Blood And Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism


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In his role as public intellectual, Ignatieff has spent great time, attention, and personal capital calling our attention to the fundamental conflicts of principle which confront the liberal world as it faces terrorism, ethnic conflict, demands for national self-determination, and its own internal political pathologies.

All three books involved first-hand exposure to violence at some real personal risk. Ignatieff imaginatively revisits the violence in Kosovo in his novel, Charlie Johnson in the Flames , telling the story of a war correspondent who, suddenly, in a moment of intense contact with a woman burned to death in an act of ethnic violence, breaks down and loses all personal distance from the violence. That was it.

A laying on of hands. The flame of recognition and shame would jump the gap between one soul and another. Something like that. One way or the other, a kind of religious occasion, a righteous moment. Ignatieff synthesizes this empirical and imaginative work on nationalism and ethnic conflict in two lectures bound together in the short, powerful book Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry , in which he reasons that most Western states are choosing to ignore the tension between rights and stability.

The idea that political actors frequently err by failing to recognize the existence of fundamental conflicts of principle within liberalism is an idea that Ignatieff attributes to Isaiah Berlin.


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The compromises that made liberal society viable were rarely painless and sometimes they involved real damage and harm. Tragedy was intrinsic to choice because all choice entailed significant loss. Adkins, a woman who chooses assisted suicide rather than watch her life ebb away through dementia. Ignatieff compels the reader to recognize that Moe and Mrs. Adkins are faced with the same fundamental conflict of principle:. You can choose to die, or you can choose that life beyond selfhood, the life beyond the gates of truth.

In This Review

The book was published in , and so the historical narrative is a little out of date, but it still serves as a collection of short case studies to describe what nationalism is, and how it can thrive. For all quotes I am giving the Kindle location numbers as I do not have the corresponding physical page numbers. Nationalism Nationalism can be defined in multiple ways.

As a cultural ideal, nationalism is the claim that while men and women have many identities, it is the nation which provides them with their primary form of belonging. What makes a nation an actual nation can differ.


  • Blood and belonging : journeys into the new nationalism.
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Nations are bound together by multiple bonds. They could be bond together by language, religion, political beliefs, historical myths, or any combination of these. Ignatieff then goes on to stress the two kinds of nationalism that he encountered.


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The first kind, ethnic nationalism, is based on the idea that the strongest bond within a people will always be the one of the blood. Peoeples sharing the same genes, sharing the same ancestors, feel close to each other. The second kind, civic nationalism, is based on the idea that people have now gone past the allure of the blood, and live together feeling like a nation because of shared beliefs in politics, in how to run a state.

Cosmopolitanism Another notion that Ignatieff introduces as parallel to nationalism, is the one of cosmopolitanism. Cosmopolitans are people who seem to live in a world where the nation state has lost its relevance. They travel internationally, they speak many languages, and their friends straddle state borders. Now, the author makes it very clear that the new emerging cosmopolitanism will underwrite the end of goold old nationalisms: It is only too apparent that cosmopolitanism is the privilege of those who can take a secure nation state for granted.

Though we have passed into a post-imperial age, we are not in a post-nationalist age, and I cannot see how we will never do so. The cosmopolitan order of the great cities — London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris — depends critically on the rule-enforcing capacities of the nation state. Federalism Federalism then, can be thought of as a super-system of nations binding themselves together into a state.

The subcomponents might be ethnic nations, but the result is a civic nation, with shared politics.

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It is always an interesting question to wonder why the subcomponents would prefer to be tied together to the point of becoming one single state. And it is also an interesting question whether or not federal states can survive in the long term. Ignatieff reflects about his homeland of Canada: Other people besides Canadians should be concerned if Canada dies.

Canada has the resources to appease the economic resentments that nationalism feeds upon. As a parliamentary democracy, it has a political culture in which nationalist demands can be conciliated by argument rather than repressed by force. Jul 29, Chris rated it really liked it Shelves: extemp.

This book is not a Grand Theory of Nationalism presented, but instead an account of the rise of various strains of nationalism that caused an outbreak of violence in the early s. Ignatieff, who was an academic at the time, and is now an MP in the Canadian parliament and Deputy Leader of the Labor Party, does a good job of showing the shape of nationalism; describing how arbitrary and senseless it can be at times at the same time as demonstrating its power.

Much of the book reads in a way tha This book is not a Grand Theory of Nationalism presented, but instead an account of the rise of various strains of nationalism that caused an outbreak of violence in the early s. Much of the book reads in a way that assumes a knowledge of the theory of nationalism -- Gellner, Anderson, Hobsbawm -- but it's not necessary to have read those guys to read it.

Anyone can understand his account of the breakup of Yugoslavia, only recently completed. He pokes into Germany at its most unstable moment just after unification, and the strained, post-Holocaust feel to German nationalism. He also goes through Ukraine, Kurdistan, Northern Ireland, and Quebecois separatism prior to the referendum and Parizeau's scandalous remarks.

This is a good book all around, but I'd especially recommend it to younger folks who don't remember the events of the early 90s first hand and want a good grounding in the consequences of the cold war and what emerged to take its place.

"The tragedy of Loyalism" (from 'Ulster Protestants: Blood and Belonging')

Jul 14, Kim rated it really liked it Shelves: canada , non-fiction. The book explores the idea of nationalism and nationhood, which should not be assumed synonymous with statehood. I picked it up because a. The introductory chapter was largely expository, bu The book explores the idea of nationalism and nationhood, which should not be assumed synonymous with statehood.

The introductory chapter was largely expository, but the following chapters on individual regions incl. Yugoslavia, Kurdistan, Ukraine were, thankfully, in more of his journalistic style. He still used a few too many -isms for my taste, though.

Blood and Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism

It was challenging for me to recall the state of the world as it was when this was written , so I give him the benefit of the doubt for his various forecasts of trouble ahead. Bottom line: I thought it was a very interesting read, and gave me a lot to think about. If you're interested, you could probably just watch his BBC series upon which the book was based. Jul 01, J. Dunn rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction , canadian , 20th-century , the90s , history , middle-east , europe , balkans , nationalism , cold-war.

Case studies in the chaotic resurrection of ethnic nationalism in the post-cold-war world. The Balkans, Quebec, reunified Germany, etc. Another interesting and important facet of the general shape of things that I know little of, and could stand to learn about. Mar 20, Richard Ambrosio added it.

Blood and Belonging: Journeys Into the New Nationalism - Michael Ignatieff - Google книги

It had been a while since I had read anything from Michael Ignatieff. It's a good reminder of his scholarly life before the sometimes miserable profession of politics. Even if you don't agree with all his ideas, there's no denying the quality of his craft and prose. Mar 17, Amhare Gilo added it. Jan 03, Claire Selwood rated it it was amazing. This book ignited my academic interest in the question of nationalism, while at university.

Since then I've re-read recently and his writing style is still great. Aug 18, Dirk rated it really liked it. One of those must-reads before election day Matt rated it liked it Mar 27, Michael rated it really liked it Feb 12, Passar bra ihop.

ISBN 13: 9780374114404

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Blood And Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism Blood And Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism
Blood And Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism Blood And Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism
Blood And Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism Blood And Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism
Blood And Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism Blood And Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism
Blood And Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism Blood And Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism
Blood And Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism Blood And Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism
Blood And Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism Blood And Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism
Blood And Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism Blood And Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism

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