Community Identity

Historians as well as most other analysts of modern industrial society have long taken it for granted that modernization and national political integration are directly related…Indeed, given the powerful instrumentalities of mass persuasion, political management, and social manipulation at the disposal of modern centralized states—especially control of national information networks and educational systems—any outcome to the modernizing enterprise other than the formation of an ethnically and culturally homogenous population with a single national identity could hardly be imagined…

But it is precisely the potential of ethnic minority nationalism for generating social violence as well as the possibility that its spokesmen may be pointing the way toward new forms of political organization that make it imperative for contemporary social science to come to terms with this phenomenon…[Cynthia H.] Enloe suggests that ethnicity may be qualitatively much different—less rigid and tradition-bound, more resilient and adaptive to modern industrial conditions—than most scholars have long assumed…that ethnic feeling may in fact respond to deep-seated human needs for community identity, thus forming “a basis for social relationships more enduring and less instrumental than occupation, status, and legal right.”

[from the introduction to The Bretons Against France: Ethnic Minority Nationalism in Twentieth-Century Brittany by Jack E. Reece, 1977, University of North Carolina Press ]

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~ by Jay Taber on January 26, 2007.

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