Territorial nationalism

Territorial nationalism describes a form of nationalism based on the religious-like belief that all inhabitants of a particular nation owe allegiance to their country of birth or adoption.[1] According to territorial nationalism every individual must belong to a nation, but can choose which one to join.[2] A sacred quality is sought in this nation and in the popular memories it evokes.[3] Citizenship is idealized by a territorial nationalist.[3] A criterion of a territorial nationalism is the establishment of a mass, public culture based on common values and traditions of the population.[2][3] Legal equality is essential for territorial nationalism.[2]

Because citizenship rather than ethnicity is idealized by territorial nationalism, it is argued by Athena S. Leoussi and Anthony D. Smith (in 2001) that the French Revolution was a territorial nationalistic uprising.[3]

Territorial nationalism in Europe

In Western Europe national identity tends to be more based on where a person is born than in Central and Eastern Europe.[4] Scholars have argued this might be explained by the fact that states in the later two emerged from imperial states.[5] The communist regimes in the Eastern Bloc actively suppressed what they described as "bourgeois nationalism"[5] and considered nationalism a bourgeois ideology.[6] In the Soviet Union this led to Russification and other attempts to replace the other cultures of the Soviet Union with the Russian culture,[5] even while, at the same time the Soviet Union promoted certain forms of nationalism that it considered compatible with Soviet interests.[7] Yugoslavia was different from the other European Communist states, where Yugoslavism was promoted.[5]

Territorial nationalism in the Middle East

Although territorial nationalism is in contrast with the universality of Islam,[8] especially Egypt and Tunisia had territorial nationalistic policies after gaining independence.[1] This was gradually replaced by Pan-Arabism in the 1950s, but Pan-Arabism declined by the mid-1970s.[8][9]

Territorial nationalism in North America

Just as in Western Europe, national identity tends to be more based on where a person is born than ethnicity.[4]

See also


  1. 1 2 Middle East and North Africa: Challenge to Western Security by Peter Duignan and L.H. Gann, Hoover Institution Press, 1981, ISBN 978-0-8179-7392-6 (p. 22)
  2. 1 2 3 The Populist Challenge: Political Protest and Ethno-Nationalist Mobilization in France by Jens Rydgren, Berghahn Books, 2004, ISBN 1571816917
  3. 1 2 3 4 Encyclopaedia of Nationalism by Athena S. Leoussi and Anthony D. Smith, Transaction Publishers, 2001, ISBN 978-0-7658-0002-2, (p. 62)
  4. 1 2 Territory: The Claiming of Space by David Storey, Prentice Hall, 2003, ISBN 978-0-582-32790-0
  5. 1 2 3 4 Changing Europe: Identities, Nations and Citizens by David Dunkerley, Lesley Hodgson, Stanislaw Konopacki, and Tony Spybey, Routledge, 2002, ISBN 978-0-415-26777-9
  6. Khiterer, V. (2004) 'Nationalism in the Soviet Union', in Encyclopedia of Russian History, Macmillan Reference USA
  7. The Revenge of the Past: Nationalism, Revolution, and the Collapse of the Soviet Union by Ronald Grigor Suny, Stanford University Press, 1993, ISBN 0804722471
  8. 1 2 The emergence of territorial nationalism in the contemporary Arab Middle East by Kenneth W. Stein, 1982
  9. "Arab Unity." The Continuum Political Encyclopedia of the Middle East. Ed. Avraham Sela. New York: Continuum, 2002. pp. 160–166.
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