By Director of the Center for the Study of Nationalism Ernest Gellner
Nationalism is without doubt one of the strongest forces within the sleek international, but it really is strangely little studied and merely imperfectly understood, both through its adherents or its competitors. Its irruption into the fashionable international is frequently defined as a resurgence of primitive, atavistic instincts, or as a fantasy fostered by means of a couple of theoreticians, politicians or propagandists.The current quantity translates nationalism when it comes to its social roots, which it locates in business social association. A society that goals for affluence and monetary progress, Professor Gellner argues, depends upon innovation, occupational mobility, mass media, common literacy, and schooling in a shared, normal idiom. Taken jointly those rework the connection among tradition and the country. The functioning of the society depends upon an all-embracing academic method, tied to at least one tradition and guarded via a nation pointed out with that tradition. the primary one kingdom, one tradition makes itself felt, and political devices which don't agree to it think the tension within the type of nationalist task.
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Extra resources for Nations and Nationalism (NEW PERSPECTIVES-ON THE PAST)
But even within the age of nationalism, there is a further important sense in which nationalism remains astonishingly feeble . Nationalism has been _ defined, in effect, as the striving to make culture and polity congruent, to endow a culture with its own political roof, and not more than one roof at that. Culture, an elusive concept, was deliberatel y left undefined. But an at least provisionally acceptable criterion of culture might be language, as at least a sufficient, if not a necessary 44 THE TRANSITION TO NATIONALISM touchstone of it.
A modern society is, in this respect, like a 28 INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY modem army, only more so. k ha~1tS and social skills, familiarity with basic technical and SOCIals~s. For . working life are superimposed on the basic training, either on the Job or as part of a much less prolonged' supplementary training; an~ ~e assumption is that anyone who has completed the genenc trainmg common to the entire population can be re-trained for most other jobs without too much difficulty. Generally speaking, the additional skills required consist of a few techniques that can be learned fairly quickly, plus 'experience' , a kind of familiarity with a milieu, its personnel and its manner of operation .
Ey claim as their own when contrasted with each other: one is rigid, the other mobile. But if that is the obvious contrast, what are the subtler features which accompany it? Compare in detail the division of l~bour ~ a highly adv~ced d of agrarian society with that of an average md~stnal one:~very function, for instance now has at least one kind of specialist associated with it. Car mechanics are becoming specialized in terms of the make of car they service. The industrial society will have a larger population, and probably, by most natural ways of counting, a larger number of different jobs.