Nation and Community

Overview

I went to a lecture by Prof. Wang Liping. She discussed civilizing, from Durkheim to Gökalp. Honestly, I’m a freshman in this field. But comments given by Prof. Li Meng did raise some interesting questions.

Notes

Talking about civilizing, the understanding of nation is crucial. And there are two kinds of understandings: Political Nationalism and Ethnic Nationalism. As for Political Nationalism, a nation based on the commitment of individuals to politics. And for Ethnic Nationalism, a nation based on land or blood. France is a great example of Political Nationalism while German is rather Ethnic Nationalism.

Then it comes to Durkheim. The nation is a social fact. But it can’t be seen as a group of individuals. For example, for an individual, nation can not be chosen. It’s settled. And a nation is more powerful than communities, for a nation has a political centre, its own thoughts and feelings. General humanity can’t support a nation while a community might be possible. That’s why nations take part in cosmopolitanism as individuals.

The main course is Gökalp. A nation is beyond races. Ottomanism is disconnected from people and their culture. Civilization and culture share the same mediums but civilization can be adapted while culture can’t. When he tried to rebuild Turkey, he had 3 choices: imperialism, religion, turanism. Instead of making a choice, he built Turkish Nationalism for imperialism and turanism are lack of moral bases and religion is not strong enough. To a certain degree, nationalism can be regarded as an alternative to religion.

Questions

Prof. Li raised tons of meaningful questions. Here are some selection which I’m interested in but answering them is beyond my capacity:

  • Nationalism attract some disturbs those days. Why? For nations, nationalism kind of encourages conflicts. For individuals, nationalism represses personal development. If there’s a solution to those drawbacks?
  • How to build the culture which the development of China requires?
  • Turkey break the crack between different level of society by the moral community. If there’s anything useful for China?
  • Islamism is powerful. If there’s a way for Gökalp to rebuild Turkey in this way? How to ensure separation of church and state?

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