In Support for the Definition of a Nation
There are many definitions of the concept of a nation. Many scholars have tried to establish the definition what constitutes a nation, but there is no agreement on a definite term. Regardless of the many definitions of what a nation is, I agree with the ideas of Shani on what makes a country. According to Shani, a nation is a conscious human group which shares a common culture, can form a community and is connected to a demarcated territory (Shani 47). Additionally, Shani indicated that a nation has a collective project and past which has the right to self-determination. The issues that matter include territory, awareness, language, history and culture and religion (Shani 48). The idea behind civilizations is that people needed to be independent, and to have their own set of rules, procedures, and government who provided them with leadership (Shani 49).
Why do I agree?
I agree because Nations wanted to govern things on their own, and this calls for peaceful negotiations, sometimes even war and led to peace treaties. The divisions of territories helped in developing an understanding of the legal and physical boundaries of different nations. This is what made a nation stand out. Through this definition, Shani tries to explain that there is more to the description of a nation than just its cultural and ethnic composition. A nation is also defined by its territory, which alongside language and culture is vital for establishing sovereignty of a nation (DeJarnette 25). The sovereignty of a nation provides it with protection against interference from other countries. A sovereign nation must have a territory, and a group of people with a shared history, language, and awareness.
Against the Definition of a Nation
According to Hoffman and Graham, a nation entails cultural identity, individual with a common religion, language and same traditions (Hoffman and Graham 127). Hoffman and Graham conceive a nation as a given society, where people share collective needs for perspective, safety, and material and spiritual development. The identification of a nation is dependent on three main criteria. These are cultural, political existence and psychological approaches (Hoffman and Graham 135). The cultural standards focus on common religion and literary language, while the psychological standard focuses on nations having a free position in the federative or multinational nation (Hoffman and Graham 129).
Why do I Disagree?
I do not agree with this definition provided by Hoffman and Graham which defines a nation on the basis of shared ideas. People do not always share the same opinions. There are differences in political ideologies. This is not an exact mechanism of explaining what a nation is because views do change. A nation can be defined through people sharing collective needs for spiritual development (DeJarnette 25). An example is the Islamic nations, especially in the Middle East where their Muslim populations identify countries. Arab nations provide the definite meaning of what constitutes a nation, through people sharing the collective need for spiritual development. However, defining a nation from this perspective of religious lines excludes nations where there are mixtures of different religions. A nation is made up of people who have different religious backgrounds, meaning that they do not have to share collective needs for spiritual development. Instead, I would consider the definition provided by Hoffman and Graham that its psychological standards conceptualize a nation. These two perspectives on what constitutes a nation are proof that there is no agreed definition of what a nation is.
DeJarnette, John C. "Toward a Nation-Building Operating Concept." 2010.
Hoffman, John, and Paul Graham. Introduction to Political Theory. 2015.
Shani, Giorgio. "Book Review: Montserrat Guibernau, Nations without States: Political Communities in a Global Age (Cambridge: Polity, 1999, 216 pp., PS49.50 hbk.)." Millennium: Journal of International Studies, vol. 28, no. 3, 1999, pp. 714-716.
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