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Cultural Nationalism

Culture And Nationalism: Separate Ideas

The term cultural nationalism has gained increasing acceptance since the late twentieth century. Previously, however, the ideas of culture and nationalism were treated separately.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) was identified as the father of modern political nationalism, a role he shared with Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744–1803). Culture, that is, as defined before the idea of cultural nationalism was embraced, was closely tuned to Europe's classical and modern history and philosophies: Etymologies and definitions for culture and civilization could be traced from the classical Mediterranean, including those provided by Giambattista Vico (1668–1744), von Herder, and Immanuel Kant (1724–1804).

Focus on the separate ideas of culture and nationalism continued among certain communities in the late twentieth century. In addition to accepting von Herder on culture, Ernst Gellner (1983) returned to Kant's ideas regarding Europe's "modern" ways of thought. Gellner relied on both von Herder and Kant to describe how education imposed '"high culture" on industrial societies. National identities were not Europe's primordial heritage; rather, for Gellner, nationalism was awakened or invented to accomplish the kind of cultural homogeneity industrial society considered necessary: "nations, like states, are a contingency, and not a universal necessity" (p. 6). Elie Kedourie gives von Herder his due with the assertion that nationalism was invented in Europe in the early nineteenth century. For Kedourie, nationalism seemed alien to the non-European world, the residents of which are denied authentic recourse to the claims of the nation: expression of unique character, self-determination, or contribution from their natural genius to humanity's common fund.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Cosine to Cyano groupCultural Nationalism - Culture And Nationalism: Separate Ideas, From Europe To A Worldview, Bibliography