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Annique Sampson

Distinguish between Nation, race and state

There is often confusion on the differences between a Nation, state and race,
they are all part of nationalisms key ideas but they vary in definition.
A nation is defined as a group or community of people who consider themselves
to be of the same history or descent having a common circumstance of birth and
language. Thus they collectively bind themselves towards one goal and have
sense of pride to their national identity. It is an emotional way for people to feel
connected to one another towards a purpose.
A state is defined as more of a political reality, it is not as abstract as a nation
where it existence is questionable a state either exists or it doesnt. A state is a
body establishing sovereign power within a defined territorial area. It can also be
defined in terms of widespread obedience to a monarch or leader.
The welsh define themselves as a nation based on their culture and language;
they have their own cultural identity, despite being part of the United Kingdom
which is a state. In actual fact the United Kingdom although a sovereign state, it
is made up of four nations each part of Britain identifies itself as either Scottish,
English welsh or Irish. This is possibly why nationalism is seen as more of an
abstract idea based on ones own emotions, you cannot change the constraints
of a state. However a national identity is different someone can be born in
England and live there all their life but if their heritage is Scottish they can see
their national identity as Scottish this is the main difference between them.
The development of nation-states, a merging of the two concepts makes the
concepts harder to distinguish; the most famous nation-state is probably the
French revolution. As a result of the French revolution three processed occurred,
the old state was dissolved and new state was established. The people of France
were collectively free so the nation was therefore seen to be the basis of the new
political community. The new political community was to guarantee individual
rights as it was based on a nation.

It is slightly harder to distinguish between nation and race; many nations


consider themselves to be a race for example the Jews. However many
nations are made of many races (china and England) and therefore the
nation is based on other things such as culture. Race is a connection
according to common blood ties, having a nation based on race excludes
other races and leads to problems as seen with Nazi Germany. The idea
that race is or defines a nation also only applies to certain parts of the
world. They are separate concepts and race is only a small part of
nationalism as an ideology. It has become even more outdated as
migration and integration occurs as well as advances in technology
making it easier for people to move around the world. As science develops
we have also learned that different races may be closer in DNA than that

Annique Sampson

of the same race so grouping and defining a nation as a race is based on


dubious science and not entirely accurate.
To conclude each concept is different but are components of the overall
ideology.

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