Chip Taylor Communications

Subject: History

Europe and America in the Modern Age Series

Stanford University Professors James Sheehan and David Kennedy present in-depth lectures on the concept of liberalism as a theoretical framework for examining the interrelationships between the histories of Europe and America. Produced by the Stanford University Channel. Programs available on 20 individual Click for more

9. Nationalism and Liberalism

09. Nationalism and Liberalism

In this program Professor James Sheehan introduces the concepts of nation and nationalism. He discusses the failure of European revolutions of 1848, and the emergence of the new nations of Italy and Germany during the 1860s. He also argues that nationalism is more of an illusion than an ideological reality. Sheehan believes that nationalism is not a social or political force stimulating the birth of nations, rather it is a "product of the power and authority of nation states." Sheehan shows how a people's desire for self-determination through nation-forming has allowed them to be manipulated by their rulers, who have used nationalism to further their own parochial goals. He suggests, however, that historically there has been a significant risk to promoting nationalism, in that rulers have often been deposed after wars were lost. Sheehan emphasizes his own belief that the concept of nationalism is nothing more than an ideological myth. He argues that unlike liberalism, democracy, or socialism, nationalism does nothing to guide a society through an uncertain political future or "to resolve conflicts of interest or power." Sheehan states that as seductive a concept as it is, "nationalism is a mythical projection of community and cohesiveness that transcends the differences within the population...[it] represents an imagined community...where social, political, and economic problems can be ignored." 99/10DE SCA 50 min.

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