Nationalism and Modernization: A Comparative Case Study of Scots and Kurds

by Turker, Ahmet Tolga

Abstract (Summary)
This dissertation explores the links between modernization and nationalism, and the question of why economic, political and socio-cultural processes of modernization have not led to the elimination of separatist nationalist movements. It tests hypotheses concerning modernization and nationalism on two prominent cases: the Scottish and Kurdish separatist movements in the United Kingdom and Turkey. Analyzing the relationship between economic modernization and nationalism, the economic modernization account is supported in both the Scottish and Kurdish cases for the period until the 1960s. However, it is discredited and found reductionist in the latter part of the twentieth century. Analyzing arguments that political modernization reduces separatist nationalism, this study found support for the political modernist account in both cases until the 1960s. However, the political modernist accounts failed to give a satisfactory picture of why Scottish and Kurdish nationalisms took a separatist turn since the 1960s. Finally, analyzing the socio-cultural links between modernization and nationalism, this project finds that these socio-cultural arguments are supported in the period prior to the 1960s in both cases. Although a significant causality between socio-cultural factors and nationalism could not established for the period after 1960, this study concludes that socio-cultural modernization tends to create conflict rather than reconcile differences in the period since the 1960s. In light of these findings, this study criticizes modernist accounts. It suggests that, along the lines of ethno-symbolist perspective, while nationalism is modern, it is constructed around a particular ethnic tradition that modern nations have to be explained and “contextualized” with reference to their ethnic forbearers. Accordingly, the following suggestions are made: first, nationalism should be examined in a larger time span, which will cover pre- modern attachments. Second, notions such as re-discovery and re-construction of the ethnic past should replace invention and imagination. Third, nationalism is not a history-specific and transitory force. Finally, modernity’s accelerated dynamism generates new nationalisms.
Bibliographical Information:


School:University of Cincinnati

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:nationalism modernism ethnosymbolism etnic conflict separatism scots kurds


Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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