Tuesday, 10 January 2012

One facet of the modern attack on the idea of nationhood has been at the theoretical level. Many prominent theorists of nationalism, like the Marxist Eric Hobsbawm, Ernest Gellner or Benedict Anderson, assert that the idea of nationhood only developed within the last two hundred years or so. Usually, they claim it was the invention of scheming elites who wanted to fool the people into believing this convenient fiction so they could exploit and manipulate them more easily.

Of course there are many examples from history that refute this preposterous lie and demonstrate that the idea of national belonging is deep and primal. Foremost among them: from the 14th century Joan of Arc in France; and the Peasant's Revolt in England, largely inspired by the same conflict. The Peasant's Revolt is normally presented as a class struggle but among the peasants' (actually they weren't all peasants) demands was that those responsible for the recent losses in the Hundred Years War with France be punished. Why would they care if, as the Marxists would have it, they were just pursuing economic grievances?

The Declaration of Arbroath in Scotland provides an even earlier resonant assertion of nationhood.


Bluepanic said...

Marine Le Pen in Seine-Saint-Denis


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