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Writing Syrian History While Propagating Arab Nationalism

Textbooks about Modern Arab History under Hafiz and Bashar al-Asad

Monika Bolliger

This article argues that Syrian history textbooks promote the formation of Syrian national identity, although their explicit objective is to propagate Arab nationalism. Their authors' attempt to construct the history of an imagined Arab nation encompassing the whole of the Arab world in fact tells the story of different nation-states. Syrian students are therefore confronted with rival geographical spheres of national imagination. Changes in the new textbooks under Bashar al-Asad reveal increased Syrian patriotism, a will to comply with globalization, and attempts to maintain Arab nationalism.

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Richard Wright and the 1955 Bandung Conference

A Re-Evaluation of The Color Curtain

Babacar M'Baye

The Color Curtain reflects Richard Wright's problematical assessment of the 1955 Bandung Conference and his difficult attempts to reconcile his sincere denunciation of the consequences of colonialism and racism on people of Asian and African descent with his condescending representation of Third World nationalism during the middle of the twentieth century. The book reveals striking paradoxes in Wright's evaluation of a nationalism that he occasionally vilifies as an ideology that was grounded on impassioned and essentialist cultural or religious affiliations and feelings. Yet Wright's demeaning, elitist, and patronizing attitudes about Third World nationalism and cultures did not prevent him from identifying with the core spirit of the Bandung Conference. In his assessment of the summit, Wright occasionally reveals his admiration for a Third World nationalism that echoed his disparagement of Western racism and imperialism.

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Uriel Abulof

Israeli Arabs' "future vision" documents are an ethical-political manifesto, contextualized in academic discourse and informed by socio-historical parallels. Hence, this article examines their political ethics in a comparative perspective, by referencing the case of Israeli Arabs along with two other distinct intra-state conflicts: the strife between Anglophones and Francophones in Canada and the struggle between Macedonians and Albanians in Macedonia. These cases illuminate two main ethical-political alternatives to the present pattern of relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel. Although the Canadian case indicates a renunciation of ethno-nationalism in favor of civic and linguistic patriotism, the Macedonian case presents an attempt to reconcile ethno-national affiliation with democratic principles. Projecting the ethical discussion of the Canadian and Macedonian cases onto Israel, I contend that normative acceptance of the mutual and dual right of self-determination, regarding both the individual's collective identity and the collective's polity, is a precondition for reconciliation between Jews and Arabs.

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Jennifer Ruth Hosek

The West Berlin anti-authoritarians around Rudi Dutschke employed a notion of subaltern nationalism inspired by independence struggles in the global South and particularly by post 1959 Cuba to legitimate their loosely understood plans to recreate West Berlin as a revolutionary island. Responding to Che Guevara's call for many Vietnams, they imagined this Northern metropolis as a Focus spreading socialism of the third way throughout Europe, a conception that united their local and global aims. In focusing on their interpretation of societal changes and structures in Cuba, the anti-authoritarians deemphasized these plans' potential for violence. As a study of West German leftists in transnational context, this article suggests the limitations of confining analyses of their projects within national or Northern paradigms. As a study of the influence of the global South on the North in a non-(post)colonial situation, it suggests that such influence is greater than has heretofore been understood.

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Annette Freyberg-Inan

Gregg O. Kvistad, The Rise and Demise of German Statism: Loyalty and Political Membership (Providence and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 1999)

Hartmut Lehmann and Hermann Wellenreuther (eds.), German and American Nationalism: A Comparative Perspective (Oxford and New York: Berg, 1999)

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David N. Coury

Since its founding in 2014, Pegida has positioned itself as a populist movement striving to limit immigration and to preserve Germany’s cultural heritage. It has also aligned itself with other right-wing European political groups whose exclusionary views are rooted in theories of a civilizational clash between the West and the Islamic world. Pegida’s pushback against immigration also includes appeals to resist globalization and the growth of multiculturalism by embracing what Verena Stolcke has termed “cultural fundamentalism.” This ideology assumes cultural hierarchies and segregates religious and ethnic groups spatially and geographical as a means to maintain cultural uniformity. In doing so, Pegida posits that it is not racist or xenophobic, rather that it seeks solidarity in maintaining Western cultural values. The danger in Pegida’s ideology is that it rejects not only constitutional principles and notions of cultural pluralism, but that it furthers a cultural divide that need not exist and, in fact, embraces an exclusionary nationalism that is not unlike the values that they purport to reject.

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Bernhard Forchtner and Christoffer Kølvraa

This article inquires into how contemporary populist radical right parties relate to environmental issues of countryside and climate protection, by analyzing relevant discourses of the British National Party (BNP) and the Danish People's Party (DPP). It does so by looking at party materials along three dimensions: the aesthetic, the symbolic, and the material. The article discusses to what extent the parties' political stances on environmental issues are conditioned by deeper structures of nationalist ideology and the understandings of nature embedded therein. It illustrates a fundamental difference between the way nationalist actors engage in, on the one hand, the protection of nature as national countryside and landscape, epitomizing the nation's beauty, harmony and purity over which the people are sovereign. On the other hand, they deny or cast doubt on environmental risks located at a transnational level, such as those that relate to climate. The article argues that this apparent inconsistency is rooted in the ideological tenets of nationalism as the transnational undermines the nationalist ideal of sovereignty.

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Britain and "the Motorway Club

The Effect of European and North American Motorway Construction on Attitudes in Britain, 1930-1960

GERMANY, GREAT BRITAIN, MOTORWAYS, NATIONALISM and TRANSPORT

This article examines British attitudes to motorway construction during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, stressing the importance of international events to Britain's motorway building policy. It shows that while national social, political and economic imperatives, movements, and contexts were clearly of primary importance in debates about motorway construction in Britain, these often emerged amidst discussions about road-building developments abroad, particularly in mainland Europe and North America. The article focuses on British reactions to the construction of the German National Socialist Party's Autobahnen in the 1930s, examining how the Autobahnen became embroiled in a spectacular propagandist performance of the modern German nation. Finally, the paper examines the attention paid to European and U.S. motorways in postwar Britain, as engineers, landscape architects, designers, and civil servants undertook research to help inform their plans and designs for British motorways.

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Hans Kundnani

In this paper I examine the use of the concept of "normality" in debates about German foreign policy since unification. In the early 1990s, left-wing intellectuals such as Jürgen Habermas tended to criticize the idea of "normality" in favor of a form of German exceptionalism based on responsibility for the Nazi past. A foreign policy based on the idea of "normality" was associated above all with the greater use of military force, which the right advocated and the left opposed. Thus, "normality" became a synonym for Bündnisfähigkeit. Yet, from the mid 1990s onwards, some Social Democrats such as Egon Bahr began to use the concept of "normality" to refer instead to a foreign policy based on sovereignty and the pursuit of national interests. Although a consensus has now emerged in Germany around this realist definition of foreign-policy "normality," it is inadequate to capture the complex shift in the foreign policy of the Federal Republic since unification.

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Satoshi Abe

In addressing mounting environmental problems in recent years, many Iranian environmentalists have increasingly adapted discourses and implemented programs that are modeled on scientific ecology. Does this mean the verbatim transfer of Western scientific modernity in Iran? My analyses suggest otherwise. This article explores the unique ways in which a burgeoning environmental awareness unfolds in Iranian contexts by investigating how conceptions of "nature" shape the environmentalists' discourses and practices. It appears that an ecological scientific conception of nature is becoming an important frame of reference among such environmentalists. However, another conception of nature-one framed in relation to Iranian nationhood-makes a key contribution to environmentalism in Iran. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in 2009-2011 in Tehran, this study demonstrates how "Iranian nature" is delineated and practiced through the environmentalists' (re)engagements with certain objects-maps, posters, and photographs-in relation to which local ways of conceptualizing nature are elaborated.