Rabdan Corona American National Identities Minority Roles in Protests Article Essay

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Read the following news reports and watch the video. After you read them, write an essay, 400-600 words, relating and connecting our class lectures and readings on national identity and nationalism, minorities and the state, and identity politics to what is happening in the United States as people protest Covid 19 (coronavirus) lockdowns and restrictions, and also to the reaction of government officials to Indian reservations who have decided to restrict entry to outsiders. You can think about, among other points: What do these protests have to do with American national identity? What are minorities’ roles in these protests? How is the US government responding to such protests, at various levels, from local and state authorities to the federal level? How can you understand state government's trying to force indigenous/native peoples to remain open using what we learned about minority-state relations and identity politics? How do these two topics relate to each other?

https://theconversation.com/why-are-white-supremacists-protesting-to-reopen-the-us-economy-137044

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dr5SarJBMK4

https://www.businessinsider.com/south-dakota-governor-demands-sioux-tribes-remove-covid-19-checkpoints-2020-5


relating and connecting our class lectures and readings on national identity and nationalism, minorities and the state, and identity politics (attached) please relate.

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Identity Politics • Identity Politics – when one make political decisions based on aspects of their identity • In the US we might see this when African Americans and other racial minorities, women, immigrants, religious minorities, tend to relate their political goals and needs to these aspects of their identity • Whites also take part in identity politics (Trump plays this in a big way • Identity Politics around the world • Europe • UK • Brazil • Australia • China • Russia • India • Etc etc etc Hindutva • Idea that India should be redefined as a Hindu country • (80% are Hindu, but India has the third largest Muslim population in the world and more Christians than Scandinavia) • Movement becomes strong in the 90s • Hindutva seems much like European ethnic nationalism • Invokes ancient bitter defeats and noble sacrifices, reframed for a contemporary political scene • Return to roots • Condemns Westernization, states is harmful to youth • Quotes poets and traditional texts BJP – Indian People’s Party • Try to always wear traditional clothes • Real enemy is not West, but Islam • Islam is shown as martial and cruel religion, alien to subcontinent • Indian Muslims are described as traitors to Hinduism • Yet Hinduism is actually really diverse, with many many scriptures, deities, and ways of worshipping them (so how can an imagined community be built from this?) • Hindutva explicitly mirrors European nationalism • It also has to do with industrialization, urbanization, the rise of a consumeristic middle class, the spread of new kinds of mass media • Hindutva can also be seen as a counter to Muslim identity as expressed by the state in Pakistan and Muslims in India • Hindutva can be seen as part of an effort oppose other efforts to make India more egalitarian, for example to improve the situation of Untouchable caste members What are some common features of identity politics? • We can use the example of Hindutva to generalize • Competition over scarce resources • Certain groups are concerned about their ability to retain hegemony or political power, or wealth or economic power • Modernization makes differences seem more real and triggers conflict • Integration into shared economic and political systems makes differences more visible • Cultural similarity overrules social equality • In other words, class and caste differences cease to matter so much • Images of past suffering are invoked cont • Political symbolism and rhetoric evoke personal experiences • Personal history and group identity is linked using myths, kinship terminology, cultural symbols • First comers are contrasted with invaders • Social complexity of society is reduced to a set of simple contrasts • Who is in, and who is out, is made very clear • Minority/majority are relational terms, and depends upon state boundaries • Sikhs are a minority in India, but a majority in Punjab • Hungarians are a majority in Hungary, but a minority in Romania • Russians are a majority in Russia, but a minority in Kazakhstan • These situations can change or switch • (nearly) everyone is a citizen of some nation state – through history this usually entails the nation state moving into geographical area where people are already living. • Some of these people become minorities – how do states deal with these minorities? • (there are 3 options) 1. Insist on assimilation • Cornish Roma • 2. Domination (segregation) – from Apartheid South Africa to US redlining • 3. full rights/citizenship – transcend nationalist ideology and adopt the idea of multiculturalism (where has this been achieved?) INDEGENEITY • Non-dominant, aboriginal group • Non-state • Pre-industrial • Vulnerable to modernization and the state • Usually just want to survive culturally, not to have their own state TERRITORIAL CONFLICT • Cree and Canadian state (and many other first nations groups) • Sami and Norwegian government • DAPL/Standing Rock • 1. Modernization and keeping one’s ethnic identity are not mutually exclusive. Minorities who can use modern techniques for their own ends are more successful • 2. Minority-majority relationships often involve other agents, third parties – international support, NGOs, etc. Transnational networks of indigenous people are important. Cultural brokers play a role between indigenous groups, the state, and other parts of society. (remember the ethnopolitical entrepreneurs according to Brubaker?) ETHNOGENESIS/INDIGENOUS REVIVAL • The example of Greenlandic Inuit? • Around 2nd world war – were a Danish colony, spoke Danish, Greenlandic was almost lost • 1970s – political revival of indigenous peoples • Revitalization of culture, and culture being used as a political tool • Reflexivity when looking at one’s own culture (here, Inuit – Greenlandic) • Importance of literacy in negotiating with the state • Often – over generations – we might change from a purely traditional way of life, to a generation that tries to assimilate, to a generation that tries to “regain” the lost culture of their grandparents • Often, indigenous groups are threatened when the nation state wants to exploit resources in their territory • This often sparks ethno-political social movements like DAPL • What did we read about the example of the Bushman? (157) • Why do nation states want to force such people to settle? Often lack citizenship Often majority in home country (not always) May be only temporarily settled Completed integrated in capitalist system • Changes in labor markets create permanent migrant communities in the US and Europe • Relationships with minority communities are marked by unequal power, economic, political, and cultural domination • Used as a reserve labor force when needed LOOKING AT RESEARCH ON SECOND AND THIRD GENERATION IMMIGRANTS (167) • Clear “acculturation” does not seem to take place • People switch situationally between identities (Turkish and German) • Tension between individuals and parents • Boundaries preventing full assimilation can be internal (person doesn’t want to) and external (society doesn’t accept them, discrimination) • Living in two cultures is not harmful, but is difficult (this is a different scenario from third culture kids) • In the past, nationalism was left to other disciplines – political scientists and sociologists • If anthropologists study small-scale communities, it can be difficult to understand just how to study nationalism using our methods • But today (and when anthropology really starting studying this, in the 1980s) – all people are much more integrated into states • Plus, anthropologists of the past were overlooking impacts that nation states might have on people • Initially anthropologists incorrectly use nation to describe groups of people who have the same culture • It was said that there is no difference between tribes, ethnic groups, and nations States were not given attention, or were seen as something different and outside these groups of people • However, nations are different – and this has to do with relationship to the state ERNEST GELLNER ON NATIONALITY • The principle or belief that a national unit, or ethnic group, should correspond to a state (with boundaries, government, etc) • The markers of this ethnic group (culture, language, religion) should be linked to the state • Citizens should integrate and assimilate to this dominant group • Some groups in nation-states are not able to do this (entropy-resistant groups) BENEDICT ANDERSON ON NATIONALITY • Nations are groups of people who have agreed upon certain aspects of their identities as those that distinguish them as a community • This community is larger than a face-to-face society – all these people who have something in common have never met • Therefore the idea that they are together in a community, and that they have a set of things in common, is “imagined” • And yet people are willing to die for their nation – so it is an extraordinarily powerful force ARE GELLNER’S AND ANDERSON’S IDEAS AT ODDS WITH ONE ANOTHER? • Both stress nations are ideological constructions • Forging a link between a cultural group and a state • Why might it have seen surprising to Anderson that socialist countries remained very nationalist? • Yet he should not have been surprised – nationalist movements are often very strong in places going through change WHAT SIMILARITIES DOES ANTHROPOLOGY FIND BETWEEN NATION AND ETHNICITY • Both are not “natural” but are constructions • Both seek to show a 1-1 relationship with “culture” (even as we know this is not really the case) • Anthropologists generally see a link between ethnicity and nationality – but we must allow for the possibility of non-ethnicity based national identity! • Nationalism is a modern idea – it started in Europe around the time of the French Revolution • It is not the practicing of tradition • It is putting a value on “traditionalism” • What is thought of as traditional is stressed as important and reified, or made into something concrete or real when previously it was less codified • (here we might consider Emirati national dress) • Prior to this – urban and rural classes – in most places in the world – saw themselves as distinct groups • This was the first time something united them • Nationalism includes people of all economic backgrounds and classes in its national boundaries • Only the limits of the border exclude people (sort of!) • Social engineering (schools, etc), wars, but also everyday practices, such as sport, give people a sense of shared national identity IN THE CASE OF NORWAY… • Language (prior to this Norwegian had not been written!) • Folk crafts and handicrafts – which are often not so ancient as we think! • Music and costumes – which are not so specific either! • And, a lot of nations have a great variety of national dress, traditions – a style or tradition from one specific region is chosen in to stand for the whole nation, often! • Does this mean national identity is less “real” than other identities? WHAT LED TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF NATIONALIST IDEOLOGIES? • Industrialization – people are uprooted from local communities • Kinship, feudalism, religion no longer organizes people’s day to day lives • Industrialization requires a standardization of skills • With mass education we also see a cultural homogenization • Mass education’s importance can’t be understated! • Now that people leave their villages or towns, who will they have cohesion and loyalty to? • National identity fills this gap • When people are moved out of small-scale communities, they are uprooted and possibly alienated • Nationalism can fill in some of these gaps • This not only creates a feeling of unity – but it also creates stigmatized other who are outside the boundaries of national identity for some reason • Some aspects seem to place it to the left, some to the right • It is not really associated with one or the other • Anderson suggests it should be classed as on par with religion or kinship rather than a political spectrum • Kapferer says it is ontology, a doctrine about the essence of reality, almost a secular religion • Symbols which have great importance for people – death (martyrs), • The nation as a collective individual – fatherland, mother land – and a metaphor for kinship • Handler – talks about nationalism as ‘collective individual’ • (excerpt 130) • Fits in with kin terms – nation as mother-nurturer who can be raped, or father who defends • Taking the place of importance of kin ties which have been replaced by other relationships in the modern period? WHAT IS THE NATION-STATE • The nation state’s physical boundaries should be coterminous with cultural boundaries • The nation state has a monopoly on legitimate use of violence and taxation • It has a bureaucracy to carry out administrative necessities • It has a written set of laws that apply (in theory) to all • It has a uniform educational system, it has a language for official communication • (these are ideals – there are variations or levels of meeting these points) • What does the example of Germany show us about anomalies, fuzzy boundaries, and ambiguous criteria for belonging, not just of minorities but of major national groups? 136… • -east/west reunification, areas lost to Poland and USSR • Problematic history • Typical culture • Austrians, Swiss, Italians who speak Germans (and Germans who speak Czech, etc) • It is not clear where the border of the German nation are • It is not clear how to understand east and west Germany as part of one nation – even years after unification • It is very difficult to construct a German national history • Austria, Switzerland, German Jews, Turks, Czechs all muddy this • Are states without ethnicity possible, as seems to be in Mauritius, the US, etc? Or does one dominant group “de-ethnicize” itself in its view and either demand assimilation or suppress others?
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Running Head: CORONA PROTESTERS

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CORONA PROTESTERS
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CORONA PROTESTERS

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Nationalism, national identity, minority, state and identity politics
Nationalism refers to the identification of one’s nation and support for its interests, particularly to
the detriment of the interests of other states. However, national identities refer to a sense of a
country as given by distinctive traditions, culture, and language. A minority group is a group of
individuals who are singled out and live for a differential and unequal treatment because of their
cultural characteristics. Therefore identity politics is the process for individuals of a specific origin
to create exclusive political alliances and getting away from the political party politics. Thus the
United States of America is much affected by the identity politics which are typically based...


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