This week’s reading discussed the rise of nationalism and the emerging role of women. Hosbawm explains that there was a dramatic leap in nationalism from 1880-1914, the ideology of nationalism completely changed. Before, it was associated with liberal and radical movements and this new definition of nationalism encompassed a number of new factors. For example, there was a tendency to define a nation in terms of ethnicity and language, and/or any group that claimed themselves to be a nation. He also explains that in the 20th century, nationalism was now the creation of people that could read and write and no longer of those that spoke. It became a definition of territory when there were mass migrations during the 20th century. Second, Hosbawm talks about the changing role of women during this time. The major aspect that he talks about is the declining birth rates. He attributes this change to women marrying later and by more of them staying unmarried, or by some means of birth control. In addition to the decline in birth rates, women were taking on more jobs in the public sphere due to the economic revolution.
I thought it was interesting how much birth control transformed family life. Since, families were getting smaller there was more resources available to the children and the hope of doing better than their parents was now a possibility for them. In addition, birth control gave women more of a chance of entering the workforce.