Manual Women, States and Nationalism: At Home in the Nation?

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Craig Douglas Albert
  1. Women, States and Nationalism: At Home in the Nation?
  2. Women, states, and nationalism : at home in the nation? - Semantic Scholar
  3. The Disturbing Rise of ‘Femonationalism’

Women, according to Anthias and Davis, are expected to be biological bearers of children for the nation; symbols of national identity; transmitters of cultural norms; active members of state governance; or, lastly, reproducers of the boundaries of the nation. The most extreme examples of this idea—of women embodying boundaries and borders—usually involve rape.

All of this is why there is no difference, ultimately, between a state that demands women cover up and a state that refuses to allow them to do so. Two weeks ago, for example, millions of people shared a photograph of two women, one from Egypt and one from Germany, playing volleyball at the Olympics.

Women, States and Nationalism: At Home in the Nation?

The woman on the left, Egyptian Olympian Doaa Elghobashy, chose to wear a hijab as well as full body spandex. Others on her team, given similar flexibility, did not. East versus West. Choose correctly. The issue is who can legitimately propose ethno-national diversity as ideal: the nationalist is much too tied to his or her own culture to do it, while the cosmopolitan is too eager to preserve intercultural links that go beyond the idea of having a single nation-state.

Moreover, is diversity a value such that it deserves to be protected whenever it exists? Should the protection of diversity be restricted to certain aspects of culture s proposed in full generality? The line of thought 1 is not individualistic. And 5 can be presented without reference to individuals: diversity may be good in its own right, or may be good for nations.

But the other lines of thought in the set just presented are all linked to the importance of community life in relation to the individual. In each argument, there is a general communitarian premise a community, to which one has no choice whether or not to belong, is crucial for one's identity, or for flourishing or some other important good. This premise is coupled with the more narrow, nation-centered descriptive claim that the ethno-nation is precisely the kind of community ideally suited for the task.

However, liberal nationalists do not find these arguments completely persuasive. In their view, the premises of the arguments may not support the full package of nationalist ambitions and may not be unconditionally valid. For an even more skeptical view stemming from social science, see Hale Still, there is a lot to these arguments, and they might support liberal nationalism and a more modest stance in favor of national cultures. We conclude this sub-section by pointing to an interesting and sophisticated pro-national stance that developed by David Miller over the course of decades, from his work of to the most recent work of He accepts multicultural diversity within a society but stresses an overarching national identity, taking as his prime example British national identity, which encompasses the English, Scottish and other ethnic identities.

Such identity is necessary for basic social solidarity, and it goes far beyond simple constitutional patriotism, Miller claims. A skeptic could note the following. However, multi-cultural states typically bring together groups with very different histories, languages, religions, even quite contrasting appearances.

One seems to have a dilemma. Grounding social solidarity in national identity requires the latter to be rather thin and seems likely to end up as full-on, unitary cultural identity. Thick constitutional patriotism may be the only possible attitude that can ground such solidarity while preserving the original cultural diversity.

Arguments in the second set concern political justice and do not rely on metaphysical claims about identity, flourishing and cultural values. They appeal to actual or alleged circumstances that would make nationalist policies reasonable or permissible or even mandatory , such as a the fact that a large part of the world is organized into nation states so that each new group aspiring to create a nation-state just follows an established pattern , or b the circumstances of group self-defense or of redressing past injustice that might justify nationalist policies to take a special case.

Some of the arguments also present nationhood as conducive to important political goods, such as equality. A group of people of a sufficient size has a prima facie right to govern itself and decide its future membership, if the members of the group so wish. It is fundamentally the democratic will of the members themselves that grounds the right to an ethno-national state and to ethno-centric cultural institutions and practices.

This argument presents the justification of ethno- national claims as deriving from the will of the members of the nation.

Women, states, and nationalism : at home in the nation? - Semantic Scholar

It is therefore highly suitable for liberal nationalism but not appealing to a deep communitarian who sees the demands of the nation as independent from, and prior to, the choices of particular individuals. For extended discussion of this argument, see Buchanan , which has become a contemporary classic; Moore ; and Gans For some exchanges of arguments, see J. An interesting volume from a legal perspective is Kohen , and some interesting case studies are presented in Casertano For an extremely negative judgment see Yack , Ch.

Oppression and injustice give the victimized group a just cause and the right to secede. If a minority group is oppressed by the majority to the extent that almost every minority member is worse off than most members of the majority simply in virtue of belonging to the minority, then nationalist claims on behalf of the minority are morally plausible and potentially compelling. This argument implies a restrictive answer to our questions 2b and 2c : the use of force in order to achieve sovereignty is legitimate only in the cases of self-defense and redress.

Of course, there is a whole lot of work to be done specifying against whom force may legitimately be used, and how much damage may be done to how many. It establishes a typical remedial right, acceptable from a liberal standpoint. See the discussion in Kukathas and Poole , also Buchanan For past injustices see Waldron Members of a minority group are often disadvantaged in relation to a dominant culture because they have to rely on those with the same language and culture to conduct the affairs of daily life.

Since freedom to conduct one's daily life is a primary good, and it is difficult to change or give up reliance upon one's minority culture to attain that good, this reliance can lead to certain inequalities if special measures are not taken. Spontaneous nation-building by the majority has to be moderated. Therefore, liberal neutrality itself requires that the majority provide certain basic cultural goods, i. See Kymlicka b, and Institutional protections and the right to the minority group's own institutional structure are remedies that restore equality and turn the resulting nation-state into a more moderate multicultural one. See Kymlicka , We note an interesting recent proposal by Robert E. Goodin , who distinguishes two motivations for multiculturalism and two possible resultant kinds: polyglot multiculturalism and protective multiculturalism. The nation-state has in the past succeeded in promoting equality and democracy.

Liberalism informs the notion of individual agency, but provides weak purchase at best on membership and on the collective cohesion and capacity of the demos. Ethno-national solidarity is a powerful motive for a more egalitarian distribution of goods Miller , Canovan , The nation-state also seems to be essential to safeguard the moral life of communities in the future, since it is the only form of political institution capable of protecting communities from the threats of globalization and assimilationism.

For a detailed critical discussion of this argument see Mason Calhoun himself is acutely aware of the limitations of his praise of nationalism, mentioning some on the same page as that from which we quoted above. Roshwald in his book, which cited the paradoxical and contradictory nature of nationalist claims.

To quote a fine summary given by A. Greenfeld herself is very critical of nationalism, but someone might contemplate incorporating her theory cleansed of her critical attitude into a defense of nationalism.

These political arguments can be combined with deep communitarian ones. The idea of moderate nation-building points to an open multi-culturalism, in which every group receives its share of remedial rights but, instead of walling itself off from others, participates in a common, overlapping civic culture and in open communication with other sub-communities.

Given the variety of pluralistic societies and intensity of trans-national interactions, such openness seems to many to be the only guarantee of stable social and political life see the debate in Shapiro and Kymlicka The only solution seems to be extreme moderation.

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The dialectics of moderating nationalist claims in the context of pluralistic societies might thus lead to a stance respectful of cultural differences, but liberal and potentially cosmopolitan in its ultimate goals. The liberal nationalist stance is mild and civil, and there is much to be said in favor of it. It tries to reconcile our intuitions in favor of some sort of political protection of cultural communities with a liberal political morality.

Of course, this raises issues of compatibility between liberal universal principles and the particular attachments to one's ethno-cultural nation. Very liberal nationalists such as Tamir divorce ethno-cultural nationhood from statehood. Also, the kind of love for country they suggest is tempered by all kinds of universalist considerations, which in the last instance trump national interest Tamir , ; see also Moore and Gans There is an ongoing debate among philosophical nationalists about how much weakening and compromising is still compatible with a stance's being nationalist at all.

For example, Canovan ch. For a more sociological approach to the dialectic of the global and the ethno-national, see the Introduction to Delanty and Kumar and Delanty's contribution to that volume. In recent years issues of nationalism have been increasingly integrated into the debate about the international order see the entries on globalization and cosmopolitanism. The main conceptual link is the claim that nation-states are natural, stable and suitable units of the international order.

A related debate concerns the role of minorities in the processes of globalization see Kaldor, Moreover, the two approaches might ultimately converge: a multiculturalist liberal nationalism and a moderate, difference-respecting cosmopolitanism have a lot in common. One investigation in this direction has been undertaken by Kok-Chor Tan , see in particular ch. However, he is quite skeptical about the convergence in his later paper see also his book. Let me start by briefly returning to the recent debates on territory and nation and then pass to issues of global justice.

The Disturbing Rise of ‘Femonationalism’

She nevertheless stresses that more than one ethnic group can have formative ties to a given territory, and that there might be competing claims based on settlement. Yack , ff starts from the same point to derive much more pessimistic conclusions. But, given the ethno-national conflicts of the twentieth century, one can safely assume that culturally plural states divided into isolated and closed sub-communities glued together merely by arrangements of modus vivendi are inherently unstable.

Stability might therefore require that the pluralist society envisioned by liberal culturalists promote quite intense intra-state interaction between cultural groups in order to forestall mistrust, reduce prejudice, and create a solid basis for cohabitation. On the opposite end of the spectrum, more cosmopolitan authors Buchanan , Waldron , Other Internet Resources also point to the fact of multiple settlements in roughly the same territory and to the importance of the proximity of various ethno-cultural groups.

They stress internal cultural pluralism: for reasons of peace and security, state borders should bring together distinct cultural groups typically ethno-national ones , and they in fact most often do so. Combining the cultural motivation to foster open multiculturalism and Waldron's security-based motivation to structure states for the purpose of resolving conflicts and establishing justice, forming a state becomes a duty we owe to anyone with whom we are likely to come into endemic conflict.

Waldron , Other Internet Resources.

How Nations Make Up National Identities - NYT - The Interpreter

But where should one stop? The question arises since there are a lot of geographically open, interacting territories of various sizes. The cosmopolitan logic regarding the interests of peace and security therefore suggests joining together bigger and bigger units in a kind of recursive scheme. For instance, the EU was created to secure lasting peace, and other supra-statal and macro-regional might follow its lead. Ultimately, the combination of ethno-cultural and security-focused considerations might thus point in a clearly cosmopolitan direction when formulating and resolving dilemmas about matters of territory.