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19 June 2014

Nationalism, an existencial need

Estimated reading time Time 2 to read

By Hans Ulrich Gumbercht

The one reaction to globalization and globalization effects that has long been understood as such is the political tendency towards regionalization. Nowhere is it easier to grasp and to study than in the European Union and, within the European Union, in Spain. This development appears all the more impressive and all the more astonishing against the backdrop of the undeniable political and economic success that the European Union has had, and against the rise of modern Spain to an international position of strength that nobody could have anticipated only forty years ago. Of course, each “region” within Spain that is emphasizing its cultural identity and claiming rights of political independence, and each European nation State which, like the United Kingdom, Denmark, or France in recent years, that has tried to slow down the process of European integration, had valid historical, social, and legal reasons.

But the fact that regional customs, regional styles, regional gastronomy—indeed, anything regional—has become so very important, even in those countries inside and outside of Europe whose populations seem to be content with their current national constitution and identity, like Germany or France, the new desire for the regional gives evidence to an existential need. It is the need of belonging to a space that is not too large to be filled with personal experience or, at least, with personal imagination.

Part of such a new desire for the specific is a new fascination with national languages and their dialects as devices of world-appropriation that have been shaped through their places and histories. By comparison, the circuits of global traffic where we so easily get “lost in translation,” and even the concepts and emblems that stand for the European Union or other political federations, are too abstract to produce such feelings of belonging.

Read more on the article ‘A negative anthropology of gloablization’

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