Sunday, December 13, 2009

Post nationalism and transnationalism

The first reading by Bamyeh discusses post-nationalism. Postnationalism refers to the process by which cultural identity has become less important on the grounds of establishing a more global network that integrates political, economic and social ideology. This article goes back to what we talked about during the discussions on nationalism during Hobsbawm's The Age of Empire section in class. Nationalism, as it came to be called in the 19th century, was different than it had been in the past. One of the four "mutations", as they were called, was that the new meaning of nationalism called for defining a nation based on the ethnic and language similarities of the people living in one area. Bamyeh argues that we are now living in a world that is past this sort of nationalistic approach. He uses the example of warfare to illustrate this point. Bamyeh says that wars fought after WWII were not fought on account of nationalism, but fought to preserve the nation as it stood at the time. He pretty much argues that beliefs of cultural superiority are because of the way the world interacts today.

We also discussed transnationalism which seems to stem from the ideas set forth of postnationalism. As we are moving away from our ethnocentric views, there is now more than ever an increased sense of the global community. Transnationalism is pretty much synonymous with globalization. Halle argues that transnationalism was made possible by the communication and information sharing that occurs on the internet. Cultural distinctions are becoming much less important and less clear than they were even 20 years ago as the people across the world enjoy many of the same things. Corportations, restaurant chains and films that were once considered as belonging to one particular culture are now mainstream parts of society in many different places all over the globe.

What I found interesting in this particular section is that transnationalism seem to be phenomena occuring between core nations and peripheral nations alike, but post-nationalism seems to be something that is occurring between the core nations only. For example, places like American Samoa are immersed in culture that has been brought to them by the United States and other powers that had dominated the area during the colonial era. Although Americans may now share a lot of the same mainstream films,restaurants, etc., there are still alot of people who feel as though American or western culture is superior to the cultures of the Pacific. Or take for example, the middle east. Places like Iraq or Syria were major players and seem to be highly important to the development of the modern economic system, Islamic cultures are often portrayed as inferior and less important than western cultures despite the fact many of the same corporations that we are accustomed to in America, also have a presence in the middle eastern countries. The question that I would like to pose is: do you think that we are now living in a truly post-nationalistic world or has transnationalism just diverted our attention away from the nationalistic ideals that had previously consumed the world.

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