Dark Side to Nationalism

Published: 2019-05-29 03:20:40
1379 words
6 pages
12 min to read

The concept of nationalism is broadly defined by uniqueness of culture, tradition, language and history that characterizes a nation. It underlines the identity of a nation that is further culturally constructed. As a consequence of this identity, nationalism could be viewed as a platform of exclusion for those labeled as not being members of a given nation. As a social construction, nationalism leads to the development of unconscious bias by members of a given nation. Through the creation of a unique identity, community members consider themselves alike and perceive outsiders as inferior aliens to their communities. Vis a vis, driven by nationalism, individuals have a higher propensity to discriminate and exploit those viewed as being aliens to a particular nation.

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The exclusionary aspect of nationalism is best described by Yassmin Abdel-Magied Ted talk in which she explains unconscious bias resulting to discrimination of individuals on the basis of their perception by the community. She explained how nationalism negatively impacts on the recruitment process by organizations. Based on a study conducted by Australian National University, the name of the applicant directly correlated with the number of applications that one had to send in order to be considered for an interview in Australia. In comparisons to those who had names with Anglo-Saxon origin, Chinese applicants had to send 68 % more applications, Middle Eastern names had to send 64 % more application and Italian names had send 12 % more applications. This unconscious bias was as a result of nationalism. Applicants with Anglo-Saxon names were considered to highly identify with nationals of Australia as compared to other nationals.

Additionally, Yassmin Abdel-Magied expounds on how her dressing shapes the perception and expectations of the community. She asserted that her headscarf has been erroneously related with social and political issues affecting Islamic nations majorly in the Middle East. To many, her identity has been intricately tied to her dress code. People in the streets are likely to view her as refugee and hence a foreigner. She argued that on basis of the wrongful association of her dressing code with a particular nationalism, she is likely to be discriminated and denied equal opportunity compared to members from the mainstream community.

According to Anderson, nationalism leads to a deep, horizontal comradeship in which members of a given nation are actively driven to engage in social vices in the name nationalism. While perpetuating acts of nationalism, these members propagate discrimination and exploitation of individuals who are considered inferior due to their alien origins. Hence, nationalism shapes how we perceive the community and further construct our relationships.

Differences between Masculinity and Femininity

The difference between masculinity and femininity is majorly founded on the social construction of gender. According to Arvanitakis, there exist three dimensions to the social construction of gender: sex, gender and sexuality. Gender should be viewed as being relational in that its definitions is best showcased through binaries such male vs females, strong vs weak and active vs passive. On the other hand, the resulting identification of gender and gender-based roles has been underlined with masculinity and femininity. On the contrary, the sex of an individual is biologically founded. All these differences notwithstanding , there exists intricate relationship between sex, gender and sexuality. While sex is biological, it is a key determinant of the social construction of gender and sexuality. It hence emerges that social construction of gender is framed by the biological sex of an individual. vis a vis the definition of expected attitudes, behaviors and feelings of a given sex describes one gender and to a larger extent the sexuality.

Based on the TED Talk by Khadija Gbla, shes a victim of her sex and is further subjected to cultural practices associated with her gender. As a consequence of her being a girl, Gbla was subjected to forceful female genital mutilation. While she was opposed to the practice, her cultural definition of female provided that she underwent FGM in order to be considered a woman in the community. Although it is apparent that the practice underlined child abuse, it represented a symbol of identity in her community. Gbla experiences vividly correlates the three aspects of sex, gender and sexuality. One observes that while Gblas mother is driven by cultural definition of a woman, her action is further pegged on desire to enhance the sexuality of her daughter by circumcising her. While it is apparent that FGM presents social and health risks, her mother views the ordeal as duty and empowerment exercise to her daughter.

It emerged that gender related behaviors define the aspect of masculinity or femininity. Similarly, it is the sex of an individual that provides the foundational pillars for social construction of gender. Evidence indicated increased association of males with masculine characteristics and feminine characteristics with females. Hence, one could argue that gender is relationally produced and enacted through masculine or feminine behaviors. The society has already predetermined the qualities that should be matched to masculine or feminine individuals. However, the sexuality of individuals could be viewed as construct of both the biological and social environment of an individual.

Environmental Threats

Homocentricism, which is the belief that human beings are centre of the universe and control everything, constitutes a threat to the environment. Human activities present key threat to the balanced ecosystem of the environment through pollution, deforestation and industrialization. It is apparent that the continued practice of unsustainable activities such as illegal logging could lead to the end of the contemporary society. An evaluation of prevailing global practices highlights on the heightened rate of depletion of the current world resources. Moreover, there lacks elaborate framework or systems that have been put in place to ensure sustainable exploitation of the limited resources. While the corporate sector is ubiquitous with environmental and social responsibility, current measures have not offered long-term solution to the eminent threat that the environment posses to the contemporary society. Indeed, modern technologies have been developed to address the environmental risks associated with industrialization. These include green fuel, green construction and sustainable development. However, global players in economy and political systems have been reluctant in advocating for these measures. The world is still faced with global warming, declining fossil fuel and reduction of forest cover.

The extent of the environmental threat that the contemporary society faces is best described by statistics presented by Ellen Macarthur during her talk on Ted. She noted that the current community has about 118 years of coal left. She further added that materials resources were also on the declines with copper having 61 years left for mining, silver 29, tin and zinc 40 years. One of the significant deductions from these figures constituted the fact that natural resources had become finite. The future generation no longer has a guaranteed access to these resources.

Macarthur further noted that the environmental threat was as resultant of a fundamental flaw in the current system. She identified profound flaw in the economical system of global community. The global economy has been predominantly based on linear economy that is not sustainable in the long run. By use of the linear economy, environmental resources are primarily fed into the system one end and the products and waste generated on the opposite end. Sustainable economy, which she refers to a cyclic economy, should be characterized with the absorption of waste and effective use of the finite resources.

In light of this knowledge, human beings have a central role to play in the effective management of environmental resources. Current environmental threats present threat to the contemporary society as studies highlighted on the increasing decline of resources. Based on the revelation of decline of environmental resources, it is paramount that a new economic system be put in place to mitigate the adverse effects of the linear economic system. Sustainable exploitation of the finite resources could be best managed by use of cyclic economy that would advocate for reduction and use of wastes.


Arvanitakis, James. 2009. Contemporary society. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Abdel-Magied, Yassmin. 'What Does My Headscarf Mean To You?'. Ted.com. N.p., 2015. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.

Gbla, Khadija. 'My Mothers Strange Definition Of Empowerment'. Ted.com. N.p., 2015. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.

MacArthur, Dame. 'The Surprising Thing I Learned Sailing Solo Around The World'. Ted.com. N.p., 2015. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.

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Dark Side to Nationalism. (2019, May 29). Retrieved from https://speedypaper.net/essays/dark-side-to-nationalism


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