Ethnic nationalism

Ethnic nationalism, also known as ethno-nationalism, is a form of nationalism wherein the nation is defined in terms of ethnicity.[1]

The central theme of ethnic nationalists is that "nations are defined by a shared heritage, which usually includes a common language, a common faith, and a common ethnic ancestry".[2] It also includes ideas of a culture shared between members of the group, and with their ancestors.

While some types of ethnic nationalism are firmly rooted in the idea of ethnicity (or race) as an immutable inherited characteristic (for example white nationalism), often ethnic nationalism also manifests in the assimilation of minority ethnic groups into the dominant group (for example as with Italianisation). This assimilation may or may not be predicated on a belief in some common ancestry with assimilated groups (for example with Germanisation in the Second World war).

While in some cases the division between ethnic and civic nationalism is clear (France being the archetypal example of a national identity rooted in civic and linguistic nationalism), in other cases the division is less clear, for example with Turkish nationalism.


Herodotus is the first who stated the main characteristics of ethnicity, with his famous account of what defines Greek identity. He lists kinship (Greek: ὁμόαιμον, homόaimon, "of the same blood"[3]), language (Greek: ὁμόγλωσσον, homoglōsson, "speaking the same language"[4]), cults and customs (Greek: ὁμότροπον, homόtropon, "of the same habits or life").[5][6]


The central political tenet of ethnic nationalism is that ethnic groups can be identified unambiguously, and that each such group is entitled to self-determination.

The outcome of this right to self-determination may vary, from calls for self-regulated administrative bodies within an already-established society, to an autonomous entity separate from that society, to a sovereign state removed from that society. In international relations, it also leads to policies and movements for irredentism to claim a common nation based upon ethnicity.

In scholarly literature, ethnic nationalism is usually contrasted with civic nationalism. Ethnic nationalism bases membership of the nation on descent or heredity, often articulated in terms of common blood or kinship, rather than on political membership. Hence, nation-states with strong traditions of ethnic nationalism tend to define nationality or citizenship by jus sanguinis (the law of blood, descent from a person of that nationality), and countries with strong traditions of civic nationalism tend to define nationality or citizenship by jus soli (the law of soil, birth within the nation state). Ethnic nationalism is, therefore, seen as exclusive, while civic nationalism tends to be inclusive. Rather than allegiance to common civic ideals and cultural traditions, then, ethnic nationalism tends to emphasise narratives of common descent.

The theorist Anthony D. Smith uses the term "ethnic nationalism" for non-Western concepts of nationalism as opposed to Western views of a nation defined by its geographical territory. Diaspora studies scholars extend this non-geographically bound concept of "nation" among diasporic communities, at times using the term ethnonation or ethnonationalism to describe a conceptual collective of dispersed ethnics.[7]

Ethnic nationalism is also present in many states' immigration policies in the form of repatriation laws. States such as Armenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Romania, Russia, Serbia, and Turkey provide automatic or rapid citizenship to members of diasporas of their own dominant ethnic group, if desired.[2]

In Malaysia, the Bumiputera principle recognises the "special position" of the Malays provided in the Constitution of Malaysia, in particular Article 153. However, the constitution does not use the term bumiputra; it defines only "Malay" and "indigenous peoples" (Article 160(2)),[8] "natives" of Sarawak (161A(6)(a)),[9] and "natives" of Sabah (Article 161A(6) (b)).[9] Certain but not all pro-bumiputra policies exist as affirmative action for bumiputras, for NEP is racial-based and not deprivation-based. For instance, all Bumiputra, regardless of their financial standing, are entitled 7 percent discount on houses or property, including luxurious units; whilst a low-income non-Bumiputra receives no such financial assistance. Other preferential policies include quotas for the following: admission to government educational institutions, qualification for public scholarships, marking of universities exam papers, special bumiputras-only classes prior to university's end of term exams, for positions in government, and ownership of businesses. Most of the policies were established in the Malaysian New Economic Policy (NEP) period. Many policies focus on trying to achieve a bumiputra share of corporate equity, comprising at least 30% of the total. Ismail Abdul Rahman proposed this target after the government was unable to agree on a suitable policy goal.

In German nationality law, citizenship is open to ethnic Germans. According to the Greek nationality law, Greeks born abroad may transmit citizenship to their children from generation to generation indefinitely. As of 2013 this is also true in the case of the Philippine nationality law which, has conferred Philippine citizenship on children born after 15 October 1986, with at least one Philippine citizen parent.

On the other hand, civic nationalism defines membership as an individual's duty to observe given laws and in turn receive legal privileges.

A nation-state for the ethnic group derives political legitimacy from its status as homeland of that ethnic group, from its protective function against colonization, persecution, or racism, and from its claim to facilitate the shared cultural and social life, which may not have been possible under the ethnic group's previous status as an ethnic minority.

See also


  1. ^ "The Website of Political Research Associates". Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  2. ^ a b Muller, Jerry Z. "Us and Them." Current Issue 501 Mar/Apr 2008 9–14
  3. ^ "Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, ὅμαιμ-ος". Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, ὁμό-γλωσσος". Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  5. ^ "Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, ὁμό-τροπος". Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  6. ^ Herodotus, 8.144.2: "The kinship of all Greeks in blood and speech, and the shrines of gods and the sacrifices that we have in common, and the likeness of our way of life."
  7. ^ "Language, ethnicity and religion: a complex and persistent linkag..." ingentaconnect. 1 January 2008. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Part XII: General and Miscellaneous, Constitution of Malaysia (Articles 152–160)", Accessed 30 May 2007
  9. ^ a b Part XIIA: Additional Protections for States of Sabah and Sarawak, Constitution of Malaysia (Articles 161 – 161h), helplinelaw. Accessed 30 May 2007

Further reading

  • Armstrong, John. Nations before Nationalism (1982) excerpt and text search
  • Breuilly, John. Nationalism and the State (2nd ed. 1995) excerpt and text search
  • De Benoist, Alain. "Nationalism: Phenomenology & Critique.", 16 May 2012.
  • De Benoist, Alain. "On Identity." Telos, Vol. 2004, No. 128 (Summer 2004), pp. 9–64. Telos page, online text
  • De Benoist, Alain. Vu de droite: Anthologie critique des idées contemporaines (2002). excerpt
  • De Benoist, Alain. Les Idées à l’endroit (1979). text search
  • Esman, Milton J., and Itamar Rabinovich, eds. Ethnicity, Pluralism, and the State in the Middle East (1988)
  • Gurr, Ted Robert, and Barbara Harff. Ethnic Conflict in World Politics (1994) online
  • Hutcheon, Linda (1998). "Crypto-Ethnicity" (PDF). PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America. 113 (1): 28–51.
  • Jones, Larry Eugene & Retallack, James, eds.. Between Reform, Reaction, and Resistance. Studies in the History of German Conservatism from 1789 to 1945 (1993). text search
  • Kramer, Lloyd. Nationalism in Europe & America: Politics, Cultures, and Identities since 1775 (2011) online
  • Mohler, Armin. Die Konservative Revolution in Deutschland 1918–1932 (1972). excerpt and text search
  • Smith, Anthony D. The Ethnic Origins of Nations (1986) excerpt and text search
  • Smith, Anthony D. The Nation in History: Historiographical Debates about Ethnicity and Nationalism (2000) excerpt and text search
  • Smith, Anthony D. The Antiquity of Nations (2004)
  • Sunic, Tomislav. Postmortem Report: Cultural Examinations from Postmodernity. Shamley Green, UK: The Paligenesis Project, 2010.
  • Venner, Dominique. Le Siècle de 1914. Utopies, guerres et révolutions en Europe au XXe siècle (2006). text search

External links

Azerbaijani nationalism

Azerbaijani nationalism (Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan milliyətçiliyi), also referred to as Azerbaijanism (Azərbaycançılıq), started out as a cultural movement among Azerbaijani intellectuals within the Russian Empire during the second half of the 19th century. While initially cultural in nature, it was later developed further into a political ideology which culminated in the establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in 1918.Compared to Armenian and Georgian nationalism, a specifically ethnic nationalism was rather slow to develop among Azerbaijanis, partly due to their self-identification as part of the larger Muslim world rather than as a singular ethnocultural nation. Following the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and its declaration of independence in 1991, however, Azerbaijan has witnessed the ascent of a particularly strong Azerbaijani nationalism, including various types of Pan-nationalism and irredentism.

Baloch nationalism

Baloch nationalism is a movement that claims the Baloch people, an ethno-linguistic group mainly found in Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan are a distinct nation. The movement propagates the view that Muslims are not a nation (the opposite of the concept behind the creation of Pakistan) and that ethnic loyalty must surpass religious loyalty, though this view has been challenged by both the 1971 independence of East Pakistan and the discrimination many Muhajir people have historically faced within Pakistan.The News International reported in 2012 that a Gallup survey conducted for DFID revealed that the majority of Baloch do not support independence from Pakistan. Only 37 percent of Baloch were in favour of independence. Amongst Balochistan's Pashtun population support for independence was even lower at 12 percent. However, a majority (67 percent) of Balochistan's population did favour greater provincial autonomy.

Benedict Anderson

Benedict Richard O'Gorman Anderson (August 26, 1936 – December 13, 2015) was a political scientist and historian, best known for his 1983 book Imagined Communities, which explored the origins of nationalism. Anderson was the Aaron L. Binenkorb Professor Emeritus of International Studies, Government & Asian Studies at Cornell University; he was a polyglot with an interest in southeast Asia. His work on the Cornell Paper, which debunked the official story of Indonesia's 30 September Movement and the subsequent anti-Communist purges of 1965–1966, led to his expulsion from that country. He was the brother of historian Perry Anderson.

Cultural nationalism

Cultural nationalism is a form of nationalism in which the nation is defined by a shared culture. It is an intermediate position between ethnic nationalism and civic nationalism. Therefore, it focuses on a national identity shaped by cultural traditions, but not on the concepts of common ancestry or race."Cultural nationalism" does not tend to manifest itself in independent movements, but is a moderate position within a larger spectrum of nationalist ideology.

Thus, moderate positions in Flemish, Hindu nationalisms can be "cultural nationalism" while these same movements also include forms of ethnic nationalism and national mysticism.

Expansionist nationalism

Expansionist nationalism, is an aggressive radical form of nationalism or ethnic nationalism (ethnonationalism) that incorporates autonomous, heightened ethnic consciousness and patriotic sentiments with atavistic fears and hatreds focused on "other" or foreign peoples, framing a belief in expansion or recovery of formerly owned territories through militaristic means.

Georgian nationalism

The beginning of Georgian nationalism can be traced to the middle of the 19th century, when Georgia was part of the Russian Empire. From being more culture-focused in the Imperial Russian and Soviet periods, it went through several phases, evolving into radical ethnocentric in the late 1980s and early in the post-Soviet independence years, and to a more inclusive and civic-oriented form in the mid-1990s. However, vestiges of ethnic nationalism remain among many Georgians.

Icelandic nationalism

Þjóðernishyggja is the Icelandic term for nationalism; nationmindedness is a rough translation of the term. Its use was instrumental in the Icelandic movement for independence from Denmark, led by independence hero Jón Sigurðsson.

Þjóðernishyggja is now commonly used for patriotism in Icelandic interchangeable with another word: Föðurlandsást, i. e. Love of one's country or patriotism. There is little difference between the two in Icelandic and they are considered to be the same by most.

Icelandic Nationalism or Þjóðernishyggja or Föðurlandsást is based upon the idea of resurrection of the Icelandic Free State, and its values (or what was believed to be its values): democracy, freedom of the individual, the need for the country to be independent, and respect for the cultural and religious traditions, specially the long preserved language. These ideas are often encoded in the popular phrase land, þjóð og tunga ('land, people, and language'). Historically, Icelanders have seen their current republic to be the reincarnation of the old Free state, and thus is Icelandic Nationalism today based upon preserving what was gained by the independence movement. Thus Icelandic nationalist sentiment, having some aspects of civic and ethnic nationalism, is highly respectful of democratic parliamentary powers (see resurrected Althing) and skeptical of foreign control over Iceland, which is partly responsible for the fact there is little will in Iceland for joining the European Union.


Indigenism can refer to several different ideologies associated with indigenous peoples, is used differently by a various scholars and activists, and can be used purely descriptively or carry political connotations.

Korean ethnic nationalism

Korean ethnic nationalism, or racial nationalism, is a political ideology and a form of ethnic (or racial) identity that is widely prevalent in modern North and South Korea. It is based on the belief that Koreans form a nation, a "race", and an ethnic group that shares a unified bloodline and a distinct culture. It is centered on the notion of the minjok (Hangul: 민족; Hanja: 民族), a term that had been coined in Imperial Japan ("minzoku") in the early Meiji period on the basis of Social Darwinian conceptions. Minjok has been translated as "nation", "people", "ethnic group", "race", and "race-nation".This conception started to emerge among Korean intellectuals after the Japanese-imposed Protectorate of 1905, when the Japanese were trying to persuade Koreans that both nations were of the same racial stock. The notion of the Korean minjok was first made popular by essayist and historian Shin Chaeho in his New Reading of History (1908), a history of Korea from the mythical times of Dangun to the fall of Balhae in 926 CE. Shin portrayed the minjok as a warlike race that had fought bravely to preserve Korean identity, had later declined, and now needed to be reinvigorated. During the period of Japanese rule (1910–1945), this belief in the uniqueness of the Korean minjok gave an impetus for resisting Japanese assimilation policies and historical scholarship.In contrast to Japan and Germany, where such race-based conceptions of the nation were discredited after the Second World War because they were associated with ultranationalism or Nazism, postwar North and South Korea continued to proclaim their ethnic homogeneity and pure bloodline. In the 1960s, President Park Chung-hee strengthened this "ideology of racial purity" to legitimate his authoritarian rule, while in North Korea official propaganda has portrayed Koreans as "the cleanest race." Contemporary Korean historians continue to write about the nation's "unique racial and cultural heritage." This shared conception of a racially defined Korea continues to shape Korean politics and foreign relations, gives Koreans an impetus to national pride, and feeds hopes for the reunification of the two Koreas.Despite statistics showing that South Korea is becoming an increasingly multi-ethnic society, most of the South Korean population continues to identify itself as "one people" (Korean: 단일민족; Hanja: 單一民族, danil minjok) joined by a common "bloodline". A renewed emphasis on the purity of Korean "blood" has caused tensions, leading to renewed debates on multi-ethnicity and racism both in South Korea and abroad.In South Korea, Korean racial nationalism has been described as constituting a civic religion of sorts.

Korean nationalism

Korean nationalism refers to nationalism among the Korean people. In the Korean context, this encompasses various movements throughout history to maintain the Korean cultural identity, history, and ethnicity. Korean nationalism tends to be ethnic and racial in nature, rather than civic.

Manchurian nationalism

Manchurian nationalism refers to the ethnic nationalism of the Manchu people or the territorial nationalism of the inhabitants of Manchuria, regardless of ethnic origin.

National mysticism

National mysticism (German Nationalmystik) is a form of nationalism which raises the nation to the status of numen or divinity. Its best known instance is Germanic mysticism, which gave rise to occultism under the Third Reich. The idea of the nation as a divine entity was presented by Johann Gottlieb Fichte. National mysticism is closely related to Romantic nationalism, but goes beyond the expounding of romantic sentiment, to a mystical veneration of the nation as a transcendent truth. It often intersects with ethnic nationalism by pseudohistorical assertions about the origins of a given ethnicity.

National mysticism is encountered in many nationalisms other than Germanic or Nazi mysticism, and expresses itself in the use of occult, pseudoscientific, or pseudohistorical beliefs to back up nationalistic claims, often involving unrealistic notions of the antiquity of a nation (antiquity frenzy) or any national myth defended as "true" by pseudo-scholarly means. Notable instances of national mysticism include:

The Sun Language Theory in Pan-Turkism

Kurdish nationalists often make the claim that they are the descendants of the Medes

Polish Sarmatism

Greek Epsilonism and Proto-Greeks theory (see also and List of Ancient Greek tribes)

Some branches of revisionist history theories of Bulgarians and Bulgaria (i.e. 'Thracomania') and Macedonian nationalist history theories

Narratives on the origin of the Albanians in Albanian nationalism

The Croat Illyrian movement

Romanian Protochronism

Philippine Destiny

The Battle of Kosovo as the national myth in Serbian nationalism

American Manifest Destiny

The Indigenous Aryans theory in Hindu nationalism

Currents of Tamil nationalism (as in Devaneya Pavanar)

Claims of interplanetary travel, possible existence of in-vitro fertilization and genetic engineering by Ancient Indians (102nd Indian Science Congress)

Some currents of Armenian nationalism (see Armenia, Subartu and Sumer)

Currents of Russian nationalism

Kabbalistic currents in religious Zionism

Swedish Gothicism

Hungarian Holy Crown Doctrine


Panethnicity is a political neologism used to group various ethnic groups together based on their related cultural origins; geographic, linguistic, religious, or 'racial' similarities are often used alone or in combination to draw panethnic boundaries.

The term panethnic was used extensively during mid-twentieth century anti-colonial/national liberation movements. In the United States, Yen Espiritu popularized the term and coined the nominal term panethnicity in reference to Asian Americans, a racial category composed of disparate ethnic groups having in common only their origin in Asia.It has since seen some use as a replacement of race; for example, the aforementioned Asian Americans can be described as "a panethnicity" of various unrelated peoples of Asia, which are nevertheless perceived as a distinguishable group within the larger multiracial North American society.

More recently the term has also come to be used in contexts outside multiculturalism in US society, as a general replacement for terms like ethnolinguistic group or racial group.The concept is to be distinguished from "pan-nationalism", which similarly groups related ethnicities but in the context of either ethnic nationalism (e.g. Pan-Arabism, Pan-Celticism, Pan-Germanism, Pan-Iranism, Pan-Slavism, Pan-Turkism), or civic nationalism (e.g. Pan-Africanism).


Revanchism (French: Revanchisme, from revanche, "revenge") is the political manifestation of the will to reverse territorial losses incurred by a country, often following a war or social movement. As a term, revanchism originated in 1870s France in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War among nationalists who wanted to avenge the French defeat and reclaim the lost territories of Alsace-Lorraine.Revanchism draws its strength from patriotic and retributionist thought and is often motivated by economic or geo-political factors. Extreme revanchist ideologues often represent a hawkish stance, suggesting that their desired objectives can be achieved through the positive outcome of another war. It is linked with irredentism, the conception that a part of the cultural and ethnic nation remains "unredeemed" outside the borders of its appropriate nation state. Revanchist politics often rely on the identification of a nation with a nation state, often mobilizing deep-rooted sentiments of ethnic nationalism, claiming territories outside the state where members of the ethnic group live, while using heavy-handed nationalism to mobilize support for these aims. Revanchist justifications are often presented as based on ancient or even autochthonous occupation of a territory since "time immemorial", an assertion that is usually inextricably involved in revanchism and irredentism, justifying them in the eyes of their proponents.

Russian nationalism

Russian nationalism, the Russian version of nationalism, promotes the celebration, appreciation and love for (ethnic) Russian culture and history, as well as Russian cultural identity and unity. Russian nationalism first rose in the early 19th and became closely related to pan-Slavism, from its origin during the Russian Empire to the Soviet era and beyond.

Scottish nationalism

Scottish nationalism promotes the idea that the Scottish people form a cohesive nation and national identity and is closely linked to the cause of Scottish home rule and Scottish independence, the ideology of the Scottish National Party, the party forming the Scottish Government. Scottish nationalism is characterised as civic nationalism rather than ethnic nationalism in that the Scottish people are defined as those living in the country, regardless of race or culture.

The Acts of Union merged the independent kingdoms of Scotland and England into Great Britain in 1707, but a separate legal system and distinct Scottish institutions continued to exist.Linguistic independence was an important part of the twentieth-century Scottish Renaissance, associated with the nationalist impetus provided by Hugh MacDiarmid.

Tamil nationalism

Tamil nationalism is the ideology which asserts that the Tamil people constitute a nation and promotes the cultural unity of Tamil people. Tamil nationalism is primarily a secular nationalism, that focus on language and homeland. It expresses itself in the form of linguistic purism ("Pure Tamil"), nationalism and irredentism ("Tamil Eelam"), Social equality ("Self-Respect Movement") and Tamil Renaissance.

Tamils are one of the oldest civilisations in the world with a rich culture and language. Originally, Tamil people ruled in Tamilakam and parts of Sri Lanka. During the colonial period, the Tamil areas came under the rule of British India and Ceylon. This saw the end of the sovereignty of Tamils and reduced them to minority status under a political model implemented during the British Raj. Since the independence of India and Sri Lanka, Tamil separatist movements have been actively suppressed in both countries.A famous quote by Tamil poet Kannadasan about the Tamils as a stateless nation.

Types of nationalism

Many scholars argue that there is more than one type of nationalism. Nationalism may manifest itself as part of official state ideology or as a popular non-state movement and may be expressed along civic, ethnic, cultural, religious or ideological lines. These self-definitions of the nation are used to classify types of nationalism. However, such categories are not mutually exclusive and many nationalist movements combine some or all of these elements to varying degrees. Nationalist movements can also be classified by other criteria, such as scale and location.

Some political theorists make the case that any distinction between forms of nationalism is false. In all forms of nationalism, the populations believe that they share some kind of common culture. A main reason why such typology can be considered false is that it attempts to bend the fairly simple concept of nationalism to explain its many manifestations or interpretations. Arguably, all types of nationalism merely refer to different ways academics throughout the years have tried to define nationalism. This school of thought accepts that nationalism is simply the desire of a nation to self-determine.


Yugoslav or Yugoslavian may refer to:

Yugoslavia, or any of the three historic states carrying that name:

Kingdom of Yugoslavia, a European monarchy which existed 1918–1945 (officially called "Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes" 1918–1929)

Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia or SFR Yugoslavia, a federal republic which succeeded the monarchy and existed 1945–1992

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, or FR Yugoslavia, a new federal state formed by two successor republics of SFR Yugoslavia established in 1992 and renamed "Serbia and Montenegro" in 2003 before its dissolution in 2006

Yugoslav government-in-exile, an official government of Yugoslavia, headed by King Peter II

Yugoslav Counter-Intelligence Service

Yugoslav Inter-Republic League

Yugoslav Social-Democratic Party, a political party in Slovenia and Istria during the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Kingdom of YugoslaviaYugoslav may also refer to:

Yugoslavs, either citizens of any of the former Yugoslav states, or for people who self-identify as ethnic Yugoslavs

Yugoslavism, various strands of supra-ethnic nationalism proposed for South Slav peoples of southeastern Europe

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