Nationality and Nationalism

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Nationality and Nationalism

Chapter 7.01: Nationality and Nationalism

  1. Nationalism

This can be considered to be both a centrifugal and centripetal force. Nationalism’s centrifugal tendencies arise when nations adopt a perverse breed of this force, and therefore divides a nation. This was evidenced in Hitler’s Nazi Germany, in which the hyper-nationalism afforded to ethnic Protestant-Germans by the government created a steep divide with the German-Jews. Nazi public policy, which was essentially a manifestation of ethnocentrism, segregated Jews and non-Germans into ghettos and concentration camps.

Nationalism’s centripetal facet most often displays itself in the wake of natural disasters. For instance, after the terrorist attack in New York City on September 11, 2001, there was a resurgence of nationalism in that Americans of all creeds, ethnicities, and races banded together in unity. The American flag was displayed everywhere and a sense of American pride enveloped the nation.


Ethnocentrism’s identification as centrifugal and centripetal is predicated upon a nation’s diversity. For instance, in a homogenous society, such as Japan, ethnocentrism proves to be a unifying force since nearly all members of that society share the same culture and ancestry, and therefore, no division is caused as a result of cultural differences, making ethnocentrism a centripetal force.