Nationalism and Regionalism

Chapter 7 discusses similarities in analyzing perspectives associated with nations, nationalism and regionalism. We analyze nations as being not only powerful but also as being the product of modern states. We connect modern states to nationalism by looking at the argument presented by Michael Billig’s and support his idea that  nationalism shouldn’t be conceived as a political force experienced in parts of the Global South. His work proves that nationalism techniques, in everyday and banal ways, are utilized by modern states in the Global North. They use these techniques in order to stimulate affiliation and belonging among their citizenry. We also looked at nationalism through nationalist movements. One of the movements that was analyzed was the fragmentation of Yugoslavia. Lastly, we examined regionalism. During that section, we were advised to examine regions as lived places. One example that was analyzed was the Basque region. During that section, we explored their production of regional territories and identities accordingly.

One of the topics that was discussed in the chapter was the subject of banal nationalism presented by Michael Billigs. Banal Nationalism refers to the everyday representations of the nation which build an imagined sense of national solidarity and belonging amongst humans. These universal notions of the nation can take several forms. Examples of banal nationalism include flag use in everyday contexts, sporting events, national songs, symbols on money, popular expressions and phrases, and patriotic clubs. Use of specific language such as ‘we the people, our nation, won’t defeat us,’ invoke the idea of the people being under one nation. The second topic that I wanted to focus on was regionalism. Anssi Paasi, a Professor of Geography at the University Of Oulu, Finland, discusses three different concepts in understanding regions. The first concept is the pre-scientific perspectives. This perspectives discusses treating regions as spatial units for data collection and organization. The next concept is a discipline-centered perspective. This perspectives focuses on regions as being the product of academic socialization and power or knowledge relations. Regions, in this perspective, are primarily created through academic processes based on geographical relationships. Along with this perspective, new spatial imaginaries, having the power to change political realities, are established due to the creation of regions as intelligible divisions of a given state. The last concept that is discussed in critical perspectives. In a critical perspective, regions are considered social constructs. Regions are not evolutionary processes, rather, they are expressions of continuous struggle over the meanings associated with space, representation, democracy and welfare. By analyzing Benedict Anderson’s concept of “imagined communities,” Painter and Jeffrey are able to translate Anderson’s concept into “imagined territories,” meaning that regions are the product of social effects and consist of power.

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