The following example essay on “Emergence Of Nation States” reveals the emergence of nation states, offers a framework of relevant facts based on the recent research in the field. It answers the question when did the nation state emerge?
The historic state was formed of feudal societies, where the Kingdom had to be governed to its best potential. Control over the land was a crucial task as there were threats of warfare from other Kingdoms. The form of control of feudal societies were that of warfare and economic.
The other method of control was for instance “Theatre of Atrocity” – a concept used by Foucault. This control sends out the message that the King’s power is overwhelming and who dares displease the King will forfeit. This was practised by the barons and nights. Subsequently absolutist monarchs started to manage their populaces including the serfs intensively.
The state started considering making use of its populaces as a use value. They used what Foucault called new technologies of power, which works by “dressage”.
Foucault defines dressage as an exercise to demonstrate control with no productive end. A society engages in this action for the purpose of demonstrating control and discipline in spectacle performance. There are rewards and penalties to this application of dressage. The application of these concepts by the Kingdom leads to the state that was managing itself by competition and improved methods of doing things.
It was Taylorism even before Taylor. But why was the state pushed to use these methods? Perhaps it was the pressure of warfare and accumulation of revenues.
Managing a population gradually becomes a matter of ‘dressage’ instead of staging a “Theatre of Atrocity”: a transition to an absolutist state. In some place and time people had become emotionally attached to their own sates. Anderson’s study on the Creole classes demonstrates this best. Anderson is concerned with determining why it was Creole that developed early conceptions of their belongingness, nation-ness well before most of Europe.
The Creoles started to have the sense of belongingness between each others. The contrast to the metropolis contributed greatly to the emergence of this sense. Thus a sense of distancing people who were not part of this community emerged. However the belongingness itself is left unexplained by Anderson. Anderson’s study showed that between 1808 and 1828 those of upper Creole classes were financially ruined. The interesting facts are that people were willing to give up their lives for the cause. This represents some form of emotional attachment.
In the long run the sates regarded this as an advantage as people were wiling to sacrifice their lives for their community – a community that is imagined. Anderson in fact defines nation as “an imagined political community … imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign. … Communities are to be distinguished … by the style in which they are imagined”. For Anderson, the notion of ‘imagined’ is very important. National identity is not inherent in the individual, but is “formed and transformed within and in relation to representation.
We only know what it is to be ‘English’ because of the way ‘Englishness’ has come to be represented, as a set of meanings, by English national culture. … a nation is not only a political entity but something which produces meanings – a system of cultural representation. … People … participate in the idea of the nation as represented by its national culture”. Anderson notes that the nation is imagined because “the members of even the smallest nation will never know each of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion”.
Finally, it is a community in that “the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship” even though there may be inequalities within it”. Anderson’s study of “official nationalism” identified that these national emotional attachments were threatening absolutist states (e. g. , Russia, England, and Japan) and so these regimes were “required to permit the empire to appear attractive in national drag”. This could mean that this national drag disguised the features as imperialising mission and suppression of other nations, by figuring themselves as nations and not empires.
So the absolutist state used nationalism as a tool to manage the population. We saw the state manages the population through many ways and one of the best sociological understandings of state management comes from Giddens’ work. Modifying Foucault’s view of power he argues that through surveillance the state manages the population and economy. He believes this is a key attribute of modern states. The populace in return resists this surveillance.
These surveillance techniques were not free from weakness. People were still to belong to something: judgments were made on biological, cultural, territorial or religious difference. These are being practiced even today. For example in order to qualify for citizenship rights people have to be a member of that particular territory. In the case of America immigrants need to pass a citizenship exam, which is also what the British government is looking into at the moment.
Those who do not fit particular categories do not qualify for citizenship rights. However there is another concern here. What is it to be American for example? As seen in Anderson’s study, there is no doubt that “imagined culture” exists. I was born between an American father and a Japanese mother. I only hold American passport. Is being American to be half Japanese and half American? “Imagined belongingness” prevails also within the context of qualifying for citizenship rights.
In sum the state has the power to include and exclude people from its territory and through this they can practise nationalist ideology. Category Type of surveillance Locale of resistance Example Civil Rights Surveillance as policing Judicial and punitive organisations controlling ‘deviant’ conduct Law court the locale for resistance, but extends to all situations in which this type of surveillance carried out If I was wrongfully arrested then I have the opportunity to claim that “I am not guilty as charged! Political Rights Surveillance as reflexive monitoring of state administrative power Parliaments the locale for resistance but extends to all situations in which this type of surveillance carried out In 1834 six farm workers from Tolpuddle, Dorset were found guilty on trumped-up charges related to their membership in a clandestine trade union. Soon, petitions pleading for mercy were pouring into Parliament. Free pardons had been granted to all six men.
Economic Rights Surveillance as management of production (This surveillance is that of, for example, fordism or taylorism: a scientific management of production) Workplace the locale. Main settings for resistance are found in the mechanics of collective bargaining – trade unions and employers. (The state stays out of this locale of resistance) If I am fed up with how my manager treats me I will bring this up with my trade union representative. Unison is a public worker trade union. Each organization has several representatives to give advise and pressure the right people as appropriate.