Ernest Gellner's Theory Of Nationalism

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Moving on to the idea of nationalism, Ernest Gellner (1997) understood nationalism as a product of industrial society. He defines nationalism as “primarily a political principle, which holds that the political and national unit should be congruent” (Guibernau and Rex 1997: 52). Nationalism, Gellner says is either a product of feeling of anger when the principle discussed above is not fulfilled or a product of feeling of satisfaction aroused by its fulfilment. Therefore, “nationalism is a theory of political legitimacy” (Guibernau and Rex 1997: 52). Gellner justifies the repercussions of the idea of “nationalism is a theory of political legitimacy” by discussing how the political effectiveness of national sentiment impairs the sensibility of the nationalists to realise the wrong committed by the nation. Gellner (1997) also describes the relationship between the nation and the state. The interchangeable use of nation and state deepens the contradictions that arise in the common person’s understanding of nationalism. Therefore both Anderson and Gellner take a Marxist stance that nationalism is a species of bourgeois ideology. They see nationalism as an instrument through which the ruling class controls the people and counters the threat of social revolution by emphasizing national loyalty is stronger than class solidarity. Sudipta Kaviraj can be discussed while we try to contextualise the concept of nation with respect to India. He says that a distinction can be made
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