Essay on The Notions Of Ethnicity And Nationalism

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The notions of ethnicity and nationalism have been used to discuss the formation of what is so called a nation-state. Many anthropologists (e.g. Eriksen, 1993) assert that ethnicity is a multifaceted product of ever-changing social relations and organisation. In a similar way, Eriksen (1993) discusses nationalism as a social cohesion defined by its relationship to the state. Echoing further dichotomy to the anthropologists’ interpretation, Brubaker (2004) also affirms the presence of “normative ambivalence and conceptual ambiguity” in the study of ethnicity and nationalism. What such debates suggest is therefore neither the definitions nor the relationship between ethnicity and nationalism has been straightforward. From an anthropological point of view, loyal individuals who share symbols, history and found a common expression among themselves claim an imagined concept of civic nationhood (Eriksen, 1993). On the other hand, a different form of nationalism can be traced from “vertical relationship” between ethnicities competing for power (ibid.). Nonetheless, nationalism exists as an abstract conception that involves ‘exclusion’ and ‘inclusion’ of inevitably changing identities (Eriksen, 1993; Smith, 1994 and Brubaker, 2004).

Despite the above controversies, anthropological analyses of ethnicity and nationalism play a crucial role in mediating the different identities formed during the process of the evolution of a nation-state. Grounded on questionable…

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