Nationalism and globalisation

Nationalism is based on the idea that inhabitants in a state or region, all have a similar national identification within a national territory or culture. In Japan a sense of segregation is displayed as the territory and cultural aspects within the nation only occur amongst the ruling classes. Thus, the inhabitants living in urban areas perceive themselves as not being one with the nation. (Geography and national identity, pg104) Japan’s modernization is evident, aswell as its isolation which is illustrated through the nationalism of the country. For example, Japanese inhabitants in the 1980’s and 1990’s had never come into contact with other foreign people. As a result of this, the Japanese were determined to open themselves up to the rest of the world and share their unique culture.
Nationalism focuses on a combination of feelings, referring to both geographical and demographic areas. The aim is for particular groups to seek independence for its culture and ethnicity, whilst promoting strong community ties in the process. The drive to achieve national advancement or political goals, confidently illustrates how dependent a nation is. Furthermore, this expresses the commitment towards one’s own country and allows an individual to feel proud and part of that particular nation. (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationalism & http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/nationalism ) Anthony Smith states that, “nationalism provides the most compelling identity myth in the modern world” (pg 378) This suggests that nationalism has been around for a long time and is still a powerful, yet complex understanding; thus, this is vital for geographers as it can be analysed in great detail. Even though there has been an increase in global culture, such as class, gender and ethnicity, national identities are still growing today. From a geographical point of view, it makes sense to view nationalism at a local scales. For example, the Welsh national anthem, whereby the nation come together to support the team.

Geography states that nationalism is a territorial concept that is based on the relationship between inhabitants and land; also knows as cultural diversity. The eight factors of national territory were discovered by William and Smith in 1983. These include: habitat, folk, culture, scales, location, boundaries, self-sufficiency, the idea of homeland and the end product, nation-building. These can be split up into both external and internal factors.(pg381) The external aspect represents the individuality of a nation whereas internally, territory and landscape can represent national identity. (pg380)Anderson(1988:24) stated that “the nations unique history is embodied In the nations territory- its homeland, land of ancestors, older than any state, the same land which we saw its greatest moments.” This quote from Anderson reinforces the importance of the history of the nation and how overtime people start to become interconnected/intertwined with place.

Geographically speaking, national identity is linked to the diverse range of landscapes and physical features. Inhabitants living in rural areas believe strongly in protecting their community and culture, for example their music and costumes. Urban to rural migration occurred with the aim of restoring national identity. Moreover, paintings of agricultural areas of England exemplify ‘Englishness’ and are of particular importance when social tension arises, for example the World Wars. Again, these paintings are used to maintain national identity. Geography has been a leading figure in the process of nation building all over the world. (Introducing human geography’s, 2nd edition)

Globalization has resulted in a number of positive and negative impacts. Globalization is the increase in international integration of trade and cultures in a country from around the world. China is a key example. The main positive is the remarkable increase in trade with Africa; there are now 800 Chinese companies doing business in Africa and China’s trade with Africa has increased by 700% in the 1990’s. This has helped Africa overcome poverty and thus has improved their socio-economic way of life. However, not only does it affect the host country, but also the countries at the receiving end. China stepping in with trade agreements in return for natural resources has isolated the west and made it difficult for Europe and the USA to make best use of the world’s resources. Thus, this goes against the idea of nationalism and again reinforces the idea that nationalism, should be focused at on a local scale.
In China, there are social issues which has led to increasing inequalities between rural and urban inhabitants due the immense growth focus and direction of resources in urban areas. (Own knowledge) Similarly, this segregation was presented in Britain. An economic core and underdeveloped periphery, with the majority living in the ‘Celtic fingers’ of Wales and Scotland. Tom Nairn (1977) supports this view as he believes that the “nationalist culture in Wales and Scotland was a response to uneven development.” This uneven development is still occurring in many countries throughout the world, going against the idea of a ‘nation-state’. (Introducing human geography’s, 2nd edition)

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