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Chapter Review

  • Ethnic Identity
    • Ethnic identity, or ethnicity, is a set of institutions that bind people together through a common culture. The components of ethnicity vary from nation to nation but may include language, religion, geographic location, customs, and history, among other factors. Ethnicity is socially constructed: it is how a culture describes itself and how outsiders describe that culture.
  • National Identity
    • In contrast to ethnic identity, which binds people through common culture, national identity is a set of institutions that bind people with common political aspirations. National identity often, but not always, develops from ethnic identity.
    • National identity can lead to nationalism—pride in one’s people and the belief that they have their own political sovereignty separate from others’. Some have associated nationalism with hatred of others, but the two forces are not necessarily linked.
  • Citizenship and Patriotism
    • Citizenship is an individual's or a group’s relationship to the state. States are obligated to provide certain rights to their citizens, and citizenship may require certain obligations from these citizens, such as paying taxes or serving in the armed forces.
    • Citizenship may lead to patriotism—pride in one’s state. Since patriotism emphasizes the state, states that are weak or illegitimate often struggle to imbue their citizens with patriotism.
  • Ethnic Identity, National Identity, and Citizenship: Origins and Persistence
    • Ethnic identity began to emerge in Europe in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and was related to the formation of the modern state. During this period, increased trade fostered the development of cities, which in turn fostered homogeneity of language, religious beliefs, and social customs. In the eighteenth century, when states began to protect these common values and assert a unified political future, national identity took hold. This led to the development of nation-states, and ultimately the concept of citizenship.
  • Ethnic and National Conflict
    • Ethnic conflicts are struggles between ethnic groups to achieve political or economic goals at each other’s expense. National conflicts are struggles between groups over sovereignty.
    • These conflicts may arise from a number of factors relating to the society, economy, or politics. Societal explanations emphasize ethnic heterogeneity and the degree of integration or polarization.  Economic explanations concentrate on the struggle for resources between groups and the general level of poverty across a country. Finally, political explanations examine the capacity or autonomy of the state or the form of the regime.
    • How do we best prevent or end ethnic and national conflicts? We may turn to institutions to help us create a system that responds to group needs and fosters cooperation. Some scholars advocate power sharing such as devolution, but others contend that those structures may “freeze” group conflicts.
  • Political Attitudes and Political Ideology
    • Political attitudes are views on the necessary pace and scope of change between freedom and equality in a particular context. Political ideologies are values held by individuals on the fundamental goals of politics.
    • There are four basic political attitudes: 1) Radicals argue for dramatic, sometimes revolutionary change of the current political and economic order; 2) Liberals also argue for change, but, unlike radicals, they believe change can come within existing political structures; 3) Conservatives do not see change as necessary and argue that current systems and structures are working; and 4) Reactionaries seek to restore current political and economic structures to previously established ways. While their goals differ, the approaches of radicals and reactionaries are often similar.
    • There are five primary political ideologies: 1) Liberalism, which informs our current notion of liberal democracy, holds that politics should seek to achieve the highest level of freedom for all people; 2) Communism seeks to achieve equality through state control of economic resources; 3) Social democracy, or socialism, hopes to achieve economic equality, but strives to do so through private ownership and market forces; 4) Fascism rejects freedom and equality, arguing instead for hierarchical divisions between people; 5) Anarchy rejects the notion of government altogether.
  • Religion, Fundamentalism, and the Crisis of Ideology
    • Fundamentalism is an ideology that seeks to unite religion with the state. Its emergence is a modern phenomenon, a reaction to forces in the modern world that are deemed corrupt or morally bankrupt—for example, material consumption, sex, or entertainment. 
  • Political Culture
    • Culture is the social roadmap that people follow in society—the norms, guidelines, and priorities for how people organize their lives. Political culture is the basic norms for political activity in a society.
    • In political science, the study of political culture has risen and fallen over time. As societies modernize, they undergo transformations in important political institutions and values; however, cultural heritage means some of these social values are more resistant to change. Culture and development continue to shape each other in ways we do not expect.