Term Paper: Nationalism &amp Ethnic Conflict

Pages: 2 (848 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: History - Israel  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] ' Both are stateless, yet a commonality of culture and religion is not evident -- nor more, though, than two potential United States citizens, born in that nation, one might argue.

The overview present in Umut Ozkirimli's analysis is a warning not to dismiss the importance of nationalism, and also a caution not to accept certain groups' claims to nationhood wholesale and at their face value, as the concept of what constitutes ethnicity shifts and changes, depending on individual's particular political alliances in a particular historical context. Ozkirimili's work has a far more dispassionate tone, in contrast, to Stuart J. Kaufman's Modern Hatreds: The Symbolic Politics of Ethnic War.

Kaufman's work, in contrast to Ozkirimli, is more stridently prescriptive in nature. However, Kaufman is also more rigorous in his use of international political theoretical frameworks to justify his suggestions to policymakers

But, although Kaufman is more inclined to speak of 'hatreds' rather than ethnic identities, Kaufman also, like Ozkirimli, stresses the importance of understanding the emotional significance of ethnic and national identity when constructing a nation state, rather than the idea that ethnicity exists as a linear, enclosed historical trope, within definable and easily recognizable boundaries -- ethnicity is 'felt,' rather than historically in evidence, for both authors. Kaufman goes on to suggest that ethnic wars can even be predicted by existence of myths of justifying ethnic hostility as well as the presence of ethnic fears about survival of a currently defined 'group', as well as the practical availability of an opportunity for the ethnic groups to mobilize. (29-32) For Kaufman and Ozkirimli both, ethnicity is a myth to varying degrees, but the ability to construct such a myth, however tenuously, can become the foundation of a national struggle, and even an entire nation. For instance, in the former Yugoslavia, the 'myth' of the wronged Serb was fueled by the allegiance of some Croatians during World War II to the invading Nazi powers (another myth of national allegiance) and was used to justify the subsequent brutality that the Serbian leader Milosovic inflicted upon that region. Symbols thus are fueled by history, and create history, even when these historical and symbolic readings of the present are imperfect or false.

Works Cited

Ozkirimili, Umut. Theories of Nationalism: A Critical Introduction. Foreword by Fred Halliday. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000. pg. 167-233

Kaufman, Stuart J. Modern Hatreds: The Symbolic Politics of Ethnic War. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press 2001,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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