Published as The Malady of Modernity, in
ASIAN PEACE: SECURITY AND GOVERNANCE IN THE ASIA PACIFIC REGION,
Edited by Majid Tehranian. London: I. B. Tauris, 1999.
Presented to the Toda Institute as a Policy Paper in February 1997
The Rise of Modernity, p.1; Industrialism, 4; Democracy, 7; Nationalism, 10
Transformation, p. 14
The Global Context, p.17
Toward Human Security, p.19
REFERENCES, p. 23
When I first wrote "malody," it was a spelling error -- or was it a blip of the unconscious? I soon saw that it is a useful blend of malady and melody, a word that could well symbolize both the pleasant and the unpleasant aspects of something like modernity .* Many aspects of modernity -- including industrialism, nationalism and democracy -- please us and cause rejoicing when they are combined in the ideal form of a national state. Unfortunately, these same dimensions of modernity also wreak havoc in the world today as manifested in imperialism, class struggle and single-party dictatorships, a global population explosion, environmental degradation, growing poverty in the midst of plenty, crime, anomie, and the escalating violence caused by ethnonational revolts and genocide in the name of ethnic cleansing. Perhaps the melodies of social science research can help us discover ways to cure the maladies of modernity.
*NOTE: When Alice explained that words like chortle and slithy are portmanteaus that convey "two meanings in one word," she celebrated a useful practice that I have also employed, though rarely. In 1962, I offered clect as a blend of "clique" and "sect" that could help us recognize and analyze organizations taking a modern (universalistic) form but having traditional (particularistic) goals (Riggs, 1962) -- the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok was my inspiration. What would you call it? More recently, I proposed anarchianism as a portmanteau for "anarchy" and "authoritarianism" -- an increasingly common phenomenon in the weak dictatorships surrounded by anarchy that have become increasingly common in many successor states of the "third world." I grew up in China when its military rulers governed a small domain around Peking, but the country was wracked by rival war lords. Such an anarchian environment, nowadays, encourages the rise of ethnonational rebellions (Riggs 1997a).
The End of Empires. Frequent references to the "End of the Cold War" suggest that the fundamental problematic of the new world (dis)order arises from the collapse of the polarizing pressures of Soviet (Communism) and American (Capitalism/Democracy). No doubt this is part of the story, but it is only part. A deeper historical perspective suggests that the last half-century of tension between the USA and USSR was the final phase of a much deeper struggle between modern empires in which such fundamental issues as those raised by industrialization, democratization and nationalism (the three main pillars of modernity) provided a focus.
What is unfolding before our eyes is a malady caused by modernity, including the rise, conflicts and collapse of all the modern empires. The gigantic struggle between the Russian and American superpowers, under the slogans of communism and capitalism, was merely the last phase of the inter- imperial conflict. In its wake a host of maladies attributable to modernity now manifest themselves throughout the world, most poignantly in the successor states of the great empires, but also in the homelands of these empires. The need for remedies to cope with these maladies is urgent and something will be said about them below -- but the relevance and effectiveness of these remedies hinges on a more precise diagnosis than we can secure by making the end of the "Cold War" our starting point. A much deeper historical framework is needed.
A complete analysis requires a comprehensive look at world history going back several millennia, but a much simpler starting point for present purposes dates back only three or four centuries, perhaps to the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) as a convenient benchmark. Under the terms of that treaty, modern states can be said to have been born in Western Europe which, until then, had been peripheral to the great civilizations of the World as they evolved in China, India, Central and Southwestern Asia. New maritime links to those civilizations and the Americans which had been opened by the great voyages of discovery that ended the 15th century were exploited by ambitious kings and merchants relying on mercantilist arrangements, and empowered by the enhanced weapons and manufactures produced by industrialization.
Uniquely in world history, three separate but interdependent modern processes unfolded during this period: industrialization, democratization, and nationalization: Some of the modern states that evolved out of these processes created a few vast empires that eventually conquered or marginalized all the great world civilizations as well as many smaller nations of the world. However, conflicts between these empires led to their mutual self-destruction and the loss of their conquests, but the dynamic forces of modernity (industrialism, nationalism, and democracy) had a universal appeal that transformed them into global processes that now also pervade the former colonies reborn as new states.
The collapse of the modern empires also means that we no longer need to fear gigantic inter-imperial wars such as those that marked the 20th century. However, a new kind of global anarchy and malaise has emerged. It needs to be understood as a late and disastrous phase of modernity. It cannot be understood as the "end of history," a struggle between "civilizations," a universalization of "anarchy" or a new "post-modern" age -- instead, it involves the bitter fruit of modernization, its para-modern consequences, its late-modern manifestations.
It clarifies nothing to speak of a "post-modern" era -- the phrase merely begs the question of what will follow modernity. It explains more to see what we are experiencing now as a consequence of modernity, a syndrome rooted in its achievements, a malady to be explained and remedied, but not a stage to be transcended. We cannot simply jettison modernity -- it has come to stay. But we need to recognize its untoward progeny, its tragic fruits, its horrible effects.
The Para-Modern. Of course, modernity also brought with it many triumphs of the human spirit, imagination and enterprise of which we can be justly proud: I think of them as the ortho-modern or positive aspects of modernity. However, from its inception modernity has also created negative symptoms or reactions which we deplore -- I refer to them as para-modern. "Para-" is a prefix that can identify the side- effects, or harmful consequences of something, as in "paralysis" or "paradox." It is an error to think of these negative aspects of modernity as though they were merely the residues of pre-modernity. The non-modern world lives vigorously today and admittedly has its own bitter harvests. Many ancient problems, however, have been compounded and re-shaped by modernity. We cannot, therefore, solve contemporary puzzles by pre-modern means. Everything that happens in today's world is touched, perhaps contaminated, by the effects of modernity. We need to look fearlessly at all these problems because, as the saying goes, the answer is us. We are responsible and we must find the solutions.
The negative consequences of modernity have always accompanied the positive ones but we have tended to ignore them. If has always been comforting to blame them on the past and to expect that modernity would overcome them. For many moderns, the secret of modernity was problem solving -- little did we think that our solutions might generate worse problems. How discomforting it is to find out that we are the ones responsible for most of the world's ills. They are primarily (though not exclusively) a result of our greatest achievements, and we cannot just brush them aside. They cannot be ignored.
As the world begins a new millennium, it will increasingly confront disasters generated by modernity. Among these para-modern phenomena, the rise of ethnic nationalism is a salient and frightening force, often causing civil strife and genocide (in the name of "ethnic cleansing). Drug addiction, criminal gangs and official corruption are also increasing, together with authoritarianism and anarchy, and growing poverty. Ignorance increases with knowledge because the more there is to be known, the greater become the costs of not knowing. We yearn for peace and order and strive for increased security at the personal, local and global levels. This is not a hopeless cause but it challenges our best efforts to find viable solutions. By the time we finally realize that world wars causes by imperial rivalries are over, we will discover more pervasive and threatening causes of despair. It will be easy enough to slide into deepening despair as the crises of para-modernity deepen. How can we understand and solve the newly emergent problems of para-modernity?
We must certainly stop looking for villains to blame, or for heroes who can rescue us, as in our Superman fantasies. Appealing as such children's stories may be, in the real world we cannot meaningfully dichotomize the world between friends and foes -- the real problems we face are inexorably linked to our own greatest achievements. Only when we understand these linkages, their interactive cause/effect relationships, can we learn to intervene in cyclical processes so as to turn vicious circles into benign ones.
A good way to start, I think, is to look separately at each of the main pillars or processes of modernity -- industrialism, democracy, and nationalism -- and consider how they interact with each other and how each produces harmful effects. No doubt modernity has many other aspects, including all its intellectual and perceptual concomitants, including such values as individualism, secularism, acquisitiveness, curiosity, and community spirit. Unfortunately, I cannot discuss these matters here. They deserve separate attention and equal weight but here I intend to focus on three basic modern processes. Their positive (ortho-modern) consequences are well known and need little comment here, but their negative (para- modern) effects are rarely discussed. I shall focus on them here.
The three processes of modernity are interdependent and equally important - - like the three legs of a stool, each is as important as the others. Each stands alone, yet each is linked to the others. Each has its own history -- its own causes and consequences -- yet each depends upon the others for its successes. Although we cannot understand each process without taking the other two into account, we cannot start by looking at all three simultaneously. Each becomes easier to understand when it is considered independently and then linked with the others.
The easiest one to start with is industrialism. Fortunately, the main features of the Industrial Revolution are well known and have been frequently described. However, several points need to be emphasized here to pave the way for an understanding of the para-modern consequences of industrialism.
Capitalism. First, it is important to distinguish between industrialism and capitalism. Capitalism is much older than industrialism -- there have been traders, merchants, and small city states governed by them, for several thousand years. Politically, however, capitalists were always marginalized by kings and emperors, nobles and land-owners, churches and priests. As "middle-men" they existed on the fringes of power, tolerated and even patronized by ruling groups who coveted the good things they could provide but never empowered enough to secure their property and to protect their inventions.
Industrialism, by contrast, requires security of investments, expensive factories, reliable sources of raw materials and inanimate energy, access to markets and large supplies of capital, trained and efficient managers and engineers, complex technologies that are very hard to invent and produce, long-distance facilities for transportation and communication. Capitalists could not create or maintain these infrastructures by themselves -- they required the administrative and political support of states whose rulers are willing and able to guarantee them, and also to regulate market institutions so as to prevent the self-destructive fires of capitalist competition that quickly destroy any uncontrolled open market system.
State support for industrialization could be explained in part by the growing power of the bourgeoisie, especially because of their coordinated control over the growing revenues produced by industrialization. The power to tax is always counterbalanced by the power of tax-payers able to exact a price for their cooperation. Moreover, industrial exports could also finance the importation of highly valued pre-industrial products from the great civilizations of the world, an obvious benefit enjoyed by all the privileged classes whose support the industrialists required in order to achieve the industrial revolution.
No doubt, the Industrial Revolution was driven by the energy and inventiveness of capitalists without whose creativity and entrepreneurship it could never have occurred. Subsequently, however, industrialization anywhere could be managed by the state without reliance on capitalists. In countries where capitalists have lost their power -- or never even developed as a power- holding class -- citizens of all classes have acquired a taste for industrial products: trains, automobiles, airplanes, telephones, radio and television, computers, air conditioners, vacuum cleaners, and a host of everyday products from soap to cotton to thermos bottles. The products of industrialism can be made by state or private enterprises. Consequently, after industrialization has evolved, capitalism is no longer necessary although, no doubt, it makes productivity easier to achieve.
The beneficial aspects of industrialization are continuously celebrated, but they have always been unequally distributed. The production and use of machine-made products belongs to the positive (ortho-modern) aspect of modernity, but inequality and poverty exemplify the negative (para-modern) results. A sense of injustice and oppression, therefore, is a ubiquitous consequence of industrialization. It struck first in the European homelands generating radical political movements and, eventually, single-party dictatorships and genocide on a large scale. As the great industrial powers expanded their empires, more and more victims of inequality appeared, ranging from the African slaves on American plantations who supplied cotton for the new factories to the contract laborers who mined for coal and iron and manned the rubber plantations and paper mills that provided raw materials and energy for increasingly voracious enterprises. Industrialism also produced sabotage, the anti- industrial protests of workers, symbolized by the delusions of alienated proletarians who tried to stop the machines by using their wooden shoes as weapons.
Delusions. The quest for independence which liberated the imperial possessions at a time when the capacity of the empires to maintain effective control over these possessions had been undermined by inter-imperial warfare, was also fueled by delusions. A "cargo cult" mentality proliferated on the basis of expectations that, magically, independence would create industrial productivity: Giant planes would emerge from the sky loaded with goodies to be made freely available to everyone. Increasingly, the political elites in all the new states expected to enjoy the benefits of industrialization, even if they were unable to manage the enterprises or produce the goods required to provide them.
Unfortunately, most people reduce industrialism to capitalism as though having an unregulated open market powered by the greed for wealth of individual entrepreneurs would produce universal prosperity. Foreign capitalists thought that free trade and open markets would permit unlimited growth in all countries, and domestic capitalists claimed the right to exploit property without limits as the road to development for all. Historically, industrialization required a partnership between open market institutions and the state --neither by itself could have brought about the industrial revolution. Subsequently, states can industrialize by themselves, but only within limits -- eventually they will self-destruct. Capitalists working without state controls and infrastructure will surely destroy themselves. Industrialization really works, I think, only when a partnership prevails between the state and capitalism.
The Vortex. To see why this must be so, consider that everyone is gradually sucked into the vortex of industrialism. The poorest citizens find that they can no longer support themselves on a subsistence basis as they formerly could. Marketization has not only made them increasingly dependent on cheap manufactures they cannot afford to buy without abandoning subsistence production in order to produce cash crops or manufactured goods they cannot consume. When they fail to earn enough cash to pay for the goods they have learned to need, they may borrow money and put themselves into desperate straits as indebted peons. In pre-industrial contexts, peasants and serfs were no doubt poor and oppressed, but their sense of injustice was ameliorated by beliefs which blamed supernatural forces rather than human enemies. Their survival needs were met by subsistence production and they were scarcely aware of the inconspicuous luxury enjoyed by their oppressors, making their penury easier to bear.
By contrast, industrialization makes everyone aware of the conspicuous consumption available to rich people who, they feel, have enriched themselves unjustly. Thus the ortho-modern results of industrialization enhance the gratifications available to increasingly affluent upper classes around the world, while the para-modern consequences of industrialization add to the burdens and sense of injustice experienced by rapidly expanding lower classes. Although capitalists are often blamed by reformers as the enemy, the truth is that industrialism, whether under communist dictatorships or free enterprise democracy, generates both inequities and hardships and also great benefits for humanity.
Industrialism has many more side-effects linking positive and negative consequences that I cannot discuss here, but consider the following items:
ITEM: industrialism has supported the growth of scientific knowledge that improved public health, increased life expectancy, and reduced infant mortality, while also accelerating the growth of human populations, creating a demographic explosion that has fearsome consequences for the whole world.
ITEM: The environmental degradation caused by industrialization reduces the productive capabilities of the earth and intensifies the miseries experienced not only by its poorest inhabitants, but even by affluent people.
ITEM: The technology of lethal weapons produced by industrial processes has enhanced the security of some states and individuals but it has also made warfare between states more deadly, empowered modern empires to conquer most of the world, made illegal gangs more pestilent, and strengthened ethno- political and revolutionary movements.
ITEM: Modern communications and transportation technologies have enhanced the quality of life for billions of people, but they have also helped the enemies of states and communities to coordinate their activities and cause escalating disasters.
ITEM: Organizational and bureaucratic technologies not only permit modern states and non-governmental organizations to operate more effectively, but they also enable anti-social groups to carry out their plots more efficiently.
The cumulative impact of these para-modern effects of industrialization strikes most ferociously at those newly liberated states that cannot, in fact, organize themselves to manage industrial enterprises humanely or to promote exports effectively so as to pay for desired imports. They cannot meet the legitimate expectations of their citizens when anarchic conditions increase and warlordism or ethnonational strife escalates. Thus the miseries experienced by the world's poorest people are increased by industrialization. The para- modern effects of industrialization also hit the richest countries, but we need not say more: industrialization is clearly a mixed blessing that carries tremendous costs as well as benefits for the whole world.
The transfer of sovereignty from kings to citizens was eagerly supported in the West by capitalist (bourgeois) forces eager to stabilize the socio- economic transformations that protected their industrial projects. It also appealed, however, to many other social strata who saw that governments responsive to their interests would help them more than monarchic authoritarianism, especially after secularism had undermined the sacred foundations of kingship. Among the additional benefits they could expect was the increased availability of the goods and services produced by industrialization plus the prized pre-industrial manufactures of non-Western countries that could now be purchased in exchange for cheap exports. Democratization, therefore, was both a cause and a result of industrialization.
The core institution in all modern democracies has been a representative system centering in an assembly whose members were elected by open procedures that enabled citizens to choose persons who would formulate and legitimize public policies and also control the administrative apparatus of governance, its bureaucracy. I have discussed the processes and options involved in this process elsewhere (Riggs 1969 and 1997a) and I shall not repeat myself here. However, let me draw attention to the para-modern aspects of democratization. To highlight this point, consider the fundamental distinction between citizens and subjects.
Under monarchic rule, there were no citizens -- everyone under the authority of a king or emperor was a subject. When representative government replaced royal authority, the general expectation was that all subjects would become citizens. However, in practice, only some subjects were actually represented -- the rest remained subjects because they could not or would not vote, or because the assembly could not exercise decisive power over the governing authorities, i.e. the bureaucracy and the chief executive. As a result, virtually all so-called "democracies" have, in fact, been oligarchic democracies , oroligocracies as I prefer to call them. In practice, the ratio of citizens to subjects in an oligocracy is variable, but the use of this term compels us to ask about the subjects in any modern state -- how many are there, why are they not citizens, and what are the consequences for them?
In principle, the subjects of an oligocracy are worse off than the subjects of a monarchy. At least, under kingly rule, all subjects are equally benefited or oppressed by their rulers -- and by the supernatural forces they believed the rites and royal ceremonies could generate. The secularization of legitimacy that accompanied democratization deprived everyone of the comfort that belief in supernatural forces once afforded all the subjects of a king. Unfortunately, while citizens gained by this exchange, subjects lost. In principle, at least, citizens are able, through their representatives in an elected assembly, to improve their prospects in life. However, subjects in a democracy lose the comfort their traditional trust in divine protection gave them, but fail to secure the benefits popular representation could promise to voting citizens.
No doubt there are always variations in any oligocracy among its subjects, some of whom are better treated while others are oppressed more brutally. In the American case, the Constitution of 1789 viewed slaves not only as subjects but even depersonalized them as items of property rather than as human beings. Although women were also subjects under this constitution, family solidarity meant that the wives and daughters of leading citizens were often well treated, especially when norms of "chivalry" persisted, but most women suffered oppression based on their gender.
Because of property (and literacy) qualifications, poor people were not enfranchised and also remained subjects. No doubt the emancipation of slaves (as recently implemented by civil rights legislation) has given de jure (if not always de facto) citizens rights to African-Americans, and feminist movements have transformed women subjects into citizens. Even so, the American republic remains an oligocracy in which large numbers of citizens fail to vote. They may be viewed as de jure citizens but de facto subjects. Their concerns can easily be ignored by the representatives of voting citizens in American legislative bodies.
Most countries that call themselves democracies have, I believe, failed to transform many subjects into citizens and, therefore, they are really oligocracies, not democracies. In the present day world as a whole, therefore, the great majority of people remain subjects in oligocracies and, of course, in quite a few new states -- the successor states of the modern empires -- authoritarian rule means that virtually all residents are subjects, not citizens. For them, the bitter fruit of para-modernity is greater misery.
Imperialism. Although we normally attribute modern imperialism to industrialism, it also has a close link to democracy. An important rationalization for modern imperialism (but not of traditional imperialism) was the democratic myth that worked at two levels: it rationalized conquests in the name of democracy by claims that conquered peoples would, after a period of tutelage, be given democratic rights; and more importantly, it created expectations in the minds of conquered peoples that were, of course, falsified by imperial practice. Ultimately, however, these expectations helped drive the liberation movements whose ambitious leaders were able to use democratic hopes to help mobilize the popular support they needed.
In all modern empires, the conquered peoples became the subjects of an oligocracy -- rarely, under special circumstances, a few were enfranchised as citizens, most notably in overseas France. Ironically, therefore, while the number of subjects transformed into citizens increased in the homelands of the modern empires, the number who became subjects under imperial domination escalated. Books on the political institutions of modern empires typically focus on how their citizens participate in representative institutions but ignore the way their subjects are excluded. Thus the ortho-modern dimensions of democratization are stressed while its para-modern aspects are ignored.
Not surprisingly, the subjects of any oligocracy are not deceived -- the more they learn about the benefits of citizenship, the more their anger and sense of injustice grows. Any text that extols the virtues of a modern democracy may enlist the patriotic support of its citizens -- but, simultaneously, it enrages its subjects and provokes them to mobilize in support of political movements designed to change their status.
The subjects of any oligocracy can choose between two contrasting positions: the first calls for liberalization of the constitutional barriers to citizenship so that subjects can become partners in the representative institutions of the state; the second calls for liberation so that subjects can establish their own sovereignty and representative institutions. Liberalization has, in fact, transformed many subjects into citizens in quite a few industrialized democracies (oligocracies).
By contrast, although liberation movements in the former possessions of the modern empires have, by the end of the 20th century, created successor states and destroyed the empires, in most of these new states real citizenship has not materialized for most subjects. In many, the regimes are openly autocratic or only formalistically democratic because, despite representative institutions (elections, parties, assemblies) a ruling oligarchy effectively controls the state. The administrative weakness of many of these states also means that the benefits their citizens expected to receive are, in fact, not available. As a result, new political protest (liberation) movements determined to undermine the existing states and effect radical transformations are sure to emerge in many of these countries.
Although the literature on modernization often talks about industrial growth and democratization, it rarely pays much attention tonationalism, although this third pillar of modernity is equally important, in my opinion. There is, of course, a substantial and growing literature on nationalism and some writers view it as a product of modernity but, I think, they usually fail to treat its fundamental links as both a cause and consequence of modernity -- rather, they treat it as a separate and regretable phenomenon, and one that lacks an organic link to contemporary ethnic nationalism.
I cannot review or summarize any of this literature here. I have, however, discussed the subject elsewhere (Riggs, 1997b), paying some attention to the absurd argument (in my opinion) that "primordial" identities fuel the contemporary conflicts. No doubt historic myths do provide important symbols to help mobilize people to support liberation movements, and the availability of such myths may, indeed, be a necessary key to success. But that is not to say that the primordial experiences cause today's revolts. If anyone living today could claim descent from the Philistines, they would have plenty to fight about -- primordial wars mean nothing today except in the minds of those who can use the myths to buttress their contemporary struggles.
Far more importantly, we need to focus on the para-modern consequences of nationalism as manifested in the contemporary rise of ethnonationalism, i.e., political movements by ethnic communities seeking to become a state and to gain formal recognition of their sovereignty. In order to understand why this has happened, however, we need to distinguish between state nationalism and ethnic nationalism.
State nationalism is a forerunner of ethnic nationalism. It involves the creation of a sense of cultural homogeneity and national identity among the citizens of a state. Proponents of democratization found that the principle of majority rule is more acceptable to citizens who share a common language and other cultural symbols than it is to a culturally heterogeneous population. People are more likely to accept the legitimacy of secularized representative government when they feel that they are part of a single nation rather than a marginalized minority within a dominant nation. Nation-building efforts often gain the support of subjects who learn that, to become citizens, they need to assimilate to the dominant nation. Thus movements toward liberalization by ethnic minorities reinforce the efforts of modern states to promote nation- building.
State nationalism takes a grotesque para-modern form when, instead of assimilating minorities, it seeks to purge them, as Hitler's "National Socialists" did in Germany. Horrors in the name of nationalism are still being perpetrated in some countries under the banner of "ethnic-cleansing."
The most devastating consequence of nationalism linked with industrialism, however, took the form of imperialism. Industrialists used democratic processes to win support for nation-building projects because they facilitated their efforts to recruit and manage large number of workers, engineers and salesmen. However, the drive for industrial expansion has no natural limits and representative governments often went beyond the reasonable boundaries of nation- building to create multi-national empires.
Driven by their economic interests, aggressive industrial democracies hunted for new sources of raw materials and expanded markets throughout the world. They were encouraged not only by capitalists but also by citizens of other social classes who understood that industrialization enabled them to buy valued imports that they could not have afforded without industrialization. Elected assemblies, therefore, represented the interests of a broad constituency when they supported imperial conquests. Democracy, nationalism and industrialism, therefore, reinforced each other in the spread of modern imperialism, perhaps the most damaging aspect of para-modernity.
When we think about imperialism, however, we usually focus on the evils it wrought on conquered peoples, failing to remind ourselves that the citizens of industrial democracies were also victimized. Indeed, the most violent para- modern consequence of imperialism was the inter-state warfare between the empires that it caused. It began inconspicuously in remote areas of conquest, but it ended in the metropolitan domain where World Wars I and II were fought. The Cold War, as a final stage of the inter-imperial struggle, was not overtly nationalistic because neither American nor Russian nationalism could sustain its globalization as a neo-imperial contest -- consequently, I believe, these two super-powers put an ideological facade on their gargantuan struggle to mask its true identity as a continuation and final phase of the great inter- imperial wars of the 20th century.
The para-modern consequences of nationalism acquired a new face when its driving force shifted from the states striving to build nations to the leaders of ethnic communities seeking recognition for themselves and their followers as new states. No doubt these processes overlap but there is an historical dimension: during the formative centuries of modernity, states created nations, but during the contemporary post-imperial phase, since the middle of the 20th century, ethnic nations are trying to create their own states.
The political effects of the former (earlier) process involved the consolidation of power in modern (oligarchic) democracies. The imperial expansion of some of these states produced a powerful feed- back effect in the form of liberation movements and ethnic nationalism among the conquered peoples. Their successes in the anti-imperial struggle have now generated, following the formation of new states, the ironic dilemmas generated by rising ethnic nationalism with movements for sovereignty and further boundary changes.
Ethnic Nationalism. The political strategy of these movements does not involve non-violent calls for political reform, nor does it usually involve self-enrichment within the status quo (as organized by criminal gangs) nor the replacement of newly established regimes (as in revolutionary movements). Rather, it involves goals of secession and/or national- unification.
Ethnonations whose members form a majority in some part of an existing state mobilize to demand partition in order to create their own new state. When their members live on different sides of existing state borders, they may, instead, call for unification. In either case, they want border changes. Such changes threaten all established states and their rulers because each of them seems to have some precarious borders that could be threatened if the principle that boundaries can be redrawn by self-determination movements were to be widely accepted. Many states, therefore, are willing to join international projects to suppress or contain ethnonational movements that are border-threatening.
Just as democratization generated resentment among the subjects of any oligocracy, provoking them to demand citizenship rights for themselves, so nationalism now produces reactive movements among a growing number of subjects who feel they can never achieve citizenship by reforms. To the degree that their leaders could mobilize followers by appeals to shared grievances and a sense of historical identity, new ethnonational movements were provoked by imperialism and, since liberation, by arbitrary rule in the successor states.
Broadly speaking, three phases that flow into or overlap each other like tidal waves (tsunamis -- see Riggs 1994). During the first phase, modern nationalism in expanding states generated imperialism and spread the utopian dream of a national state.
During the second phase, nationalism evolved in the resistance movements formed to end imperial rule. This phase itself evolved through two sub-phases. At first, the anti-imperial focus of liberation movements generated an evanescent type of pan-nationalism in which all subjects of an empire, or all residents of a continent, were seen as fellow-nationals. Much of the leadership for these movements emerged in diasporas, i.e. among the multi- ethnic subjects who mingled and plotted while living in a metropolitan domain -- i.e. in Paris, London, New York and Berlin rather than at home. In the coffee houses and pubs where they met each other and shared their resentments they created liberation movements against their imperial rulers.
After the modern empires so weakened themselves by world wars that they were compelled to surrender their possessions, the leadership for national movements passed to colonial elites who were living in the possessions, though often after returning from abroad. These co-nationalist movements often linked leaders from diverse minorities within a single possession, but they were quite unrepresentative of all the conquered peoples in a given imperial domain.
It often happened that the leadership of liberation movements came from bureaucrats, persons who had been co-opted by the imperial power to help them govern a possession. For understandable reasons, imperial elites relied on minorities within their domains, people who had often enough collaborated in their conquests because of their own long-standing marginalization by pre- conquest rulers. Often, too, they were the first to have an opportunity to visit the imperial homeland where they were trained to assume responsibilities in colonial administration, though often in demeaning secondary roles that provoked their anger and resistance after they returned home.
Without further elaboration, let me pass to the third phase (tsunami) in which, increasingly, the leaders of co-nationalist movements have became the rulers of newly independent states --as controversies and difficulties arise, they increasingly alienate large segments of the population who feel that they are still oppressed by insensitive indigenous rulers who have simply replaced foreign imperialists. In such situations, new sets of leaders emerge and createethnonationalist movements designed to win sovereignty and independence (or autonomy) for their followers within the context of the post-colonial states.
Often enough, members of a single ethnic nation find themselves living on different sides of two or more inter-state boundaries. Infrequently, they were able to persuade their imperial masters to accept a plan that would recombine a divided nation -- Togoland, Somalia, Cameroon, provide examples. Far more often, however, ethnic nationalism is rising to demand new boundaries, sovereignty and independence, at the expense of (newly) established states. Violent conflicts, terrorism, and civil wars can be expected as the normal sequel to the rise of ethno-nationalist movements. Although nationalism can be blamed as the salient rationale or incentive for this para-modern phenomenon, it is also based on the concurrent development of industrialism and democratization.
See linked pages:  Malody II || abstract || Para-Modern Context  of Ethnic Nationalism
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