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“You are Defined by Those that Oppose You.”

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  1. Since its annexation by Britain in 1801 Ireland has been fighting for independence from that same nation.
  2. During the Irish fight for Independence religion was used as a clear marker of difference.
  3. Another very similar case of identity-forming as a result of a nationalist movement can be seen in Bosnia.
  4. Just as in Ireland, language and culture were also being used as a means of disintegration.
  5. It is evident from these two cases that markers of identity such as language, culture, religion and others are manipulated by individuals or groups.

It is arguable that today it is commonly, if subconsciously, accepted that nationality is the most important aspect of one's identity. Whether it is a national sports team, a national representative at Eurosong, a national author?etc. one's nationality has become the most basic marker of identity. It would be logical then to assume on this basis that having a nation expressed in territorial terms would of the highest priority, and some might even say that this feeling of nationalism and self-determination is an inherent right of all peoples. What is unclear, however, is how these nations come to define themselves, and why they feel they must define themselves in a specific way. For many nations today these questions are taken for granted because they haven't had to defend them (in their lifetime of course, almost all nations at one point or another have had to ?assert? themselves). Today we have certain common markers of identity that distinguish us from other nations and make us unique. These criteria are most commonly seen to be language, religion, a shared history, a common goal, and a common culture (including literature, music, food, mythology, sport, symbols?etc.).

[...] It is evident from these two cases that markers of identity such as language, culture, religion and others are manipulated by individuals or groups because of selfish ambitions and interests through nationalist movements and can cause a formation of a whole new national identity. With the European Union making bigger and bigger steps toward integration it is likely that one day we will see a ?United States of Europe? that will be achieved through the work of governments in creating a new artificial European identity that will nonetheless become as real [...]


[...] This has also been taken even further to describe the Catholic Irish as a different race, completely separate of the English which served to distinguish one from the other even further making one group inferior the Irish in their duties as servants, much like the slaves in the United States justify dominance of one over the other? (lecture 5.2 However it is quite clear today that the Irish and the English are not separate races, which makes religion most cogent marker of difference [ ] and now the only one left? (lecture 5.3 During the Irish fight for Independence religion was used as a clear marker of difference between the two groups because Catholic became interchangeable for Irish and Protestant for English. [...]


[...] As Tito seemed the only man who could hold this constructed nation together, it is only natural that during his last years it was inevitable (not so much to the general public, but to the Communist Party) that the republic would split apart. Upon this realization, those in power started to fend for themselves, each knowing he would have to, in order to gain control, make a strong case for independence from Yugoslavia, or as it was thought of toward the end, Serbia (since the capital was in Belgrade and the majority of those in power were Serbian). [...]

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