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Analyzing and interpreting the following source, what is the ideological perspective...

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sarah234 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 5, 2010 at 4:28 PM via web

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Analyzing and interpreting the following source, what is the ideological perspective reflected in the source?

  " Nationalism, reflecting the urge of self- determination, concerns the aspirations of a people, who believe themselves to be united, to rule themselves and not be controlled by others. The kindred ideas of nationalism both act as forces for convergence or divergence."

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ecofan74 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted July 1, 2010 at 3:49 AM (Answer #1)

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The statement above makes a very straightforward claim:  a nationalistic perspective derives from a desire to be free and to practice self-government..  Upon deeper examination, however, there is much more for the reader to find.  Specifically, the statement indicates that nationalism refers to the aspirations of those who believe themselves to be free.  The power of belief is an element of the quote that should not be overlooked.  Believing oneself to be unified with those of similar origins and actually presenting a unified front, are two different things.  It is with this consideration that the warning at the end of the statement takes on a deeper meaning.

When the author indicates that the "kindred ideas of nationalism both act as forces for convergence or divergence," he draws upon the tendency of the push for nationalism to unify a nation or to divide it.  The push for nationalism is not a partial measure, so any attempt to achieve a sense of national identity tends to take on the appearance of an absolute.  That being said, national identity on an individual level does not necessarily project a ense of unity on the national level.  It can also serve to divide the nation, when more than one national or ethnic group comprise its population.  The rise of Nazi Germany in the 1930s illustrates this.  By projecting a sense of nationalism that embraced the blond-haired and blue-eyed Aryan race and the superiority of the German race, those such as the Jews in Germany, who were not perceived as part of this worldview, were left out.  Further, they were actually targeted by the nationalism that the Nazi government sought to achieve. 

The author of this statement writes not from a pro-nationalist perspective, but from a perspective that sees nationalism as both a blessing and a curse.  In some ways, one could say his perspective tends more to the cosmopolitan than to the nationalistic.

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