Full Name: Samar Abdelmageed
Name of School: Ain Shams University
Educational Level: Graduate Student
Yesterday versus Today: Nationalism versus Globalization-A conflict or a coexistence
Everyone is born with a certain identity. This identity is shaped by different surroundings and circumstances. This identity comes from Home. This home does not only represent the geographical place in which one’s country exists. Home is family and friends you grow with and shape your personality along. It is a natural human feeling to love your home, family, friends, and country. Even though they may not be the best you could have ever imagined. But you love them because you know they definitely love you and care about you unconditionally. This is also the case with nationalism. In some cases and for some people there might be no logic behind loving your country or nation, still you love your nation because it is your nation.
Nationalism: Where does it come from?
The World consists of countries and nations. This was, is, and will still be the nature of our earth. People are made to be different and nations are different. Nationalism emerged and continued from the very early ages of humanity. People gathered and formed societies and nations. People began to feel belonging not only to a certain geographical place but also to a big heritage and culture. The feeling of nationalism grew with the development of civilizations. Nationalism even expanded to include nations that were geographically adjacent to each other and exchanged or were mutually affected by their cultures and regional agglomerations and alliances were constructed as a consequence.
Nationalism was and is still being used by political leaders to justify their actions. In some situations, politicians exploited the notion of nationalism to convince their people that other nations want to dominate them and represent a threat to their existence. They promoted for the idea that nationalism meant us against them. They sometimes used the notion of nationalism to spread hatred towards other nations. Whether they believed they really had good intentions or they just wanted to spread their control and authority to other parts of the World, these leaders led their nations to wars against others. People who paid the price in these wars were sacrificing themselves defending their nations and their existence. Nationalism in this context meant no acceptance of the other, it meant that there is only one place for one nation. However, the sufferings from wars whether by winning or by losing nations taught the World a lesson the hard way. Nations can live together, or in other words, have to live together, if humanity really want to continue existing.
And now… What happened to nationalism after globalization?
In the past, countries were somehow isolated and the interaction between cultures, especially for those which are geographically far from each other, was not high. Nations were not familiar with each other, information and ideas flew slowly, which can be argued was one of the reasons behind the conflicts that arose in the past. The emergence of the World Wide Web and the associative spread of globalization has changed the formula. The speed of change and transmission of information, ideas, trends, and cultures became very high. As some may claim, the World has now become one small village. But is that really true? Does this only mean that anything happening in one place will be immediately shared by other parts of the World or does it also mean that the World can be one big nation that have the same values and people from different backgrounds can live together in peace? The answer is somehow mixed. Some people see that globalization have acted against nationalism. According to their views, nations, and more specifically the developing ones, have been losing their identity in favor of other nations that dominate the World scene, especially on the cultural level. They believe that the European and the more dominant American culture and life-style has been invading the World. There is a growing threat for these peoples to lose their identity, the most important thing that define their nations. Wars between nations have now changed from using physical arms to using information and ideas to spread dominance and invade people’s minds. As a consequence, nationalism is being threated and will be fading away.
On the other hand, some people see globalization as a great chance to get nations together and eliminate any conflicts between them. The more information people can obtain the clearer their views would be and the more reasonable their points of view would be. Lack of data and information was sometimes used by politicians to mislead their peoples. Today, this is a difficult task for them, as people around the World are becoming more educated and sources of information are increasing because of globalization and the advancement of technology. Moreover, some claim that globalization will help get rid of the differences that caused disputes between nations in the past. Globalization will help shape the “World citizen”, an individual that has the same life norms regardless of where he/she lives. Nationalism will change and a new concept will emerge. It will be all about belonging to the World or the globe as a whole.
So… Will globalization abolish nationalism?
Globalization does not necessarily act against nationalism. The main target of globalization is not destroying nations but bringing them closer to each other and helping them understand their similarities and cope with their differences. The beauty of the World lies in differences. People need to understand that diversity is essential. They can learn a lot from their differences more than their similarities. Nations can learn from each other and people can take from other cultures what enhances their livings without changing their essential identity that distinguishes them. I believe that globalization may even emphasize nationalism. To be proud of your culture and heritage does not contradict with accepting the other and learning to coexist as different nations together. Eventually, differences will be minimized, however, globalization will not eliminate them. At the same time, nationalism cannot hinder the spread of globalization across the World. Nations now understand the importance of being open to each other and will not give up this gift that development has granted them. Globalization cannot abolish nationalism but it will definitely change the concept and the way people are perceiving it.