National Identity Analysis

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Principally it is the position of this essay to posit that myths and symbols are an essential component in the social construction of national identity. However, it is also the contestation of this exercise that cultural artefacts and tropes, generally instigated ‘from above’ to produce political authority, are in essence malleable and particularly susceptible to the process of socialisation ‘from below’. In other words, notwithstanding the fact that the majority of the symbols and myths of nationhood are characteristically perpetuated by political elites to affect hegemonic values of national identity across space and time; nevertheless, as a consequence of the socialisation of the family unit and local communities, more often these codified…show more content…
Rembold et. al. (2011), argue that ‘Narratives of nations, nationhood and identities are not simply products of the imagination, they also require a natural or “organic” rootedness’. To put that another way, without the encapsulating effect of a shared historic past (Hobsbawm & Ranger, 1983, p. 1), ‘a purely constructed nationality would be hopelessly undetermined’ in its evolution (Zimmer, 203, p. 180). Clearly then, there is more than one way to understand the formulation of national identities. It is argued that the building process involved in national identities requires symbiotic influence from both above and below simultaneously. Moreover, Fu-Lai and Kwan (2008) postulate in their journal article, Social construction of national identity: Taiwanese versus Chinese consciousness, that the collective consciousness of the social group is intrinsically correlated with a shared sense of national identity. The authors state that, ‘National identity is the community’s incoherent sense of common self …’ and that the ‘… collective consciousness, the origin of national identity, does not come from substance…’ but ‘… rather, it is a collective perception of self’. This subconscious process, they argue, creates the juxtaposition of ‘us’ and ‘them‘, which contributes enormously to the construction of national…show more content…
Members of a shared society generally understand their culture ‘as reality without change’. Yu and Kwan argue that it is these shared experiences ‘… taken for granted …’ deliver a ‘… fundamental source of legitimacy and power’ to the nation and nationalism. And it is through these internalised collective memories that ‘a common stock of knowledge’ is formed, which they contend gives rise to the nation and the acceptance of the similar “they” in the community as “we’’; and thus the emergence of a national identity. (Yu and Kwan, 2011, p. 36). Furthermore, they suggest that ‘national identity is a foundation of an independent state’ in which the citizens observe and compare themselves with those in other nations, who have in turn developed from their own ‘common stock of knowledge’. Ultimately they argue that both nations and national identity are ‘socially constructed, reproduced, reconstructed, and deconstructed’ and essentially in a constant state of

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