Digest of terms


A romantic notion of nationalism enjoins that nationality is and should be the supreme factor in an individual's identity and loyalty; a more overtly political notion is that every nation should have a state. The question begged in both cases is what is to count as a nation. Criteria adduced have included language, blood lines, organic links to the soil and/or a geographically delimited homeland, national character, a particular shared history, or a particular religious allegiance (e.g. Hindu nationalism). There is a marked tension between a nationalist ethic and the values of universal worldviews, both secular (Marxist, socialist) and religious (Buddhist, Christian, Muslim), yet such is its power that it can draw these into its orbit.

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