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Four Definitions Of Nationalism Essay

1681 words - 7 pages

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 that can be applied to any society and would work in any cases; he does not analyze nationalism simply by the events and developments in any particular area or time period. He also claims that, nations and nationalism do not exist, and they are simply the products of 19th century. Anderson analyzes the origin and development of nationalism, its popularity, and its impacts on societies in order to justify his definition. Anderson rejects the claim of nationalists that nations are divided by certain boundaries. He believes that there are no such things as the boundaries, and expresses that these boundaries are only imaginations of people. He supports that people in a nation feel connected to each other only because of being a resident of the country. He also accuses the accepted definitions of nationalism and marks that they are limiting the world from improving. He supports that by imagining boundaries mankind will always be separate from each other and never be able to unite together. Therefore, Anderson supports a general definition of nationalism that will unite all societies and improve the world. He also supports that such a strict belief in nationalism can even lead people to die for it, which he finds it...

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