Ethnocentricity of the Nationalist Discourse
This chapter challenges the dominant view that nationalism is basically a European phenomenon, first emerging in Europe and then spreading to the rest of the world and taking identical forms. This view gives Europe both too much importance and too much responsibility for the world’s ills. Nationalism did emerge in Europe, but every non-European country conceptualised it and blended it with local ideas in its own way and gave it a distinct form. In some societies it was based on religion; in others on ethnicity, language or civilisation. Some had a ‘pan’ element and that too varied from region to region. In many of these societies liberalism was not a dominant tradition, and hence nationalism did not have to come to terms with it or define itself in relation to it. All this means that there were and are multiple nationalisms, each unique but also sharing some common features with others.