economy relied primarily on heavy industry and arms production, causing it to prosper under communism and suffer massively in terms of employment and economy under the post-communist reforms of the Federation (Příhoda, 200: 136; Holte, 1999: 648, 655). Consequently, Slovak perception of the present political and economic situation was largely skewed against the Czech population, whose experience was quite different. The Czech Lands suffered under communism, feeling that their economic growth had been halted by the divergence of resources to Slovakia, and upon the foundation of the Federation in 1969, pushed for economic reforms in their favor, an overwhelming rejection of communism, and a symbolic “return to Europe” (Holte, 1999: 660; Musil, 2000: 2). The sheer opposite experiences each nation underwent with regards to communism was a critical factor in the diverging perceptions between the nations of the past, present, and who was responsible for their misfortunes.

The historical perception combined with ideological preference played into the eventual political division that set the basis for Slovak autonomy nationalism and Czech ectomic nationalism. Slovaks were under the impression that in the existing state, they were disadvantaged and discriminated against politically, a perception that was heavily substantive with the noticeably low number of Slovak employees and noticeably high number of Czech employees in federal positions and state administration (Holte, 1999: 649, 654 Musil, 2000: 2).  This spurred the Slovak initial autonomy nationalism, since now, in addition to perceiving themselves as culturally different from the Czechs, they saw themselves different politically as well. The decline in the standard of living and nostalgia for the communist period led to the radicalization of national aspirations and a movement towards populism (Pithart, 2000: 222; Kusý, 2000: 154). The Czech Lands, on the other hand, did not share this nostalgia nor perception of disadvantage. Rather, they considered the Slovak grievances to be of their own doing, contrast to the disadvantages the Czechs experienced under communism for which they deemed the Slovaks responsible (Holte, 1999: 659-560). Ultimately, the Czech political elite began to consider and proclaim the Slovak resistance to economic reforms as obstructing the development of the Federation, and the price of maintaining the common state seemed detrimental to the Czech Lands (for more on the specific politics behind the breakup, see Holte, 1999: 660-663; Musil, 2000: 3). It was the combination of the political and ideological; ethnic and cultural; and perceptions of history and the present that contributed to the Velvet Divorce, but the final factor that caused the breakup of the CSFR in 1993, was the nationalism, also known as instrumentalism, invoked by the political elite to convince their populations that there was no compromise of two nations divided politically and historically. Holte (1999: 658) and Musil (2000: 91) both note that without these elite politicians, the Velvet Divorce would not have taken place.

Comparing and contrasting these two cases, it is necessary to highlight the factors and nationalisms that were similar and different in order to determine under what context nationalism has a capacity for violence. According to various academics, the combination of contextual factors of structural inequality, political inequality, economic and social inequality, and ethnic and perceptual disparities (compare Brown, 2001: 4; Van Evera, 2001: 36-37; Gellner, 1983: 11; Lange, 2013: 141, 124; Synder 2000: 67), and the way in which they interact with the state is ultimately what drives nationalism towards violent manifestations (Beissinger, 1996: 123). Firstly, the role of structural inequality in violent nationalism is highly contingent on the geographic and demographic diversity within a certain region, its ability to mobilize mass populations, as previously mentioned by Hobsbawm, and the material value of specific territory also plays a role in the intensity of the contestation, as seen with the oil in southern Sudan, a factor that was not present in the former CSFR. Secondly, political inequality is capable of instigating nationalism, but when that political discrimination remains unaddressed and even enforced by the state, a characteristic of the Sudan case but not the former CSFR, the outburst of violence is more plausible.

Thirdly, persistent social and economic inequality, real or perceived, have the propensity when combined with other factors to spark violence as an expression of dissent and injustice (Brown, 2001: 11). Examples of this can be seen in the discriminatory economic systems, seen in both Sudan and the former CSFR; the divergence of funding from a certain population; social inequality through inequitable educational opportunities; discrimination based on religion; and unsubstantiated legal targeting, all of which occurred in Sudan. Lastly, and perhaps the more contextual and complex factor is ethnic and perceptual disparity, which can lead to a variety of reactions, from which violence can erupt. Disparity of perception plays a huge role in the construction of historical memory: through the assignment of blame, the active fear and threat of another group based on past trauma, and the desire for revenge (Van Evera, 2001: 44; Brown, 2001: 15). Also, disparity between religion, ethnicity, race and culture and what form it should take with respect to state identity can lead to discrimination on these grounds. State-enforced or endorsed discrimination creates an environment for the creation and awakening of nationalism on the basis of fear, perceived threat, and resentment. This can be seen clearly in the pressure to assimilate with Arabs from the state authority in Sudan and the repression that occurred if not obedient such that fear, resentment, and a realization of the right to self-determination were mobilized in the African nation to protect the integrity and survival of their identity, by any means necessary. From this, a generalization can be drawn about the importance of survival to a nation, and when threatened through constant repression of its unique characteristics, whether religion, culture, language, or ethnicity, this action creates an outlet and capacity for nationalism to take a violent form and an opportunity for divergent perceptions between conflicted communities to swell (Schrock-Jacobson, 2012: 828-829). Overall, it is when these factors combined with the essentially political and divisive nature of nationalism intersect, that violence is seen as an outlet for communal tension or the only means through which a community can achieve agency.

If the structural, political, socio-economic, ethnic, and perceptual factors themselves are what constitute nationalism, then, by relation, nationalism would be inherently violent due to its composition; but, when recalling the general concept of nationalism as a political principle, ideology, and sentiment, that alone does not entail violence. It is the cases where injustices of all kinds via structural, political, socio-economic, and ethnic inequalities intersect with perceptual disparities and state obstinance that violent nationalist contention takes form. The fact that these circumstances have occurred and caused conflict even before the birth of nationalism indicate that the capacity for violence exists in nationalism as much as it exists in various other ideologies and political principles seen throughout history. Looking at these two examples of successful self-determination, the fact that one occurred with violence and one without has more to do with the circumstances instigating hostility rather than nationalism itself.

Nonetheless, this is not to say that nationalism does not constitute a contributing factor to the violence that occurs in divided societies; even still, it is an important attribute to many intercommunal conflicts across the 20th and 21st centuries, the influx of which is of great importance to international relations. The advent of nationalism as a phenomenon largely stems from the birth of numerous new states following the end of World War II, leaving the international community invested in and concerned with the development, maturity, and behavior of these new states. Yet, the significant mixture of the peaceful and violent creation of these states is interesting not only because of the shared concept of nationalism, but also because the reasons for which they differ are the conflictual factors and circumstances that have been seen throughout the history of violence, even before the arrival of nationalism (Hutchinson, 2010: 136; Malešević, 2013: 12). It is important to look at situations in which violence occurs and how perception, widespread discrimination, and the role of the state play an enormous part in these violent outbursts. Violence does not occur just because of self-determination or nationalism. It is the circumstances and factors contributing to the intersection of violence and nationalism that is the driving force of conflict, a force that has existed far before the modern concept of nationalism, which should be of interest to international affairs and further investigated by the literature concerning violent conflict.

References

Beissinger, M. R., 1996. How Nationalisms Spread: Eastern Europe Adrift the Tides and Cycles of Nationalist Contention. Social Research, 63(1) pp. 97-146.

Breuilly, J., 1993. Nationalism and the State. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Brown, M. E., 2001. The Causes of Internal Conflict: An Overview. In: Brown, M. E., Cote, O. R., Lynn-Jones, S. M. & Miller, S. E., eds. Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict. Cambridge: The MIT Press, pp. 3-25.

Calhoun, C., 1997. Nationalism. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Casertano, S., 2013. Our Land, Our Oil! Natural Resources, Local Nationalism, and Violent Secession. Berlin: Springer VS.

Connor, W., 1978. A nation is a nation, is a state is an ethnic group is a … Ethnic and Racial Studies, 1(4), pp. 377-400.

Copnal, J., 2014. A Poisonous Thorn in Our Hearts: Sudan and South Sudan’s Bitter and Incomplete Divorce. London: Hurst & Company.

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Gellner, E., 1997. Nationalism. New York: New York University Press.

Hastings, A., 1997. The Construction of Nationhood: Ethnicity, Religion and Nationalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hilde, P. S., 1999. Slovak Nationalism and the Break-up of Czechoslovakia. Europe-Asia Studies, 51(4), pp. 647-665.

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Musil, J., 2000. Czech and Slovak Society. In: Musil, J., ed, The End of Czechoslovakia. Budapest: Central European University Press, pp. 77-94.

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Wright, F., 1988, Northern Ireland: a comparative analysis. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan.

Van Evera, S., 2001. Hypotheses on Nationalism and War. In: Brown, M. E., Cote, O. R., Lynn-Jones, S. M. & Miller, S. E., eds. Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 26-60.

Footnotes

[1] See Walker Connor’s article, A nation is a nation, is a state is an ethnic group is a … (1978), for a comprehensive analysis of the way in which terms surrounding a state, ethnicity, and nation are used incorrectly causing serious implications for the common perception of what they mean.

[2] For a discussion of group historical commemoration, see Malešević, 2013: 12-18.

[3] A notable example of this can be seen in Northern Ireland, where culturicide and targeted inequality were evident in domestic practice, resulting in what could be considered dormant nationalism surging and ultimately sparking intercommunal conflict as well as violence against the state. See generally Wright, F., 1988, Northern Ireland: a comparative analysis. For a more specific description of the economic, social, and religious discrimination, see Whyte, J. H., 1990, Interpreting Northern Ireland, at 26-66.

[4] See Özkirimli, U., 2010, Theories of nationalism: a critical introduction, at 51-181, for an in-depth analysis of the modernist, primordialist, and ethnosymbolist approaches to nationalism. As mentioned, however, for the purposes of this analysis, it is beneficial to use a combination of the approaches to explain the roots and sources of nationalism in specific cases and to analyze their role in the outbursts of violence or lack thereof.

[5] The reason for choosing these three does not suggest they are the most important kinds or even their immense popularity; rather, they are the three forms of nationalism that appear in the cases chosen for analysis. Another type of nationalism that will be discussed is ectomic nationalism, a nationalism attributive to the Czech population in the CSFR, but not to the Arab Sudanese in Sudan.  For a discussion of other kinds of nationalism see Hutchinson, J. and Smith, A., 1994: 3-13; Musil, 2000: 1-11; and Schrock-Jacobson, 2012.

[6] Sudan’s history is colored by three distinct armed conflicts: the first civil war (1955-1972), the second civil war (1983-2005), and the Darfur civil war (2003-2006) (Straus, 2015: 232). This essay, however, discusses factors likely characteristic to all the conflicts, but primarily with respect to the second civil war. The post-2011 referendum conflict is not relevant to the nature of this analysis. For an in-depth analysis of the events of each armed conflict, see generally Jok, 2016.

[7] A large number of characteristics stem from these terms, the former including: language, culture, identity, race and religion; and the latter including: regional diversity, economic development, social class, political involvement. It is not possible to refer to all these issues individually in this essay, therefore the two terms will be used to reference these problems altogether.

[8] The use of the word “radical” does not imply that ethnic nationalism is inherently radical; rather, with reference to Sudan, much of the state behavior and subsequent nationalism was characterized by the rise of the National Islamic Front in 1989, a self-proclaimed militant and political Islamic group. See Jok, 2016: 15.

[9] See supra note 7 regarding the term “ethnic.”

[10] This is the distinct reason as to why the Arab-Islamic ethnic nationalism never became “ectomic” nationalism, that is, the desire to “get rid of the poorer or troublemaking part of the multinational state,” which will be discussed in the Czechoslovak case (Musil, 2000: 8).

[11] An interesting example of this division surfacing later is evident in the minor disagreement over the name change of the CSFR following the fall of communism. The difference between the Slovak desire for the name to be Czecho-Slovak Republic and the Czech dismissal of their concerns is a small but nonetheless interesting example of the differences evident in the union. The fact that this was an issue for Slovakia indicated that there was a need to be recognised as equal with the Czechs in not only the eyes of the union but also, more generally, the world. See Hilde, 1999, at 654.

Written by: Veronika Prochko
Written at: The University of St Andrews

Written for: Dr Nick Brooke
Date written: November 2017

 

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