Nationalism state or inhabiting a territory.” (Allen, 1992). This


Nationalism has a central theme
that the nation is, or should be, the basis of political organisation and
should be self-determined (Axford, 2011). Allen defines the nation as “a
community of people of mainly common descent, history, language, etc., forming
a state or inhabiting a territory.” (Allen, 1992). This could mean many things from
a traditional nation-state with national borders and a single sovereign
government to a nation of people of the same religion and culture that crosses
borders, such as Kurdistan. Each typology of nationalism understands the term
nation differently. In this essay, I will discuss how such typologies understand
the term. I will examine how the nation in understood under liberal
nationalism, conservative nationalism, colonial, or expansionist, nationalism, chauvinistic
nationalism, and finally anti-imperialism. This will be done by outlining what
each ideology entails before discussing the role of the nation and how the
nation is viewed within the ideology.


The first nationalist ideology I will be discussing is
liberal nationalism. This is originated out of the thinking behind the French revolution,
in liberté, egalité, fraternité, and
is seen to embody many values of liberalism, especially self-determination
(Heywood, 2013). Liberal nationalism’s main goal is for the world to be made up
of independent, peaceful nation states. It is strongly linked to Wilsonianism
(Vincent, 2010) who’s 14 points embodied the main goals of liberal nationalism,
they emphasised the ‘absolute sovereignty of the national state, but sought to
limit the implications of this principle by stressing individual liberties –
political, economic, and religious – within each national state’ (Hayes, 1949,
cited in Vincent 2010: p.235). this is seen as liberal nationalism because it
states that the state is the sovereign however aspects of liberalist thinking
are still present in the emphasis of individual liberties and freedoms. Another
champion of liberal nationalist thinking was Guiseppe Manzini, he too believed
in a system of 11 independent states in Europe (Vincent, 2010). A modern example
of a group of people viewing themselves as a nation under liberal nationalist
thinking is in Catalonia. This is because the former Catalonian leader, Carles
Puigemont wanted to pursue an ideal where Catalonia was a self-determined
nation-state that is independent from Spain, in his words the independence
referendum had meant Catalonia had “won the right
to an independent state in the form of a republic” (BBC News, 2017). The common theme, therefore, in each
of these examples of liberal nationalism is that the term ‘nation’ is to be
understood as an independent, self-determined and sovereign state. It also
views all states as equals (Heywood, 2013) with no room for regional hegemons,
therefore any expansionist or imperialist thought is seen as a bad thing and
should not be pursued by any nation. It also understands nations to be
naturally occurring entities, as with any nationalist ideology. It primarily
sees nations as nation-states and primarily sees the boundaries of a
nationality to coincide with state boundaries (Heywood, 2013).

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The second nationalist ideology I wish to discuss is
conservative nationalism. This was born as a response to the liberal
nationalist French revolution, as an opposition to the new, revolutionary
thinking of the time, instead favouring the conservation of traditional
national institutions (Vincent, 2010). It focuses more on social cohesion,
public order and national patriotism than more conventional nationalist
principles of self-determination of the nation. (Heywood, 2013). It also
asserts that nations are organic entities that emerge naturally from people’s
desire to live with similar, like-minded others. Such thinking can be seen in
Disraeli’s ‘One Nation Conservatism’ (Vincent, 2010). Conservative nationalists
have reservations about things that they see as threats to their traditional
social order. One of these things is immigration where a conservative
nationalist would see immigrants as a threat to social order and to the nation
as a whole. This is exemplified in Enoch Powell’s 1968 ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech
where he suggested that immigration could lead to high tensions between the
native population and immigrants (Telegraph, 2007). Another is supranational organisations,
such as the EU. The 2016 UK Brexit vote was partly influenced by the fear of
Schulz’s ‘United States of Europe’ (Huggler and Crisp, 2017) as well as
widespread Euroscepticism going back to the Thatcher government who felt such
organisations were a threat to National sovereignty. It therefore can emerge as
a popular ideology by a perceived belief that the nation is under threat, and
is adopted by far right political parties such as the UK Independence Party or
le Front National, in France. Therefore, overall conservative nationalists understand
the term ‘nation’ to mean a naturally occurring entity formed by an innate
desire of people of the same views, lifestyles and appearances to live together
in groups who seek to protect and uphold traditional national values. Therefore,
this means the nation doesn’t necessarily have to be the same as the
nation-state, though it often develops in established nation states such as the
UK or France as they have a greater sense of tradition and need to protect such
things than new nations or regions that have less history and tradition with
which to gain such conservative ideas (Heywood, 2013).


The third
form of nationalism I am considering is expansionist nationalism, or colonialism.

This is often viewed as the antipode the liberal nationalist belief. This is
because unlike liberal nationalism that views all nations as equals with
self-determination, colonialism asserts that not all nations are the same and
some nations are more superior to others. This type of nationalism came about
in the 19th century, a time when the powers of Europe were expanding
their empires in the so called ‘race for Africa’ (Heywood, 2013).  It also can be seen in Russia in the late 19th
and early 20th centuries with ‘Pan-Slavism’. This is an example of
expansionist nationalism as the Russians believed they were the natural leaders
of the Slavs and that the Slavs were a superior people than the of the rest of Europe
so they sought to unite the Slavic states into one large “super-state” (Smith,
1969). In colonialism, there is seen to be a need that the superior nations
have an obligation to civilise the nations which they view as inferior to
themselves. Therefore, in expansionist nationalism, the term nation is
understood in a more cultural sense because it sees some nations to have
superior culture that needs to be imposed on other inferior nations. In the
case of Pan Slavism, the nation should be a super state of all Slavic nations
at the time as the nation should be made up of all people of the same race,
religion and cultural heritage. Overall there is a concept in this form of
nationalism that there is a natural hierarchy of nations, with some nations have
a natural role to rule over others, and other nations are meant to be ruled,
and that is how the nation is understood in colonialism.


similar form of nationalism to the one I have just examined is Chauvinistic
Nationalism. this is a fascist, extreme, ‘ultra-nationalist’ form of
nationalism and can be viewed as an extreme form of expansionist nationalism.

In this type of nationalism individuals in a nation hold an irrational belief
that they are the superior group of people, often based on their race and
religion (Heywood, 2013). The most prevalent example of such an ideology can be
seen in Europe in the 20th Century, in particular in Nazi Germany
and Mussolini’s Italy (Vincent, 2010). Chauvinistic Nationalism places an
emphasis on the differences between ‘us’ and ‘them’, with the ‘them’ being
viewed as a threat to ‘us’. In the case of Nazi Germany, Hitler’s Mein Kampf portrayed the world as having
a rivalry between the superior Aryans and the Jews (Heywood, 2013). This lead
to a great deal of ant-Semitism in Germany, as they believed that all nations
should be free of all non-Aryan peoples, this belief ultimately lead to the
holocaust. Another example of this can be seen in the aftermath of the break-up
of Yugoslavia after the Cold War where Bosnian Serbs sought to exterminate the Muslims
as they believed them to be a threat to their idea of a unified Serb nation
state, a so called “Greater Serbia” (Heywood, 2013). Overall, chauvinistic
nationalism, like colonialism believes in a system of superior nations in the
world. However, chauvinistic nationalism sees inferior nations as a threat and
would seek to eradicate them, as was the case with the holocaust and the Bosnian
war, rather than seeking to change them, or bring civilisation like in
colonialism. Heywood would also say that people who believe in chauvinistic
nationalism draw on past greatness and would seek to re-establish their nation’s
previous greatness. Such was the case with Mussolini’s Italy, and Hitler’s
Germany. Therefore, chauvinistic nationalism understands the term ‘nation’ to
mean two things: a hierarchical system where superior nations need to eradicate
expand into inferior nations, and that their nation is the greatest nation and
needs restoring to such greatness.


final type of nationalism I am going to address in anticolonial and
postcolonial nationalism. This ideology came about after the Second World War
process of decolonisation (Axford et al, 2011). As an ideology, anticolonial
nationalism has led to the end of the colonial empires of Britain, France,
Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands. For example, Gandhi helped India gain
independence from Britain in 1947, China gained independence from Japan in 1949
and Indonesia became its own independent nation state in 1949 after a war with
the Dutch. (Heywood, 2013). It is based on the ideas of classical liberal
nationalism from Europe as it was born out of a desire for colonial nations to
gain self-determination through national liberation and self-governance. It was
also due to an apathy for their colonial rulers and a desire to end their
exploitation by colonial powers. This means that anticolonial nationalism may
also have some inspiration from Marxism (Heywood, 2013). Postcolonial
nationalism came after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 with newfound
economic and social freedom as well as self-determination for the new Asian and
European nation-states. In anticolonial nationalism, the term nation comes
about through shared cultural heritage and likeminded apathy for colonial
powers and a desire for freedom and for their nation to be independent. However,
the Marxist factors that are also behind anticolonial nationalism could also
mean that the term nation is less important as “working men have no country”
(Marx, 1848, cited in Heywood, 2013: p.122). The term nation in postcolonial
nationalism is understood to be from the solidarity and national pride as a
result of their newly gained self-determination.


conclude, there is a common theme in every typology of nationalism, in regard
to how the term ‘nation’ is to be understood. This common theme in that the
nation is an organically formed, self-determined entity which is made up of
people who share common interests, and common goals. The difference in each
typology of nationalism lies in what those common interests and goals may be. For
example, they could be a need to eliminate a threatening nation based on their
culture, religion or race, as in Chauvinistic nationalism, or a common desire
to uphold tradition and culture of their nation in Conservative Nationalism.