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Forum LockedNumber of nations in the world?

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Poll Question: Number of nations in the world?
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Cyrus Shahmiri View Drop Down
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    Posted: 05-Oct-2005 at 16:43
What is your definition of a nation?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Oct-2005 at 17:38
a country.  the first choice would be ethnicity, not nation.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote šok geš Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Oct-2005 at 18:22

I would think of a nation as a group that shares common history and backgrounds and has reached a consensus on their destiny and what ties them all, wether religion, ethnicity, or language, as a seperate distinct group than the surrounding nations.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Oct-2005 at 18:27
A nation is a society united by a delusion about its ancestry and by a common hatred of its neighbours.(Dean William R. Inge)

Or an artificial and temporary territorial structure, shaped by military conflict and held together by the economic and political interests of its ruling elite.

Of those, there are far too many.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Oct-2005 at 19:01
There are two classical definitions of nation, one considered "German" and the other "French", because they were used in the classical dispute over Alsace-Lorraine.

The "German" theory is the ethnic one: if you speak German you are German, if you speak Chinese, you are Chinese, if you speak Kurd, you are Kurd. There's no room for confusion outside of cultural hybridation and multilinguism. Alsace is German because they speak (spoke) German.

The "French" theory is based in the will of the people. Ethnicity is not as important as will. If you want to be French, then you are French, no matter if you speak German or Wolof as mother tongue. Alsace is French beacuse they want (wanted) to be French (a disputable claim anyhow).

I'd say that both viewpoints have a weight and in most cases are coincident (we are not talking of individual people but of communities). So I think both must be taken in account. The ethnic definition provides the background frame and the democratic definition provides the actual expression of self-determination.

In any case a state is not a nation. A nation is a cultural and sociological construct while a state is a political construct. They may or not be coincident, though, in the theory of the nation-state, they should be.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Oct-2005 at 20:50

According to the German thoery then, half the world are English or trying to be. Personally I'm a firm believer in the French theory, but another definition particularly strong in multiculteral countries is your place of birth regardless of other factors.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cywr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Oct-2005 at 21:55
Acording to the German theory, there should be thosaunds of nations, of course, the German theory was only half heartedly embraced by the Germans, i mean, in order to make a German nation, you have to merge a a whole bunch of smaller ones, decise a common language (standard German), and ignore the presence of Sorbs and such.

The French one of course is bassed on a luxury of privilege. France wasn't so much built on the idea that people wanted to live together as it was on the desires and hunger of a ruling dynasty. It was only later when a strong central state had been established did they bring out the wanting to live together stuff. Of course people will prefer the status quo if they feel it gives them security and prosperity, but if things turn foul that can change in an instant, would the Frances of the world let those disaffected pieces go then if they so desired? History shows that generaly they don't.

Nations can be constructed around pretty much anything, an ideal, a language, a territory, a religion, whatever. Everything else is just dogma and good promotion.
Ultimatly, a nation will be determined by the spread of an influence of a creation myth/ideal of that particular nation, a seed as it were, and maintained by the force of arms if they should become states.

Quote According to the German thoery then, half the world are English or trying to be.


But a great many of those will be bi-lingual, so maybe they would be bi-national, a duality nation or some sort




Edited by Cywr
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Oct-2005 at 00:35
Good critic, Cywr.

Yet my own thought is that a nations needs an ethinicity (often a language but not necesarily), a territory and the will to be. An ethnicity without a territory may be a nationality but not a nation, as they are a minority in every town and region. An ethnicity without the will to self-determine is just a failed nation, whatever the merits of their culture, without the will to be they can't be. Now, a people without a diferentiated ethnicity but with land and will of freedom can constitute a new nation, as did for instance the United States two centuries ago. Still, the background of a diferent ethnicity is normaly condition to spark the feeling of grievance that brings nations to independence or the struggle for it.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cywr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Oct-2005 at 01:03
But ethnicities themselves can be constructed. In essence, many ethnicities could be seen as meta-ethnicites, a collection of relativly similar ethnicities packaged as one.
German is a good example. Had History been a little different, who's to say that part of the Netherlands could be German, or even part of Germany Dutch? That area is where a collection of Low Germanic dialects are spoken, distinct from standard German (as well as Standard Dutch), but very similar to each other. He who rules the area, decides if those Low German dialects are Dutch or German (in the modern country sense). With sufficient economic and political intergration, you have the people in time seeing themselves as ethnicly Dutch or German or whatever it happens to be.

More often than not, the development of such entities are through a top-down effort, not an organic bottom-up one.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Oct-2005 at 02:34
Originally posted by Maju Maju wrote:


The "German" theory is the ethnic one: if you speak German you are
German, if you speak Chinese, you are Chinese, if you speak Kurd, you
are Kurd. There's no room for confusion outside of cultural hybridation
and multilinguism. Alsace is German because they speak (spoke) German.



Not sure where you got that from.
The attitude to who should be considered German wasn't a question of language, but of ancestry.
It's in important factor in deciding who would be entitled to German citizenship or not.
We have had the absurd situation that second or third generation Turkish people, born and raised in Germany and speaking perfect German have no automatic right to German citizenship, while the descendants of German settlers who had moved to various territories in former SU (Kazachstan, for example) a few hundred years ago, have received automatic German citizenship when they
emigrated into the FRG over the last two decades.That most of them were hardly able to speak German, didn't matter at all.
It's the old question of "Blut und Boden" (Blood and Land), and the Germans seem to believe that is the "Blood" that makes a German, no matter how diluted it is.

Edited by Komnenos
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cywr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Oct-2005 at 03:14
In Germany, you can be automaticly German if your grandfathers were born in Germany, or if they are deemed to be German, so soon there will be Turks eligible for official Germanness no?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cyrus Shahmiri Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Oct-2005 at 04:10

Another question, which one can form a nation:

  • Country/Territory
  • Race/Ethnic
  • Language/Culture
  • Religion/Tradition
  • Having a "common enemy"!!

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cywr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Oct-2005 at 04:47
All of them, its just a question of will and leadership.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Oct-2005 at 04:58
Originally posted by Komnenos Komnenos wrote:

Originally posted by Maju Maju wrote:


The "German" theory is the ethnic one: if you speak German you are
German, if you speak Chinese, you are Chinese, if you speak Kurd, you
are Kurd. There's no room for confusion outside of cultural hybridation
and multilinguism. Alsace is German because they speak (spoke) German.



Not sure where you got that from.
The attitude to who should be considered German wasn't a question of language, but of ancestry.
It's in important factor in deciding who would be entitled to German citizenship or not.
We have had the absurd situation that second or third generation Turkish people, born and raised in Germany and speaking perfect German have no automatic right to German citizenship, while the descendants of German settlers who had moved to various territories in former SU (Kazachstan, for example) a few hundred years ago, have received automatic German citizenship when they
emigrated into the FRG over the last two decades.That most of them were hardly able to speak German, didn't matter at all.
It's the old question of "Blut und Boden" (Blood and Land), and the Germans seem to believe that is the "Blood" that makes a German, no matter how diluted it is.


You know better. Anyhow, my actual intention wasn't to depict it as a question of gramatical abilities but of ethnical belonging, which is mostly defined by language (in most cases).

On a side-note, I can't believe that a European country is not giving citizenship to people born in that country: that's against human rights!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Oct-2005 at 05:08
Originally posted by Maju Maju wrote:


On a side-note, I can't believe that a European country is not giving
citizenship to people born in that country: that's against human
rights!

No, it certainly is not against the Human Rights.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Oct-2005 at 05:14
Originally posted by Cywr Cywr wrote:

But ethnicities themselves can be constructed. In essence, many ethnicities could be seen as meta-ethnicites, a collection of relativly similar ethnicities packaged as one.
German is a good example. Had History been a little different, who's to say that part of the Netherlands could be German, or even part of Germany Dutch? That area is where a collection of Low Germanic dialects are spoken, distinct from standard German (as well as Standard Dutch), but very similar to each other. He who rules the area, decides if those Low German dialects are Dutch or German (in the modern country sense). With sufficient economic and political intergration, you have the people in time seeing themselves as ethnicly Dutch or German or whatever it happens to be.

More often than not, the development of such entities are through a top-down effort, not an organic bottom-up one.



Right but wrong. True that has happened in Germany but it's also true that the notion of German nation was an old one that caught the people. Before German actual unification, there were revolutionary attempts to unify it. Dutch and Swiss stayed apart because they had their own national processes of diferent sort that created those nationalities as separated from Germany, more based in will than in ethnicity. At the end popular/social will is the final resort but ethnic background is normally a precondition.

Italy and France are other semi-artificial ethnical unification that sacrified the ethnical and linguistical diversity to the "Moloch" of national unity. In the case of Italy this was a process with great popular support, in the case of France it implied more violence, specially in the Albigensian crusade against the Occitanians, during the Hundred Years' War, during the wars of religion (Huguenots were mostly Occitanians and Gascons again) and during the French Revolution (many nationalities and "regions" took the tory side scared by Jacobine centralism).

Spain is another example of (partly failed) forced unification. In this case some major nationalities have managed to survive, but others as Moriscos, Sephardic Jews and partly Gypsies (their tongue), and also quasi-extint languages as Asturians, Leonese, Aragonese and Mozarabic, were sacrified to the artificial construct of a unified (Castilian) Spain.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cyrus Shahmiri Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Oct-2005 at 05:17

Originally posted by Cywr Cywr wrote:

All of them, its just a question of will and leadership.

Do you mean "Iranian Zoroastrians" and "Iranian Muslims" are two different nations?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Oct-2005 at 05:18
Originally posted by Styrbiorn Styrbiorn wrote:

Originally posted by Maju Maju wrote:


On a side-note, I can't believe that a European country is not giving
citizenship to people born in that country: that's against human
rights!

No, it certainly is not against the Human Rights.


There's an article in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that says that everyone is entitled to a nationality.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Oct-2005 at 05:24
Originally posted by Cyrus Shahmiri Cyrus Shahmiri wrote:

Another question, which one can form a nation:

  • Country/Territory -> Condition for its viability
  • Race/Ethnic -> Condition for its identity (race?! what's that?)
  • Language/Culture -> It's the same as above (ethnicity is made up of language and culture mostly)
  • Religion/Tradition -> Less important, specially in the modern world. But look at cases as Belgium and Croatia. It can be part of the ethnic makeup in some cases.
  • Having a "common enemy"!! -> This has nothing to do. It can help to form the alliance though.
You forgot about one important condition: will and feeling of being a nation.


Edited by Maju

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Oct-2005 at 05:26
Yeah, but it doesn't say you have to grant citizenship to anyone born within the state's borders.
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