The Psychology of Nationalism
While there are many political, economic, and historical factors that contribute to the development and expression of nationalism, the tenacity and viciousness of nationalist conflicts, and the dedication that they inspire in people, suggest that nationalism has a psychological dimension which is not yet well understood. Why do people cling to nationalism when it can ultimately be destructive to them, to their families, and to their nations? Why are nationalist conflicts so resistant to attempts at intervention? In The Psychology of Nationalism, the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, the war in Sri Lanka, and interactions between students in an American college classroom form the backdrop for an analysis of why we as human beings are so drawn to nationalism. The book argues that identity issues—our attempts to shore up our sometimes-fragile sense of self—underlie the attraction that nationalism exerts on us. It then offers suggestions for negotiations and other interventions to end nationalist conflicts.
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