Globalization and Nationalism

Globalization and Nationalism

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218 pages

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Argues for an original, unorthodox conception about the relationship between globalization and contemporary nationalism. While the prevailing view holds that nationalism and globalization are forces of clashing opposition, Sabanadze establishes that these tend to become allied forces. Acknowledges that nationalism does react against the rising globalization and represents a form of resistance against globalizing influences, but the Basque and Georgian cases prove that globalization and nationalism can be complementary rather than contradictory tendencies. Nationalists have often served as promoters of globalization, seeking out globalizing influences and engaging with global actors out of their very nationalist interests. In the case of both Georgia and the Basque Country, there is little evidence suggesting the existence of strong, politically organized nationalist opposition to globalization. Discusses why, on a broader scale, different forms of nationalism develop differing attitudes towards globalization and engage in different relationships.Conventional wisdom suggests that sub-state nationalism in the post-Cold War era is a product of globalization. Sabanadze’s work encourages a rethinking of this proposition. Through careful analysis of the Georgian and Basque cases, she shows that the principal dynamics have little, if anything, to do with globalization and much to do with the political context and historical framework of these cases. This book is a useful corrective to facile thinking about the relationship between the “global” and the “local” in the explanation of civil conflict. Neil MacFarlane, Lester B. Pearson Professor of International Relations and fellow at St. Anne’s College, Oxford University and chair of the Oxford Politics and International Relations Department.


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Globalization and Nationalism

The Cases of Georgia and the Basque Country

Natalie Sabanadze
  • Publisher : Central European University Press
  • Year of publication : 2010
  • Published on OpenEdition Books : 23 January 2013
  • Serie : Hors collection
  • Electronic ISBN : 9789633860069

OpenEdition Books

http://books.openedition.org

Electronic reference:

SABANADZE, Natalie. Globalization and Nationalism: The Cases of Georgia and the Basque Country. New edition [online]. Budapest: Central European University Press, 2010 (generated 17 December 2013). Available on the Internet: <http://books.openedition.org/ceup/556>. ISBN: 9789633860069.

Printed version:
  • ISBN : 9789639776531
  • Number of pages : 218

© Central European University Press, 2010

Terms of use:
http://www.openedition.org/6540

Argues for an original, unorthodox conception about the relationship between globalization and contemporary nationalism. While the prevailing view holds that nationalism and globalization are forces of clashing opposition, Sabanadze establishes that these tend to become allied forces. Acknowledges that nationalism does react against the rising globalization and represents a form of resistance against globalizing influences, but the Basque and Georgian cases prove that globalization and nationalism can be complementary rather than contradictory tendencies.

Nationalists have often served as promoters of globalization, seeking out globalizing influences and engaging with global actors out of their very nationalist interests. In the case of both Georgia and the Basque Country, there is little evidence suggesting the existence of strong, politically organized nationalist opposition to globalization.
Discusses why, on a broader scale, different forms of nationalism develop differing attitudes towards globalization and engage in different relationships.Conventional wisdom suggests that sub-state nationalism in the post-Cold War era is a product of globalization. Sabanadze’s work encourages a rethinking of this proposition. Through careful analysis of the Georgian and Basque cases, she shows that the principal dynamics have little, if anything, to do with globalization and much to do with the political context and historical framework of these cases. 
This book is a useful corrective to facile thinking about the relationship between the “global” and the “local” in the explanation of civil conflict. 
Neil MacFarlane, Lester B. Pearson Professor of International Relations and fellow at St. Anne’s College, Oxford University and chair of the Oxford Politics and International Relations Department.

Natalie Sabanadze

Natalie Sabanadze is Political Adviser to the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) High Commissioner on National Minorities 

Table of contents
  1. Chapter 1. Introduction

    1. 1.1 Central Arguments
    2. 1.2 Theoretical Underpinnings and Methodology
    3. 1.3 Different Approaches to Contemporary Nationalism
  2. Chapter 2. Nationalism Resurgent: Central Paradox of the Global Era?

    1. 2.1 Defining Globalization
    2. 2.2 Defining Nationalism
    3. 2.3 Paradox of Nationalist Resurgence in the Era of Globalization
    4. 2.4 Summary: Constructing the Globalization Hypothesis
  3. Chapter 3. The Globalization Hypothesis and Its Fallacies

    1. 3.1 Nationalism Resurgent
    2. 3.2 Old and New Nationalisms
    3. 3.3 The Globalization Hypothesis: An Incomplete Picture
    1. 3.4 Conclusion
  1. Chapter 4. Globalization and Georgian Nationalism

    1. 4.1 The Beginnings: Georgian Nationalism in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries
    2. 4.2 The Soviet Legacy and Folklorization of Georgian Nationalism
    3. 4.3 Georgia’s Post-Communist Nationalism: The Three Phases
    4. 4.4 Conclusion
  2. Chapter 5. Globalization and Basque Nationalism

    1. 5.1 Sabino Arana and the Beginnings of Basque Nationalism
    2. 5.2 Francoism and the Diversification of Basque Nationalism
    3. 5.3 Transition to Democracy and Institutionalization of Nationalism
    4. 5.4 Contending Approaches: Modernization or Globalization
    5. 5.5 ETA vs. Guggenheim: Globalization and contemporary Basque nationalism
    6. 5.6 Conclusion
  3. Chapter 6. Globalization and Nationalism: the Relationship Revisited

  4. Acknowledgments

  5. Bibliography

  6. Index

Chapter 1. Introduction

1Globalization and nationalism have often been evoked as the two defining features of the modern world. The former represents rising deterritorialization, integration and universal interconnectedness while the latter arguably represents fragmentation, localization and isolation. The coexistence of these two, arguably opposing, tendencies became particularly problematic in the aftermath of the Cold War, when the world seemed to be struggling with the contradictory processes of nationalist fragmentation on the one hand and global integration on the other. As Ian Clark observed: “the 1990s displayed marked tendencies in both directions at the same time; if anything the economic dimensions of globalization have grown vigorously but they coexist with the unforeseen resurgence of nationalism, which has ruptured the international community, as well as some of its constituent states.”1 The simultaneous rise of nationalistic and globalizing tendencies came to be seen as one of the central paradoxes of the past decade taking many observers by surprise. According to Michael Ignatieff, “with blithe lightness of mind, we assumed that the world was moving irrevocably beyond nationalism, beyond tribalism, beyond the provincial confines of the identity inscribed in our passports towards a global market culture which was to be our new home. In retrospect, we were whistling in the dark. The oppressed has returned and its name is nationalism.”2 Similarly Stuart Hall has characterized the resurgence of nationalism alongside globalization as a “remarkable reversal, a most unexpected turn of events.”3 The sense of paradox, according to Anthony Smith, has been heightened by the fact that in the Western half of Europe the national state appeared to be divesting itself of its powers while in the Eastern half it was eagerly reappropriating those same powers “after the long Soviet winter of political passivity.”4

2The collapse of communist regimes in Eastern Europe provoked a major reappraisal of nationalism and its political significance. Suddenly, nationalism became the elemental force to be reckoned with in the post-Cold War world order, challenging its stability by reshaping boundaries, unleashing wars and disintegrating multinational states. The Western world also appeared to have succumbed to the reinvigorated appeal of nationalist politics. Minorities and non-state peoples of Western Europe such as the Basques and Catalans, Scots and Welsh have reasserted their rights to national autonomy and, in some cases, national independence. Extreme right wing political parties have been gaining political support and popularity, claiming nationalism as their core ideology. In the words of Malcolm Anderson, “a demon of extreme and aggressive nationalism, which may in the stable Western democracies be believed dead, was unleashed… The 20th century had commenced with ‘an age of nationalism’ and was terminating with a resurgence of nationalism, with destabilizing consequences.”5

3Understanding the relationship between globalization and nationalism is the main purpose of this work. In doing so it tries to address the following main questions: What is the link between globalization and nationalism? How does it translate into reality and what empirical evidence supports the existence of such a relationship? And what does it tell us about the nature of contemporary nationalism? There is a vast literature dealing with globalization and nationalism both separately and in connection with each other. A majority of commentators perceive the strength and resilience of nationalism in the era of globalization as a paradox of a world that is simultaneously coming together and coming apart. In this view globalization and nationalism are contradictory processes, the two opposites that are deeply connected through dialectical or causal links. Globalization is arguably generating nationalist backlash in response to and as a counter-reaction against those globalizing tendencies that appear to threaten local cultures and identities. Nationalism appears to have found a renewed sense of purpose and meaning in the context of globalization, which is one of the reasons behind the “surprising” nationalist revival taking place around the world.

4The basic question that has guided this work is whether the presumed clash between forces of globalization and nationalism is the only type of relationship that exists today and defines contemporary political life. Does it present a complete picture of the existing links and interconnections between globalization and nationalism or does a different relationship exist that can be uncovered through critical analysis and empirical research? The reasons for trying to identify different aspects of the relationship that could connect globalization and nationalism are both analytical and practical. Analytically, understanding the links between these two tendencies can help us better comprehend the nature of contemporary globalization and nationalism separately. It can tell us how different, if at all, contemporary nationalism is from nationalist movements of previous epochs. The different links and attitudes to globalization developed by different forms of contemporary nationalism can tell us what distinguishes different national doctrines and movements and what they have in common. By identifying the way nationalist actors perceive and engage with globalization, we may better understand how much of a challenge contemporary globalization is to the core values of nationalism and to the international system of sovereign states that nationalism underpins and upholds.

5In practical terms, it will help to know what the sources of nationalist conflicts in the era of globalization are and what leverages are available for better addressing and preventing them. If globalization itself is the underlying cause of nationalist upheavals, discontent and ethnonational confrontations, then what policy choices are available for dealing with globalization-induced tensions and challenges? If, however, the relationship between globalization and nationalism is not exclusively that of backlash and confrontation, then globalization may present new opportunities and instruments for global actors to positively influence local conflicts and even effectively contain and de-radicalize nationalist politics. In this context, global actors such as international organizations may be tasked with effective conflict prevention and conflict resolution activities. Treating globalization as an ungovernable, impersonal force that is ever-present and ever so powerful makes it an easy scapegoat and a convenient cause of all current problems for which nobody in particular could be blamed. All the above shows that there is much at stake in trying to better understand both globalization and nationalism separately and in connection with each other in order to make adequate normative judgments and policy decisions.

6This book critically examines existing literature on globalization and nationalism and puts to empirical test some of the main claims and assumptions that underpin the conventional wisdom on the subject. It then develops an alternative narrative on the relationship between globalization and contemporary nationalism and argues that forces of nationalism tend to develop pragmatic relationship with globalization that serves political and security interests of a national community. In this view, globalization and nationalism are not contradictory but complementary processes and their coexistence is neither surprising nor necessarily confrontational. This—at first sight counterintuitive—view is based on two main assumptions: the first has to do with the nature of contemporary nationalism and the second with the impact of globalization on the system of nation-states to which nationalism is inextricably connected. I argue that nationalism is neither cultural nor exclusively defensive and isolationist force. Its relevance is specific to the modern, pluralistic system of sovereign states where it has fulfilled the function of a founding ideology or a kind of “master doctrine.”6 It provides reasons and means for any community to survive and achieve political power and recognition in the existing system. Because nationalism is deeply connected to the specific international environment it has an inherently outward-looking, internationalist dimension, which precludes it from becoming a force of isolation and closure. The interests of security and political competition explain why forces of nationalism engage and often promote globalization, which they see not as threatening but rather as furthering their objectives. Such relationship between globalization and nationalism in turn points to the fact that globalization is not such a threat to the nation-state as it is often presumed and neither does it amount to the fundamental transformation of the international system which these states constitute. The rest of this introductory chapter further outlines the structure and central arguments put forward in this book. It also looks at its theoretical and methodological underpinnings and introduces the two case studies that have formed an important part of the research.

1.1 Central Arguments

7The first part of the book is concerned with putting together the socalled globalization hypothesis on the basis of the reviewed literature. As mentioned above, much has been written on how globalization is involved in generating various types of nationalistic responses but the arguments that constitute this hypothesis are spread throughout the literature on both globalization and nationalism and tend to have a variety of different authors. Chapter 2 reviews most of these arguments identifying what the main causal mechanisms are that link globalization and nationalism in this particular way and what they tell us about the nature of contemporary nationalism. Chapter 3 takes issue with some of the main assumptions of the globalization hypothesis as it emerges from the literature and engages in the critique of both its causal links to nationalism and to the understanding and interpretation of contemporary nationalism that it offers. Main tenants of the globalization hypothesis are then further tested on the cases of Georgian and Basque nationalisms.

8Chapters 4 and 5 represent case studies of two “really existing” nationalisms from both Eastern and Western Europe. The first is the case of Georgian nationalism, which is taken as an example of resurgent, post-communist nationalisms that have arguably resurfaced with great vigor in the post-Cold War era. The second is the case of Basque nationalism, which represents nationalism of Europe’s stateless nations that have long historic roots but have arguably been experiencing a particular revival in the context of globalization. The main reason behind selecting these two different types of nationalism is to have wideranging material for observation and analysis, and for exploring links between globalization and nationalism under two very different sets of circumstances. This chapter returns to a more detailed discussion of the selection of cases and methodology used in the case studies later.

9In both Georgian and Basque cases, the causes of nationalism were largely linked to historic and endogenous processes and less to globalization and its influences. At the same time, the two coexist simultaneously not in contradiction to each other but rather in a mutually beneficial and complementary manner. In both Georgia and the Basque Country, nationalism emerges as a force promoting and reinforcing rather than resisting globalization. Engaging with globalization forms an integral part of the very nationalist action and discourse. Contrary to the popular globalization hypothesis, therefore, this book argues that contemporary nationalism can serve as one of the major globalizing forces. Chapter 6 reflects findings of the case studies and explains why such a relationship is possible and what its practical and normative implications are.

10Exploring the links between globalization and nationalism also points to the diversity of contemporary nationalism—different manifestations of nationalism engage in different relationships with forces of globalization. This study highlights how firmly nationalism is entrenched in the existing international system and argues that on the mere example of its radical varieties, nationalism cannot be discarded as a generally anti-system phenomenon which mainly aims at fragmentation, isolation and disintegration of states. In the context of the current international system, nationalism enjoys unrivalled relevance because it is linked to the very set up and nature of its constituent political communities, i.e. states. It is important to not only constitute oneself as a nation to have a legitimate claim on statehood but also to be recognized as such by other nations—members of the international community. Nationalism, therefore, is not simply about the preservation of national culture and identity but it is equally about seeking recognition for this very culture and identity by others, a process that requires interaction, not isolation. In this sense, relevance of nationalism is contingent on the specific international context and a degree of internationalism is inherent to its nature.

11Such an interpretation of nationalism also makes its coexistence with globalization less puzzling. The “paradox” of nationalism in the era of globalization is based on the assumption that nationalism is, by definition, a force of isolation and protection that is incompatible with globalization and its integrationist tendencies. However, if we are to accept the existence of more political, pragmatic, outward looking, and internationalist elements of nationalism, then there is no reason to present them in binary contradiction whereby one is expected to prevail over the other. This is the picture of the world struggling between the forces of Jihad and McWorld, but there also exists a different picture in which forces of nationalism and globalization engage in an alliance which is mutually advantageous and is largely overlooked against the prevailing view of the two axial forces clashing with each other at every point.7

1.2 Theoretical Underpinnings and Methodology

12The theoretical framework used in this book represents a combination of positivism and constructivism. It implies belief that causal relationships exist and uncovering them has a significant explanatory value. At the same time, however, it admits discourse as a variable and acknowledges social constructions of non-observable, underlying structures. This broadly constructivist approach reflects a number of theoretical commitments. First, it does not take existing international structures as given or “natural” but sees them as defined by specific social practices and embedded in specific knowledge and intersubjective meanings shared by social actors. Second, in explaining certain political actions, policy choices and calculations, it pays attention to an actor’s identity, values and ideological commitments. Concepts such as prestige, legiti macy, dignity, recognition and respect are taken as significant in understanding the “rationality” of nationalist actors or leaders of revisionist states (“value rational” behavior in Weber’s terms). Third, it follows that this theoretical approach accepts the role of ideas in explaining and understanding political action. For instance, this work shows how ideational and discursive aspects of globalization have come to play an important role in generating reactions and responses. As Andrew Hurrell points out “even if we suspect that appeals to political ideas, to legal principles, and to moral purposes are no more than rationalizations of self-interest, they may still affect political behavior because of the powerful need to legitimate action.”8

13In light of the above, this work relies on an in-depth, qualitative analysis, using the case study method. Such an approach is particularly well suited for exploring links between globalization and nationalism that are hard to measure and quantify. It also allows for the combined use of solid, “scientific” data such as statistical indicators, election results and polling figures with impressions from the field created through field visits, open-ended interviews, media reports, discourse and content analysis.

14The selection of Georgian and Basque cases responds to the two different streams in the globalization literature: One that argues for post-communist nationalism as the main evidence for the resurgence of nationalism in the context of globalization; and the other, which suggests the reinvigoration of traditional nationalist movements such as the Basque, Catalan and Québecois through the processes of globalization. In addition, both Georgia and the Basque Country can be treated as the “most likely cases” for those who argue for the growing strength and power of nationalism under the influences of globalization.9 The Georgian case exemplifies post-communist nationalism that experienced a dramatic upsurge with violent consequences following the downfall of the Soviet Union and accompanying slow integration into global processes. Georgia’s transition to the market economy and in corporation into global economic and political processes has been both dramatic and painful; its state-building project is still underway and the country faces the threat of further fragmentation under both external pressures and internal ones from competing minority nationalisms. In addition, Georgia is a good example of a fluctuating nationalist mobilization before and after the Soviet collapse, which could shed some light on how the popular support and political importance of nationalism can vary in relation to globalization.