“Let us not be mistaken, there are only two meanings of nation”

As we all read on the cover of the province today. This article is very confused. I will refute it, however, by restating its title. “There are only two meanings of nation”. In fact, there is only one meaning of nation, but this meaning is split into two directions. The first sense is a people, a volk, sharing some kind of common identity (any combination of langauge, religion, imaginary inceptual point, ancestery, real inceptual point, blood, genetics (now in Isreal!- are they becoming Nazis?), culture, and I’ve probably missed a few things). In the other sense a sovreign political body (not neccesarily a “state”, however – a nation which has not achieved independance but does have some political meaning can be understood in the second sense). Both senses are co-implicated in each other inasmuch as the “nation” (first sense) of Canada is produced, constructed, by the way of the Canadian “nation” (second sense). At the same time, the Canadian “nation” recieves it’s legitimacy to the “nation” (first sense) that it plays a part in (re-) producing. Also, a “nation” (first sense) can be used, but need not neccesarily be used, as a reason to form an independant political state. However, when it is, the nation (first sense), also serves as the legitating ground of the “nation” (second sense), which it produces (Similar to before, but you will see that the directionality of the production and legitimization has been reversed).

There are certainly examples of places where this tension exists and yet, does not break up a country. GB, for example, comprises several nations, each with some who call for succesion but other than the case of Ireland, I don’t think there is any real danger of such movements becoming mainstream.

The fact is, the difference constructed between “civic nationality” and “ethnic nationality” in the National Post is a false one. The real distinction is between identity nationality (which can be civic or ethnic, or many other things – ethnic nationality as relates to Blood did not exist until the 19th century, and was not popular in Germany until after the Nazi’s took power – a more “civic” kind of romantic nationalism preceeded it), and political nationality. Civic nationality and ethnic nationality are both identity issues, and thus there is no ground on which to dismiss civic nationality as only possibly related to political sovreignty.


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