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108

The Nation-State: Persistence or Transcendence?

5
terms
3
notes

Benedict Anderson and Tom Nairn. Jürgen Habermas and Étienne Balibar. Wang Hui. Giorgio Agamben

Elliott, G. and Keucheyan, R. (2013). The Nation-State: Persistence or Transcendence?. In Keucheyan, R. Left Hemisphere: Mapping Contemporary Theory. Verso, pp. 108-138

111

According to Anderson, nationalism cannot be understood if we do not appreciate that its emergence coincides with the large-scale diffusion of printing. In the eighteenth century, what he calls ‘print capitalism’ gradually emerged. From this period onwards, printing became a lucrative activity that attracted capitalist investment. The advance of literacy increased the proportion of the population engaged in reading, and social institutions were established – such as the literary and political societies that were to have a decisive impact on the French Revolution and hence modern nationalism – which encouraged the development of this practice. These factors converged to give rise to the emergence of a market in printed matter.

The advent of this market had two consequences for the spread of nationalism. First, it contributed to the emergence of increasingly standardized national languages. The capitalist character of printing impelled editors to publish works that could be read by the maximum number of people so as to increase their profits. This desacralized Latin and reduced its influence. In addition, the fact that the language was printed tended to stabilize it, rendering its evolution more gradual. This conferred on it greater historical ‘depth’, which facilitated identification by contemporaries with past periods in the national history. Such standardization also created a felt need for greater correctness in expression, leading to the promotion of institutions – for example, academies – charged with producing orthographic and syntactical norms. From a general point of view, this standardization implied that a growing number of people spoke an ever more closely related language. These people would increasingly tend to regard themselves as co-citizens, the common language being a criterion – not the sole one – of membership of a nation.

—p.111 by Gregory Elliott, Razmig Keucheyan 4 years, 9 months ago

According to Anderson, nationalism cannot be understood if we do not appreciate that its emergence coincides with the large-scale diffusion of printing. In the eighteenth century, what he calls ‘print capitalism’ gradually emerged. From this period onwards, printing became a lucrative activity that attracted capitalist investment. The advance of literacy increased the proportion of the population engaged in reading, and social institutions were established – such as the literary and political societies that were to have a decisive impact on the French Revolution and hence modern nationalism – which encouraged the development of this practice. These factors converged to give rise to the emergence of a market in printed matter.

The advent of this market had two consequences for the spread of nationalism. First, it contributed to the emergence of increasingly standardized national languages. The capitalist character of printing impelled editors to publish works that could be read by the maximum number of people so as to increase their profits. This desacralized Latin and reduced its influence. In addition, the fact that the language was printed tended to stabilize it, rendering its evolution more gradual. This conferred on it greater historical ‘depth’, which facilitated identification by contemporaries with past periods in the national history. Such standardization also created a felt need for greater correctness in expression, leading to the promotion of institutions – for example, academies – charged with producing orthographic and syntactical norms. From a general point of view, this standardization implied that a growing number of people spoke an ever more closely related language. These people would increasingly tend to regard themselves as co-citizens, the common language being a criterion – not the sole one – of membership of a nation.

—p.111 by Gregory Elliott, Razmig Keucheyan 4 years, 9 months ago
116

[...] the defeats suffered by internationalism at the hands of nationalism during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and, in particular, the fact that all socialist experiments have had no choice but to cast themselves in the mould of nation-states, are not accidental. They were inevitable for the reasons invoked above. The world capitalist economy generates uneven and combined development; and uneven and combined development generates nationalism: [...] Nationalism is neither accidental nor provisional. It is part and parcel of the very logic of the world capitalist economy.

on Nairn

—p.116 by Gregory Elliott, Razmig Keucheyan 4 years, 9 months ago

[...] the defeats suffered by internationalism at the hands of nationalism during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and, in particular, the fact that all socialist experiments have had no choice but to cast themselves in the mould of nation-states, are not accidental. They were inevitable for the reasons invoked above. The world capitalist economy generates uneven and combined development; and uneven and combined development generates nationalism: [...] Nationalism is neither accidental nor provisional. It is part and parcel of the very logic of the world capitalist economy.

on Nairn

—p.116 by Gregory Elliott, Razmig Keucheyan 4 years, 9 months ago

unable to be resisted or avoided; inescapable

116

In so far as the periphery contains the overwhelming majority of the world’s population, nationalism became an ineluctable phenomenon in world history

—p.116 by Gregory Elliott, Razmig Keucheyan
notable
4 years, 9 months ago

In so far as the periphery contains the overwhelming majority of the world’s population, nationalism became an ineluctable phenomenon in world history

—p.116 by Gregory Elliott, Razmig Keucheyan
notable
4 years, 9 months ago

(noun) an expression of real or pretended doubt or uncertainty especially for rhetorical effect / (noun) a logical impasse or contradiction / (noun) a radical contradiction in the import of a text or theory that is seen in deconstruction as inevitable

126

Any individual who is the citizen of a member-state is a European citizen. The problem is that this definition creates an aporia at the ‘aggregate’ level, which leads to the pejoration of the condition of foreigners within the Union

—p.126 by Gregory Elliott, Razmig Keucheyan
notable
4 years, 9 months ago

Any individual who is the citizen of a member-state is a European citizen. The problem is that this definition creates an aporia at the ‘aggregate’ level, which leads to the pejoration of the condition of foreigners within the Union

—p.126 by Gregory Elliott, Razmig Keucheyan
notable
4 years, 9 months ago
130

[...] At least three elements unite the advocates of the New Left. First of all, they subject the neo-liberalism and authoritarianism of the Chinese state to concerted criticism. In other words, they believe that these are two aspects of the same phenomenon. Chinese liberals, who have been very powerful since the 1980s (and the ‘new Enlightenment’ following the country’s opening up by Deng), criticize the absence of civil and political liberties in the country, but support the neo-liberal reforms. They simply suggest extending economic liberalism to the political field. The New Left is opposed to this conception. In its view, authoritarianism and the neo-liberal reforms form a system. Those reforms are not the consequence of increased freedom in the economy, attributable to the state’s withdrawal and the emergence of an autonomous civil society. They have been implemented in authoritarian fashion by the state. Authoritarianism and neo-liberalism are therefore not antithetical. Quite the reverse. In China the state and civil society interpenetrate in many ways, to the extent that making a clear distinction between them is difficult.

—p.130 by Gregory Elliott, Razmig Keucheyan 4 years, 9 months ago

[...] At least three elements unite the advocates of the New Left. First of all, they subject the neo-liberalism and authoritarianism of the Chinese state to concerted criticism. In other words, they believe that these are two aspects of the same phenomenon. Chinese liberals, who have been very powerful since the 1980s (and the ‘new Enlightenment’ following the country’s opening up by Deng), criticize the absence of civil and political liberties in the country, but support the neo-liberal reforms. They simply suggest extending economic liberalism to the political field. The New Left is opposed to this conception. In its view, authoritarianism and the neo-liberal reforms form a system. Those reforms are not the consequence of increased freedom in the economy, attributable to the state’s withdrawal and the emergence of an autonomous civil society. They have been implemented in authoritarian fashion by the state. Authoritarianism and neo-liberalism are therefore not antithetical. Quite the reverse. In China the state and civil society interpenetrate in many ways, to the extent that making a clear distinction between them is difficult.

—p.130 by Gregory Elliott, Razmig Keucheyan 4 years, 9 months ago

the philosophical attempt to describe things in terms of their apparent intrinsic purpose, directive principle, or goal, irrespective of human use or opinion

130

From a more general point of view, the New Left condemns the reigning fetishism of growth and the teleology of ‘modernization’ in China and their disastrous social and ecological effects

—p.130 by Gregory Elliott, Razmig Keucheyan
notable
4 years, 9 months ago

From a more general point of view, the New Left condemns the reigning fetishism of growth and the teleology of ‘modernization’ in China and their disastrous social and ecological effects

—p.130 by Gregory Elliott, Razmig Keucheyan
notable
4 years, 9 months ago

(adjective) keen, sharp / (adjective) vigorously effective and articulate / (adjective) caustic / (adjective) sharply perceptive; penetrating / (adjective) clear-cut, distinct

132

One of Wang Hui’s most trenchant analyses is of the Tiananmen Square events

—p.132 by Gregory Elliott, Razmig Keucheyan
notable
4 years, 9 months ago

One of Wang Hui’s most trenchant analyses is of the Tiananmen Square events

—p.132 by Gregory Elliott, Razmig Keucheyan
notable
4 years, 9 months ago

(adjective) of or resembling Proteus in having a varied nature or ability to assume different forms / (adjective) displaying great diversity or variety; versatile

134

Author of a protean oeuvre, in which reference to theology plays a key role, Agamben is influenced by thinkers such as Heidegger

—p.134 by Gregory Elliott, Razmig Keucheyan
notable
4 years, 9 months ago

Author of a protean oeuvre, in which reference to theology plays a key role, Agamben is influenced by thinkers such as Heidegger

—p.134 by Gregory Elliott, Razmig Keucheyan
notable
4 years, 9 months ago