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Nation Building - Essay Example

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Nation Building

To begin with, it is imperative to define nationalism. A force that is capable of rendering a national character to any uprising or event, nationalism is a phenomenon that permeates into the very core of a citizen's life. This has been studied in context of the book by Charles Tilly titled European Revolutions (1993)
The hypothesis of this paper is the study of similarities and differences between UK, France and Russia as far as the aspects of the journey from revolution to nationalism is concerned, as discussed and hypothesized by Charles Tilly. These similarities and differences will be studied on the basis of the following three aspects:
The basic hypothesis as put forth by Tilly throughout the book is that Europe is still in the making. Here, it is imperative to understand democracy so as to understand the ends of this journey and the point of the hypothesis. Democracy has been best defined as "of the people, for the people, by the people." It is a phenomenon that arises out of the various contextual realities that people represent in various walks of life as well as the socio economic strata of individual countries. To qualify as a democracy, a country must fulfil the following criteria:
According to Tilly, Nationalism as a feature on any country's historical or cultural climate rises to the fore as a result of threats. It is only when confronted with a threat, does a country - made up of its people and their collective sentiments - wake up and recognise their strengths. This has been seen in the case of colonial expansion as followed by France and UK. These countries, with UK garnering maximum areas around the world by 1921, based their foreign policy of nationalism around colonization. France, in particular was a competitor for UK with its policy of colonization. These in effect become the strength of the nation and nationalism is born. (Tilly, 1993; P 10) In this way, nationalism is defined, anew; every time there is suffering followed subsequently by an upheaval. As a result of this, nationalism or nation building can be called dynamic concept. This is owing to the fact that its elements change with the changing times and the reasons for upheavals. (Elias, 2000)2 The only thing constant about nationalism is its power to bind people together as a nation and the fact that it rises to prominence only in the face of adversity. In modern times, nationalism has become a matter of celebrating everything that a nation takes pride in. This includes independence days, art, literature, music and various other symbols that are a part of the national character as a whole - elements that remind nations of its past victories and present strengths. (Almond et al, 2001)3

Essentials of Revolution
Tilly maintains that a revolution is a social movement. He argues that a social movement is one that is punctuated with a highly idealistic environment with realistic parameters that set the stage for immediate results and emergence of future trends that will go onto dominate the structure and functioning of that particular society for generations to come. (Tilly, 1993; Pp 47 - 48) Issues like principles, revolutionary change and personal strength and a search for identity of a group ...Show more

Summary

Nationalism is a sentiment that has captured the collective imagination of writers, scholars, philosophers and colonial powers for centuries. This sentiment has been echoed by the common masses on occasions where there has been an impetus to rise against a threat to their sense of national identity…
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