Hi Susan

Your topic has been rattling around in my head for a few days, and I find
myself really interested in your thoughts about it. I've frequently
wondered, in particular, about the tendency to attribute a quirky
characteristic to nationality, for instance, "oh, that's typical..... (fill
in the blank)." When we do it with ourselves, or when we're talking about
someone else, there's a resonance at times to that. In notice it's
especially prevalent in our field, where we look at family dynamics and
cultural influences, and in a community with such a high degree of
internationalism and interest in the social context.

But then I bristle at the same use, when applied in political contexts, for
instance, defining national identity as a marker, the historic use of
national identity as the basis to persecute, exclude, define immigration
laws, develop quasi-spiritual ideologies of oppression, etc.

The theoretician in me says to me, you can't have it both ways! You can't
use national identity as an explanatory framework for personal
characteristics, and be OK doing that, but then object when countries or
governments do it, or when it's done for reasons you don't agree with.

So, I;m interested in your research, and if and how you have thought about
this conundrum.

-- Julie

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Susan Kocen [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]]
> Sent: Wednesday, December 11, 2002 1:29 PM
> Subject: New Topic
> Dear Friends,
> As an participant in this international group here at the village well, I
> am excited to post the topic of "What is National Identity?" to
> the group,
> and more specifically questions about what it means to some of us to have
> one, what benefits it creates, what limitations it brings etc and what it
> means to others of us to not have a clear one. In the background of my
> posting is my interest in how National Identity is a kind of
> calling for us
> all, a pull to belong somewhere and to something, and also how
> Nationalism
> and National identity supports xenophobia and the creation of wars and
> borders all over the world.
> I have just begun researching this topic for a thesis I am writing and am
> noticing in myself all sorts of unexpected feelings and reactions
> to what I
> have been reading in my research.
> I would love to go deeply, or superficially, with you into this topic for
> the coming month, and appreciate in advance anything that we get to share
> together.
> Love,
> Susan
> ---------------------
> Please do not reply to the above address
> Instead reply to [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> Thank you.

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