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The Concept Of Nation Beyond Europe

The United Nations, an association of formally sovereign states, excluded colonies. Colonial nationalists argued for independence in political terms. Imperial powers could not reject democratic arguments, as these legitimized their own states. Racism, even if endemic in Europe and the United States, had been discredited. Imperialists could only argue that circumstances were unpropitious, divisions too acute, indigenous resources for self-rule inadequate.

There were other reasons for making the nation purely political. Boundaries of colonial states were arbitrary, dividing close-knit groups. The small-scale nature of many indigenous groups made it difficult, if not impossible, to identify a dominant culture. Nationalists confined themselves to challenging imperial rule within given boundaries. Hardly any postcolonial state has seen its boundaries change. The most important such case, Bangladesh, took the form of a separation within otherwise unchanged boundaries. Yet tension between nation as culture and as citizenship presented itself in the first important act of postwar decolonization, when Muslim movements achieved the separation of the state of Pakistan from India. The justification was that Muslims constituted a separate nationality.

Internal conflicts within postcolonial states have been explained in terms of cultural difference, variously described as ethnic, tribal, or national. Sometimes federal arrangements have been implemented to try to reduce these conflicts; sometimes there have been civil wars, expulsions, and genocides. However, in other cases a conception of nationality as citizenship has brought unity at the state level, even if multiple ethnic differences remain important.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Mysticism to Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotideNation - Prepolitical Usages, The Nation And Political Authority, 1000–1500, Making Politics National, 1500–1800, New Ways Of Thinking About The Nation