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Perverse Identities

Identities in Conflict

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Edited By Flocel Sabate

The urgent need for the study of exclusive identities in conflict is ever more apparent in a globalizing world in which societies are becoming multicultural and complex and in which inter-cultural contact and the co-existence of languages and cultures comes increasingly to bear on the construction of plural identities. The present book considers perversion in the construction of identity and the perverse usage of identity in areas such as social cohesion – xenophobia, racism, ostracism, rejection, ageism, marginalisation – and the mismanagement of linguistic identity, language groups and associated discriminatory practise arising out of historical and culturally based discrimination. The texts were submitted in an international meeting held in the Institute for Identities and Societies of the University on Lleida (Catalonia, Spain) in November 2012.
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Cultural nationalism: How are cultural practices involved in the nation-building process?

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Pablo GIORI

Universitat de Girona

“I would emphasize

the elements of artifact, invention and social engineering

involved in nation-building”1

1. Nation-building: a project and an experience2

We usually read articles and books about nationalism as a political project produced and developed by governmental institutions. This is what we call the top-down perspective which only explains what institutions want people to do. This hegemonic standpoint, based on the disciplinary methods of history and sociology, has been questioned in recent years from the contributions of anthropology and psychology. These new proposals also try to understand nation-building processes from the bottom-up standpoint, what people really do beyond institutions and their desires. This perspective considers the experience and everyday life of citizens as something important to understand nation-building processes3. We believe that both proposals are not opposed but complementary; they have to be part of the ← 431 | 432 → same research because they allow us to understand the process as a whole, nationalism as a project and as an experience. This proposal helps us recognize the limits of the institutions attempts to change everyday life, national feelings or popular traditions. We can also put into perspective how spontaneous is the emergence of national belonging from civil society and how planned it is from some institutions at a national or subnational level. To do that, we have to consider the political and cultural aspects of nation-building processes4.

Since the 19th century,...

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