Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Nation, People, Theory, Politics, Society, Sociology, Economics, Nationalism

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2020/11/11


The concept of "nation" is inextricably linked with the concept of "state". People become a nation only when they create state and gain control over the institutions of public violence. State is a political organization, which has sovereignty, a special apparatus of coercion and governance, which establishes the legal order in a certain area. Nation - people who has created a dependent on it government and has at its disposal territory, the borders of which are more or less respected by other nations. In other words, the nation is the people organized in the state. In most countries of the world, the concept of "nation" is political not ethnic: it is identical to citizenship. Being a source of authority in the state, citizens enjoy its protection, both within the country and abroad. Thus the state and the nation are perceived as interdependent phenomena which have a number of similar features:
Ethnic generality (culture, language, lifestyle) - ethnic groups are rooted in race and tribe, when there was blood ties between members of the community. With growth of population and development between people ties and relationships a tribal community was replaced by neighboring community. The main feature of generality of people has become not kinship but common territory, within which communications and relations were developing, a system of values, language and culture were formed.
Territory - in this area are developing household and economic relations, the whole territory of the State are governed by the legislation. The boundaries of the territory recognized and respected by other states, are protected by law from infringement.
Developed economy - historical economic ties and relations, accepted in this society the forms of management constitute the national economic system.
National identity - the correlation by the person himself to one or another national community. If people do not recognize themselves as a nation then despite the ethnic community, a common territory, the economy, the presence of the state, it is not a nation in the truest sense of this word. For example, the Germans after the defeat in World War II ceased to consider themselves as a nation. They call themselves the German people, but not a nation, but have all the characteristics inherent to this form of ethnic community. In opposition, American people recognize themselves as a nation, despite the fact that they have no national homogeneity. Thus, about the nation as a real-life phenomenon we can only speak in cases when the people have national consciousness. If there is no national identity, it is possible to speak of a general ethnic origin, but no more. ( M. O. Dickerson et al. 41- 44)

Theories on the origins of the State

There is no consensus about the causes of the emergence of state. There are several theories that explain the origin of the state, but none of them can be the ultimate truth.
Contractual theory of the state. According to the contractual theory, the state arose as a result of the conclusion of the social contract. People have agreed among themselves to unite in the state union, to create authority and to obey it. The need to unite the people was dictated by the emergence of social inequality, which gave rise to injustice and conflicts, as well as by the objectives of survival under conditions of natural disasters and surroundings by hostile tribes. This theory became widespread in the HVII - XVIII centuries and its most outstanding representatives were H. Grotius, Spinoza, Hobbes, J.-J. Rousseau and others. Representatives of the contractual theory believed that the agreement on the formation of the state was concluded between each member of the society and the state. According to the agreement, people transferred their rights to the state, which is obliged to protect their property and safety. Thus, not divine Will, but the people themselves and their conscious activity caused the formation of the state.
The supporters of this theory assume that the state precedes the natural state of society. It has been variously interpreted by different scientists. Hobbes believed that this was the state of "war of all against all." Rousseau, on the contrary, proceeded from the fact that people in this state possess natural, innate rights and freedoms, that it was a "golden age" of humanity. But after the emergence of private property arose social inequality. According to Rousseau, the sovereignty in the state belongs to the people as a whole, and the rulers are only the servants of the people and obliged to report to them. Rulers can be changed by the will of the people, even through rebellion.
Theory of violence. This theory explains the origin of the state by the conquest of one tribe by another, i.e., military-political factor. After the conquest the winners tend using violence to assert their dominance and form for this purpose the government agency. The representative of this theory K. Kautskiy (1854 - 1938) argued that slavery arises from the war with foreign communities, tribes of winners subordinates to itself the tribe of defeated, appropriates their land and then forces the defeated tribe to work for the winners, to pay them tribute or taxes. There is an apparatus of coercion to control the vanquished. (Shaapera et al. 16 – 19)
Organic theory. Its leading representative was an English philosopher H. Spencer, who lived in the nineteenth century. Spencer believed that society as a living organism, exposed to the staged development, such as the transition from simple to complex. This complication he had seen, in particular, in uniting of people in such social groups, as a tribe, confederacy of tribes, city-states, etc. According to Spencer, society functions like the human body. State is the result of the conquest and enslavement by strong tribes of weaker, and with the expansion of the practice of conquests the structure of society complicates, classes emerge, a special ruling class stands out. Militarized society achieves unity on the basis of state, power, hierarchical organization.
Marxist theory. In the mid-nineteenth century emerged a Marxist theory of the origin of the state. Its basic postulates are described in the works of Marx and Engels "The German Ideology "," The Communist Manifesto," in the book of Engels " The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State." The main reason for the origin of state by the founders of Marxism was the split of society into antagonistic classes with irreconcilable interests, which was due to changes in the economic base, which, in turn, resulted in the emergence of private property. All this undermined from inside the tribal society. Hence they defined the state as a result of primarily socio-economic processes of social development. In the state authority begins to represent the interests of only one part of the population - the economically dominant class, which becomes the politically dominant class. The state arises as a weapon in the hands of the propertied classes to keep in check and suppress the resistance of the poor. This role of the state is provided by the creation of special organs of coercion (army, police, courts, prisons). (Shaapera et al. 16 – 19)


Most important condition for the integrity of the state is the integrity of the nation, of the people, that is its universal subordination of the existing government. In some countries the ideology and practice of ethnic nationalism are rapidly gaining ground. From a theoretical point of view, nationalism is able to perform the function of unifying principle, reducing the tensions of social conflicts and depth of social fractures. However, the most important question remains to what extent nationalism really unites rather than divides people, requiring them to devote to the "nation", which is not identical with the interests of the state. The political significance of nationalism is closely connected with the doctrine of the right of nations to self-determination. The right of nations to self-determination was the ideological justification for the release of the "third world" countries from the colonial dependence that started after the Second World War. The creation of nation-states in the regions, many of which have not known any statehood, was with great difficulty, and the theory of the "design" of new civil nations in Asia and Africa in the process of modernization, actively propagating in 1960s, in many cases proved its practical inconsistency. But the main problem was and is that the full political self-determination of all ethnic and linguistic groups is simply unattainable. (Edward et al. 77 – 81)
Ethnic, regional and religious differences and inequalities, and the nature of social order and political regime of individual states can cause crises and conflicts until the division of the nation on new national formations - states. The emergence of various separatist movements in many countries leads to conflict, political instability, undermining the foundations of a sovereign state. For these reasons and under the influence of the ideology of ethnic nationalism in the late 20th century several multi - ethnic civil nations have been broken. Instead of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia emerged more than 20 new multi-ethnic civil societies, where there is a complex process of the formation of new nations. Inside the civil nations the political and armed movements of separatism or irredentism (tribalism) may occur on an ethnic, religious or regional basis. Such movements exist in many countries (United Kingdom, India, Spain, Italy, Canada, China, Sri Lanka, many countries in Africa), and they represent a major threat to the integrity and the peaceful development of civil nations. After the collapse of the USSR such movements, including in the form of armed recession, occurred in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Russia. If we look at our history, we can notice that nationalism is the negative force. It is not only becoming more intense, but also complicates its manifestations. (Edward et al. 77 – 89)


Edward Mortimer, Robert Fine. (2011). People, Nation and State: The Meaning of Ethnicity and Nationalism
M. O. Dickerson, Thomas Flanagan, Brenda O'Neill. (2010). An Introduction to Government and Politics: A Conceptual Approach
Shaapera, Simon Aondohemba. (2012). Theories of the state: perspectives on the Nigerian variant

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