From the encyclopedia "Global Studies"
NATION (Ph.D. T. Camusella, Poland)

NATION (from lat. Natio - people) - the most common unit of organization of society. Ideally, it should correspond to the national state, which at the turn of the XX and XXI centuries. is the main unit of political organization at the global level. There is an opinion that a nation provides the state with the necessary legitimacy and that only national states can function as full-fledged subjects of international relations within the global system of states. Non-national states are considered inferior. They must turn into national ones or disappear.

In order to be fully recognized, a nation must have its own national state. In other cases, it is a stateless nation. But the community of nations that have their own states is not very willing to recognize stateless nations, since satisfying the political aspirations of the latter can pose a danger to the political being of the former. In order to achieve its own nation-state in a world that is already completely divided between existing states, a stateless nation would need to seize part of the territory belonging to one or many established nation-states. Therefore, if the political aspirations of a stateless nation are not suppressed, the most that it can achieve is the right to cultural and / or administrative autonomy within an existing national state that does not belong to it. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the multinational federation of Yugoslavia, the acquisition of their own completely independent states became practically impossible for aspiring stateless nations. This was possible only in the case of Eritrea after a long and bloody war with Ethiopia (1993), as well as Czechs and Slovaks (1993), since mono-ethnic Czechoslovakia, populated by the alleged Czechoslovakians, did not become a reality.

According to the doctrine of nationalism, a nation is understood as a cohesive and homogeneous group of the highest taxonomic order that is possible in relation to humanity. There are no higher forms of organization of society. Some authors argue that such cultural and political communities as “civilizations” exist, but they do not correspond to any cohesive social or political units. The one exception is China. Being the nation state of the Chinese, it is often regarded as a civilization. This example, however, is incorrect for two reasons. First, China is a legitimate political community, only because it is a state. The fact that he is a civilization is not decisive in this context. Secondly, the Chinese are not regarded as a "civilizational ecumenical", but as a nation.

It is sometimes claimed (e.g., S. Huntington) that the alleged cultural and political communities of Islamic or Western civilization coincide with the communities of Orthodox Christians (Respublica Christiana) and Muslims (ummah). However, following Huntington’s pattern, Western Christians also inhabit the “civilizations” of Latin America, the Orthodox world, and most of sub-Saharan Africa. Similarly, besides the Islamic world, Muslims live in sub-Saharan Africa and in the Hindu civilization of India. Moreover, their large communities are also growing rapidly in the West. Moreover, none of the two indicated communities of believers is homogeneous; they are separated by serious discrepancies in dogma and doctrine. In the political sense, these differences become the basis for the creation and ideological strengthening of various nations and national states.

Thus, while the nation remains the highest taxonomic unit of the social organization Homo sapiens. In parallel, the nation-state functions as the highest taxonomic unit of a political organization, which includes a homogeneous population (i.e., nation). The emergence of supranational structures has not yet changed this situation. A qualitative change can occur if the European Union (EU) guarantees uniform citizenship and the same rights to all citizens of national member states: a supranational public unit may arise that corresponds to the supranational character of the EU. If nationalism remains the strongest legitimizing ideology, the future single community of EU citizens can turn into a civil nation with multi-ethnic roots dating back to member states.

 A number of scholars believe that a nation is a fictitious community. Some argue that it is the sociopolitical “materiality” of state institutions that unites and gives shape to previously divided groups of people. Then the correct term for designating such groups formed by the state would be “state nation”, and the concept of “national state” would become a contradiction in terms giving the nation an ontological priority, while, according to this point of view, it is secondary and subordinate to the state. Others believe that only those groups that are biologically related (i.e., have common ancestors) or small communities whose members interact intensively with each other in everyday life are real outside state borders. Some breakthrough beyond this dilemma is the thesis of Benedict Anderson (Benedict Anderson), that the nation is an "imaginary community." To become a reality, it must be built either by the state or by a national movement on an ethnic basis. This process boils down to convincing potential members of the alleged nation that they truly constitute one. If this attempt at social engineering succeeds, an imaginary nation becomes a reality. In other words, as an imaginary community, a nation, however, becomes real if imagined correctly.
Within the framework of a broader concept of national construction, nation homogeneity can be achieved either through citizenship or through ethnicity. In the first case, it is the state that turns its population into a nation, granting citizenship to its inhabitants. Citizenship also functions as a sign of belonging to a civil nation, thus equating nationality. In the case of ethnic nationalism, nationality is associated with a specific ethnicity, determined through culture, language, religion, history, lifestyle, traditions, mythology, etc. Ethnically determined nationality is an essential condition for acquiring citizenship in the national state of an ethnic nation. In a civilian nation-building approach based on common citizenship described by John Breuilly, the state uses administration, the army, and the educational system to instill in the population a universal sense of nationality. Thus, people (i.e. citizens) begin to identify themselves with the history, symbolism, territory and language of the state. Gradually, a civil nation emerges and the state turns into a national one. In the absence of the state, the ethnic way of national construction dominates. Within its framework, according to Miroslav Hroch, a small group of scientists and ethnic activists initially decide on the elements (language, customs, religion, history, symbolism) that need to be turned into the ethnic paradigm of the alleged ethnic nation. Then the initiative group evolves into a politically engaged national movement that seeks to convince potential members of the ethnic nation to accept and / or assimilate this paradigm as their own. If the movement achieves this goal, an ethnic nation appears. National leaders can use it as a source of legitimacy to conquer a separate nation state for their nation. If this desire for national statehood is realized, the newly emerged national state, in order to deepen the national sense of community, assumes the role of a national movement.
Usually, existing nation-states profess nationalism, which is a mixture of ethnic and civil in various proportions. However, broadly speaking, ethnic nation-states predominate in Eurasia, while civil ones dominate the rest of the world. Comparing the ethnic and civic methods of national construction, we can say that in the absence of their own national state, a stateless nation has no choice but to justify its claims to national identity by ethnicity. On the contrary, there are no civilian stateless nations, with the exception of wartime, when their nation-states are under foreign occupation. The occupation, however, rarely ends with international recognition of the destruction of the state, not to mention the nation associated with it.
The largest nations are India and China, which together make up more than one third of humanity (2.3 billion). At the other extreme are the island nations of Nauru and Tuvalu. Each has about 10 thousand people, and the size of their national states, respectively, 21 and 26 square meters. km Russia and Canada are the largest nation states in the world, their territories are respectively 17 million square meters. km and 10 million square meters. km In terms of time, the multiracial nation of Mauritius cannot claim any past until 1721, since before that the island was uninhabited. The year is also known when Tuvalu ceases to be a nation state. Since their islands are at risk of flooding due to global warming, the nation decided to leave their homeland and move to New Zealand in 2002. Last but not least, the largest stateless nations include Catalans and Kurds, the number of which is 6 million and 16 million, respectively. The territory of the autonomous province of Catalonia (32 thousand sq. Km) and the Kurdish settlement area (409 thousand sq. Km, which are attributed to the alleged Kurdistan) exceed many European national states. In addition, there are also political units that seek to become national states in search of national identity and be allowed to participate fully in international relations. Among others, they include Gibraltar (30 thousand inhabitants, 5.8 sq. Km area) and Monaco (30 thousand inhabitants, 1, 8 sq. Km area). Both chose nationalism as a means of avoiding assimilation with the Spanish and French nations. The loss of sovereignty would deprive these baby states and their populations of myriad economic and political benefits.
What makes a nation like that? First of all, it is concrete nationalism, which the elite of the state or national movement uses to create the alleged nation and legitimize its existence. Secondly, using the famous Anderson formula, each nation is an imaginary community. To make it a reality, its potential members must wish to found such a nation and believe in its existence so as to maintain its sociopolitical reality. The process of realizing imaginary nations is easily forgotten when a nation is already created and protected by the shell of its national state. When national warfare or propaganda is no longer needed to create and shape a nation, nationalism is taken for granted. According to the dogmas of this ideology, everyone acts without mentioning the "national." This is the time of “banal nationalism” characteristic of nations with a long history of national statehood. The conjugation of a nation and a nation state seems to people belonging to this nation so obvious and natural that they anachronistically project the reality of their nation onto the even more distant past of the territory that historians have proclaimed belonging to this nation since time immemorial. And not only on the past, but also on the population that lived on this earth hundreds and even thousands of years ago. Note that radical Macedonian nationalists identify the origin of their Slavic nation with Alexander the Great, although it is known that the Slavs began to settle in the Balkans from the sixth century. The ancient conqueror of the fourth century BC reigned over ethnically completely different Macedonians who spoke a language akin to Greek.
Main characteristic imaginatively
This community is that a person cannot establish personal contact with all its members. Instead of everyday personal contacts, so important for the cohesion and existence of groups of people, the production and reproduction of an imaginary community of a homogeneous nation is carried out through state institutions, elites, history, beliefs, language, tradition, myths about common origin, religion, etc. In addition to this, the national message collected from these elements is broadcast to members of the nation in enhanced form through the multiplying media (press, cheap books, movies, radio, television, audio and video tapes, satellite and cable television, CDs and the Internet )
“Imagination” is a broad concept, since even small rural communities and family groups are somewhat imaginary. They share some of the values and cultural patterns of behavior necessary for their functioning as such communities or groups. The degree of imagination increases as a cohesive group accepts new members. Due to time constraints and the ability of the brain to perceive, a person can make personal contacts with approximately 150-200 people. Therefore, we can say that for the unity of the nation, it must number at least a thousand people. The upper limit of the nation, however, cannot be set. Some believe that the demographic size of a nation is limited by the environmental capabilities of the state or settlement area, as well as by the effectiveness of national institutions responsible for establishing and maintaining national unity. Since nations and nation-states have not existed for a relatively short time, there is no empirical basis for telling where the threshold is. Given the existence of the Chinese and Indians, it can be seen that existing nation-states have at their disposal the tools to maintain a united nation with two billion members. On the other hand, it seems that non-state institutions and methods of maintaining social unity do not allow stateless nations to go beyond 10-30 million people.
In the past, the concept of a nation played a very positive role, since it guaranteed the full participation in the political life of the entire population of a civil national state. Groups that were marginalized in pre-national multi-ethnic states due to their specific ethnicity also used nationalism to increase their reduced status, winning various legal concessions or even autonomy and their own statehood. Today, the political concept of a nation allows for more opportunities for so-called “indigenous peoples” (that is, Indians of both Americas, Australian natives or Yakuts of Siberia) and isolated groups of immigrants. Nationalism allows the first to recreate themselves as a nation and become equal to the nations in whose national states these indigenous peoples live. Similarly, ethnically distinct groups of immigrants can use nationalism to guarantee themselves the status of a national minority, or at least groups whose national culture the host state must support and protect.
Finally, the new transportation and communication technologies seem to deterritorialize nationalism. A nation is gradually separated from its national state or region of traditional residence. Firstly, immigration, even to another continent, does not mean breaking the ties of a person with his nation or national state. Such immigrants seek to retain the citizenship of their original national state, even if they acquire the citizenship of the host country. Children of immigrants can maintain intensive contacts with their nation by calling regularly, sending regular and e-mails, as well as visiting relatives at home. Secondly, the Pacific island of Nauru is gradually disappearing due to intensive phosphate mining. Residents of Nauru travel around the world, but remain citizens of Nauru and participate in the sharing of state-owned mines. Similar legal and economic measures can be applied to preserve the national unity of the inhabitants of Tuvalu, who in 2002 will leave their atolls swallowed by the ocean, and the Maldives, who will face the same fate. In the future, this trend of territorialization may provide nations with more political legitimacy at the expense of the national component of nation states, increasingly reducing their status to mere states. Then ethnicity will prevail over citizenship. A globalized world can become a place where groups or even individuals of different national legal and economic statuses will live side by side in different states. Choosing a place of work of residence, they will constantly move from one state to another, considering them simply as temporary stops. See also Nationalism.


Lit .: Benedict Anderson. Long-Distance Nationalism // Benedict Anderson. The Specter of Comparisons: Nationalism, Southeast Asia and the World. L., 1998; Michael Billig Banal nationalism. L., 1995; R. I. M. Dunbar. Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language. Cambridge, MA 1996; Jerry Everard. Virtual States: The Internet and the Boundaries of the Nation-State. L., 2000; Eric J. Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger (eds.). The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge 1983; Aira Kemilainen. Nationalism: Problems Concerning the Word, the Concept and Classification. Jyvaskyla, 1983; Publishers Bernard Lewis. The Multiple Identities of the Middle East. N.Y. 1998 .; Oliver Mendelsohn and Upendra Baxi (eds.). The Rights of Subordinated Peoples. Delhi, 1994.