Dizionario di Politica

Authors: Bobbio, Matteucci, Pasquino
Summary: The entry analyzes the historical evolution of nationalism as both ideology and movement, and considers its relationship to democracy, in both political and economic terms. In its most general sense nationalism refers to an ideology, the ideology of the nation-state, in contrast with the narrower ideologies of political parties. But the term also has a narrower sense: the nationalism that claims to be the only faithful exemplar and guardian of a nation-state's fundamental principles and interests.
Nationalism claims the right of every nation to be master of its destiny. In this sense, as advocate of popular sovereignty, it accords with democratization. But one analytic distinction is that whereas democracy pursues equality, nationalism aims at putting the state in the hands of the "people." Historically, nationalism was sparked by the industrial revolution, which expanded the scope of economic activity and produced national markets and national societies.
The entry denies any analytic distinction between good and bad nationalism-that is, between nationalism as patriotism and as hostility toward others: in a world of armed states, any nation must be prepared for aggression from others. The entry ends by outlining the course of nationalism in the 20th century, focusing on Third World nationalist movements.