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date: 01 October 2022

Nations Across Borderslocked

Nations Across Borderslocked

  • Katelin KnightKatelin KnightMissouri State University
  •  and David RomanoDavid RomanoMissouri State University

Summary

As entities who exist superimposed on each other, nations and states have developed complex relationships, both advantageous and detrimental. States view nations favorably when state loyalty develops from marrying the unity of its dominant nation to the state’s institutions, but these governments may also view minority nations as a threat to the unity of their populations. Similarly, nations may benefit from the security and legal protection provided by statehood (as in the case of nation-states) but may also fall victim to the states whose borders they exist within. The latter includes nations settled in states with which they do not identify and whose institutions do not provide the nation adequate representation. States seeking to homogenize their population for nation-state creation have, at times, viewed minority communities, such as these, as a hindrance to their goal and used drastic measures to eliminate them from within their borders. Besides more subtle methods of forced assimilation, such as banning aspects of the minority culture and implementing mandatory re-education, some states have also added ethnic cleansing and genocide as tools for nation-state development. Combating the abuse of minority communities constituted by these events requires an understanding of the different actors at play. While the terms “nation,” “state,” and “nation-state” tend to be used interchangeably throughout media reports, general conversation, and some areas of academia, their distinct meanings should be highlighted. While obtaining statehood involves meeting specific criteria, the development of nationhood does not. Nations exist in various forms and often cross state lines. For many peoples, geopolitical borders do not define the beginning and end of their communities. These nations and groups tend to exist across the territory of multiple states (multistate nations) and/or alongside many other nations within the boundaries of a single state (multinational state). Recognizing the role of multinational states and multistate nations in the global system rests on the ability to differentiate between “nation” and “state.” Thus, realizing the distinction between these terms is the first step in discussing the intricacies of the interactions between nations, states, and nation-states.

Subjects

  • Human Rights
  • Identity
  • Political Communication

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