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National identity

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  1. Introduction
  2. Establishment of a nation-state and the states legitimacy to rule over a population.
  3. Understanding the significance of a nation-state.
  4. National identity and nationalism.
  5. A nation with a recognized set of commonalities.
  6. The notion of common mythology and historical memories.
  7. National identity in regards to western and non-western societies.
  8. Conclusion.

What separates human being from other animals within our world is our innate ability to recognize and define our own existences. This ability in which we posses can not only create cohesion amongst groups and societies but it can also lead to dissonance and division. Our identities, whether personal or communal, are essential in legitimizing our actions, thoughts and beliefs. Amid contemporary western societies the focal emphasis on individual identities are particularly stressed and from this our communal identities have slowly been deteriorated. However, it is this collective identity which enables us to live harmoniously within the modern world. With such an important entity at stake it is crucial to recognize what it is that creates such solidarity amongst individuals and thus creating stable communities.

[...] National identity takes form from nationalism when it is embodied not only in the state but also within the individuals existing within that nation. Personal identities are definitive concepts of the self, which legitimise ones existence. It is important to note, however, that identities are not static as they develop and change over time with experience, knowledge and maturation (Parekh, 2000). For example, the identities assumed by blacks within the United States have proved to transform immensely. Initially the term ?black' was viewed as quite derogatory, but with collective social actions during the 1960s such as the Black Power and Black is Beautiful movements, such a term was vastly redefined and what it meant to be black was radically changed, and thus the identities assumed by blacks as well underwent a drastic transformation (Lewis and Phoenix, 2004). [...]


[...] Clearly from this, one can establish that for Asians within the United Kingdom, religion proves to hold utmost significance in the forming of national identity in comparison to white in Britain. It is essentially the widespread belief in religion as well as the vast influence it possesses within their culture which creates cohesion amongst Asians. Moving away from religion and folklore, one must address the underlying notion that without a common language, none of this cohesion can be established. Oommen (1997) stresses the importance of language in creating essential solidarity amongst individuals sharing a given territory. [...]


[...] However, nationalism is the circumstances in which those under the nation-state actually recognize and identify with one another as a common nation. This collective consciousness creates what is commonly known as patriotism, one's love and/or devotion to their country. Yet, prior to globalization and increases in immigration, this concept of nationalism was not difficult to locate. Homogeny amidst nation-states was ubiquitous. Particularly in Britain the issues and debates surrounding national identities were not even sincerely discussed until about the mid 1960s (Parekh, 2000). [...]

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